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I do a tremendous number of keynotes in the agricultural sector — from groups such as the Texas Cattlemen’s Association to the Mid-America Crop Protection Association to the US Farm Credit Co-op. As I note on my agriculture trends page, I “spent so much time customizing the presentation for one agricultural conference that at the conclusion, one fellow came up and asked him how long I had been a farmer!

With that in mind, I just got off the phone from a planning conversation for an upcoming agricultural keynote for the Grain Farmers of Ontario annual conference occurring this March.

I was speaking about generational turnover on the farm, the rapid emergence of new agricultural methodologies, and the impact of a significant acceleration in the science of agriculture.

Which brought me to mention an article I wrote way back in 2004, “I found the future of manure!” for Profit Magazine. Though a bit dated, it still helps to put in perspective some very critical and important trends — no matter what line of business you happen to be in.

What led to the article was that during my research, I discovered that a new career had emerged in this sector – professional manure managers. Heck, they even have their own magazine, Manure Managerhttp://www.manuremanager.com/

Can you apply the Continue Reading

A few years ago, right around the approach of the New Year, I wrote a blog post that I called ‘10 Great Words.”

Since that time, this inspirational post has become one of the most heavily tracked pages on my Web site; it also happens to provide the structure for the closing of most of my keynotes on stage.

In a few other years, I’ve updated the concept with other lists of inspirational words, and the meaning behind them. It’s always been a good way for me to clarify to my readers, and to my audiences while on stage, what they should be thinking about if they truly want to embrace the future and be an innovator.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the words that might inspire people as they go forward into 2012. I’ve obsessed over this for quite some weeks now. I just haven’t been able to hit the right note.

And then while at the gym yesterday, and right Continue Reading

Here’s some of the key trends that I see unfolding through 2012 and beyond.

My unique job allows me the opportunity to see and hear what a lot of CEO’s and senior executives in a lot of organizations are thinking about. The  nature of my keynotes and small board / leadership meetings allows me to understand what folks are focused on. The research I do, whether for a major manufacturing conference in Las Vegas or a small corporate meeting with an ice cream company allows me to see the key trends that are unfolding right now.

And so given this unique perch, here’s some of the most important trends which will play out in the year to come.

  •  Biz competes again. North American and Western European companies have lived with constant fear, with the rapid rise of China, the BRIC countries and the N11 on the world  stage. And yet, we’re now witnessing a scene from the movie 2010: “HAL-9000 – ‘What’s going to happen?’ DAVE – ‘Something wonderful.‘ My sense is that a wide variety of industries, from agriculture to manufacturing to industrial design have been going through a renaissance of thinking in the last few years, and have learned what they need to do to re-innovate, grow again, and aggressively return to local and global markets. Read my “Build-America” blog post for some of what I’m thinking here — and stayed tuned!
  • The rise of the tinkering economy. The future is once again being built in the garage next door. But this time, it’s the hyper-connected, innovation oriented tinkering economy Continue Reading

Approaching a new year is always a good time to check your mindset. Do you have the right degree of optimism and enthusiasm to tackle the opportunities of the future? Are you spending enough time of thinking about what you can really do if you are innovative? Are you really prepared for how the ‘next generation’ of wired kids is going to change our world? Here’s a few video highlights from various keynotes throughout the year that might get you thinking!

As we wind down 2011, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the events I highlighted this year. It proved to be quite the year year, with many fascinating events where I opened or closed a large scale conference or corporate meeting with a keynote address.

One of Jim's key themes is the opportunities of the future - at one in Las Vegas, one fellow was so inspired by the message that he asked Jim when he might consider running for President of the United States. Click to watch!

As we approach the end of the year, everyone turns their attention to 2012 — and begins to wonder “what comes next?” All of my clients are focused on that theme when they engage me for a keynote or corporate workshop — and so a sense of what they were thinking about in 2011 gives you a good sense of what’s going to be important in 2012!

Some of the highlights from this year includes these events:

  • CSC Executive Exchange 2011, St. Andrews, Scotland. A small, intimate, invitation only event where I shared keynote duties with Jimmy Wales, the Founder of WikiPedia. I had CEO’s, CIO’s and CFO’s of some pretty major global organizations. Key theme: “The Next Wave of Digital Game-Changers” – I took a look at how every industry is soon to be caught up in Silicon Valley velocity, as technological comes to change every industry at lightening speed.
  • McKesson IdeaShare 2011, San Francisco, California. Changing roles, changing opportunities. I open this annual event with a message for 4,500 pharmacist / owners that with significant challenges and change in the world of healthcare and retail, the time is ripe for them to innovate Continue Reading

If knowledge is doubling every eight years, no single person can keep up with it. That fosters greater fragmentation of skills, and thus greater competition in the marketplace for niche-oriented skills.

