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Anyone who tracks me know that I am passionate (if not slightly pathetic) golfer, and I’ve wrapped it into my business. I often golf before a keynote, and have actually been an opening keynote speaker for two major events for the PGA of America.

To that end, I need to tell you a great story! That of an 11 year old Canadian girl, Vanessa Borovilos, who just won her 2nd back to back tournament at the World Kids Golf Tournament in Pinehurst, N.C.

Only 11 years, and already 2 World championships in her win column. Meet Vanessa Borovilos!

Here’s why I think you need to know Vanessa’s story — because it is a story of how those who are passionate about the sport are doing everything they can to reach out to the next generation.

Some months back, I wrote a blog post on the 8 Best Things to Happen to Golf in 2017 — trends, innovations and technology that are growing the game. The post spoke about a PGA pro at my local club, Doug Laurie, and Michelle Holmes, a PGA Pro in the US. Both are relentlessly focused on coaching young kids and bringing them into the game.

With that in mind, I just had to give a shoutout to one of Doug’s student, Vanessa Borovilos, an 11 year old girl and Canadian — who just won her 2nd back to back world tournament, at the 2017 World Kids Golf Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina! Look at this!

Here’s the scorecard from her win in 2016.

Vanessa is 11.

She doesn’t have an agent, a representative, or a media rep. But she’s a world champion – twice! — and someone needs to tell her story, and that of her coach, Doug.

The excitement in the photo is palpable.

And maybe, just maybe, sharing Vanessa’s story will help to inspire other kids, and other coaches, and other parents, to get their kids involved in what is truly one of the greatest sports in the world!

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Over the years, I’ve done many talks within the manufacturing industry, putting into perspective the real trends and opportunities for innovation that will allow for reinvention of this sector. Lots of CEOs are bringing me in for a leadership meeting, knowing that their future will come from aligning to fast paced trends (as opposed to wishful thinking as found in the current political environment). Much of the opportunity for innovation in the  sector involves advanced technologies, digitization, new manufacturing methodologies and process — and of course, 3D printing or additive manufacturing.

I’ve been speaking on stage about 3D printing for well over ten years. The concept of having a printer that can ‘print’ physical things is a fascinating one, and is evolving at a furious pace. Earlier this week, I did a talk for a manufacturing organization in New Haven, CT, that included a detailed overview of who is doing innovative work in this area. I’ll blog about that later.

For now, though, a lot of the opportunity from 3D printing comes from the ability for rapid prototyping and design. It unshackles organizations from having to commit to a full production run upon finalizing a product design; instead, it leads to an iterative process in which the product design can be continually changed. In addition, there is quite a bit of ‘grassroots’, tinkering innovation around 3D printing, with folks fooling around in their garage or home workshop to developing fascinating new products. They can then use contract 3D printing manufacturers to turn their ideas into a physical product.

To that end, here’s a great story! Last year, when I was the opening keynote speaker for the annual PGA Merchandise show, I spoke to the Professional Golfers Association as to how quickly 3D printed golf clubs will become an opportunity for innovation within the game. Watch the clip.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I’m out for a round at my home golf club, Credit Valley Golf and Country Club, and meet a fellow member named Gary Woolgar. He’s actually 3D printing his own custom wedges, using his first prototype on that day. (I’m not quite sure I understand the design concept, but then again, my golf game is a bit of a shambles right now).

It’s such a fascinating story that I told it on stage last week when I headlined a session on manufacturing innovation for a global, $2 billion company. Watch this clip too!

This is one of the most exciting aspects of 3DPrinting — the world around is changing at a furious pace, and sometimes, its driven by engineers who have an idea, the tools to test the idea, and the initiative to make it work. Organizations need to embrace the same type of thinking: grassroots innovation, tinkering, and trying out new ideas, methodologies and technologies.

If you are in the manufacturing sector, you need to empower your team to do the types of things that Gary is doing. It’s only be experimenting with the tools of the fast pace future that you can discover the opportunities they will present. In other words, you need more guys like Gary around!

 

Experience & Track Record
July 3rd, 2017

Why have the world’s leading organizations booked Jim? Watch this short 2 minute video to learn why organizations such as Disney, NASA and the PGA of America are among Jim’s clients.

I’m off to New York, where tomorrow I will be the closing speaker at Nasscom’s inaugaural C-summit

The National Association of Software and Services Companies is a trade association representing the major players in the Indian IT and business process outsourcing industry. The event is taking a look at future trends and opportunities for innovation, and features a wide variety of other fascinating speakers, such as the CIO’s for Johnson and Johnson (also a client of mine), Praxair and Schneider Electric.

Of course, everyone knows that we live in interesting times, and that like many nations and organizations in the world, Nasscom is working hard to align folks to a new world order of crazy twists and turns, often illogical policy directions and massive uncertainty. Such is the world today!

Here’s what I know: every business in every industry is faced with unprecedented change through the next 5 to 10 years as disruption takes hold. Read my 10 Drivers for Disruption, and ask yourself how you will be affected.

Then ask yourself : will you have the skills, agility, strategy and capability to align yourself to a faster future? That’s what I will be covering in my keynote! A key part of that equation involves the skills equation. While there might be wishful thinking in parts of the world as to how to deal with a challenging skills issue, the reality is that having a great skills strategy is a crucial factor for success in the era of disruption.

With that thinking, here’s my keynote description!

Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast: Innovating in the Era of Disruption

We live in a time of massive challenge, and yet one of fascinating opportunity, as every business, and every industry is  being redefined at blinding speed by technology, globalization, the rapid emergence of new competitors, new forms of collaborative global R&D, and countless other trends.

In this keynote, futurist Jim Carroll outlines the key drivers of disruption, but offers a path forward. Undeniably, we must align ourselves to the realty of multiple trends: hyper-connectivity, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, neural networks, deep analytics, autonomous technologies, self-learning systems. All of these trends and more are merging together,  leading to a massively new, connected, intelligent machine that will transform, change, challenge and disrupt every industry. As this happens….every company becomes a software company, and speed defines success. That’s why the New York Times recently indicated that the methodologies of agile software development are increasingly becoming a key general leadership requirement.

In this