I’m working away at preparing for a keynote for an ice-cream and dairy company today. Not that this has anything to do with the topic of the “future of knowledge.”

But going through some old slide decks while preparing, I came across a list I used a year ago for a keynote that summarized my thoughts about the “future of knowledge.”

I’ve written extensively about all of these topics online or speak to them at various keynotes, particularly in the education sector. In essence, we’re living in a period of time that is witnessing these trends unfold at blinding speed, all related to the evolution of knowledge.

  1. Rapid knowledge obsolescence
  2. Rapid knowledge emergence
  3. Disappearance of existing careers due to 1)
  4. Rapid emergence of new careers due to 2)
  5. An ongoing need for continuous knowledge replenishment because of 1-4
  6. The migration of knowledge generation further away from academia (i.e. community colleges, high end manufacturing skills) because of the need for faster new knowledge deployment
  7. A massively increased challenge from overseas knowledge generation
  8. The fast emergence of new micro-careers because of specialized knowledge
  9. An economy that succeeds through knowledge deployment
  10. A fundamental transformation in knowledge delivery

Putting a little more detail on these trends? A few years ago I addressed a prestigious groups of educators on this theme. Here’s Continue Reading

The folks at PollEverywhere — the service that I use to conduct live text message polling while on stage — have just run an interview with me over on their blog as to how I utilize the tool.

I’m reposting it here since it does provide a good overview of just how wonderful and interactive their service is.


Jim Carroll is recognized one of the world’s leading international futurist, trends & innovation experts — and he’s got the client list to prove it, having provided his insight to such organizations as NASA; Lockheed Martin; National Australian Bank; Pfizer; Diners Club; HJ Heinz; and PPG.

And he’s a raving fan of Poll Everywhere — using the service in a huge range of global Fortune 1000 and other organizations as well as countless association Continue Reading

I’m off to Europe to keynote two events; the first, a private talk on future health care trends Continue Reading

In the last few weeks, I’ve done a number of insurance oriented keynotes, including one for a meeting with the CEO and top leadership team of one of the largest insurers in the world, as well as a top insurance association.

We are quickly moving into an era of "performance oriented insurance" with policies / pricing based on performance. There will be huge opportunities for disruptive business model change as this trend unfolds.

And I’ve been busy speaking to the trends and opportunities for innovation that are going to come into this often-slow-to-react industry at lightning speed.

In an era in which everything around is plugging together,  there are tremendous new opportunities for some pretty massive business model change. I often make a joke on stage that perhaps one day my weigh scale might send an email to my fridge one day if I’m not living up to the terms of my life insurance wellness clause.

Yet, is such thinking far fetched?

Maybe not!

One of the biggest trends which is going to hit the world of insurance like a tidal wave is performance based insurance policies. If you live up to or exceed some performance standard, you’ll get a rebate or reduction on your insurance  policy rate.

It’s going to happen extremely quickly in the field of automotive insurance. A flood of GPS enabled performance measuring devices Continue Reading

It’s been a whirlwind of activity over the last two months, with about 20 major keynotes under my belt.

One of these was a corporate event for a food company with $7 billion in revenue and 24,000 employees ; my talk was on the key food industry trends of today that should be driving innovation from a marketing, product development and branding perspective.

Jim Carroll on stage at the Readers Digest Food and Entertainment Group Summit, in front of several hundred food and consumer product executives, advertising agencies, grocery and retail organizations and publishers of the world's most popular food magazines, speaking to the trends driving the food industry today, .

This is one of many events I do for food and consumer product clients – my global client list includes high profile keynotes or leadership meetings for the Readers Digest Food & Entertainment Division (the publisher of such innovative magazines as Everyday with Rachel Ray), the Produce Marketing Association Annual Fresh Summit, HJ Heinz, Nestle , FMC FoodTechnologies, Burger King, Yum! Brands and many more.

I was the keynote speaker for a meeting of their top 250 marketing executives; my mandate was to focus on how to innovate around the trends that are today impacting the food industry today, with a particular focus on consumer behaviour.

Below are a few of the many trends that I spoke about. I took on an extensive amount of research for this keynote, which is typical of how I approach these events.

In effect, I built my keynote around the theme “….these are the trends that will drive your brands……”, and from that, they could best learn how to change and innovate with their branding and marketing message.

1. Biggest trend: We are witnessing a changing relationship with food

My main observation is that we live in a period of time that sees consumers interacting with food, the purchasing of food, and the consumption of food in new and different ways.

An article, Observer Food Monthly in the Guardian Newspaper, 15 May 2011 caught this sentiment perfectly:

  • “… never before has our culture been so engaged in discussing and experimenting with and agonizing over and fantasizing about and plain enjoying what is on the end of our forks”

Consider what is happening:

  • we have a new form of interaction when purchasing food. Consider the number of iPhone apps by which we can Continue Reading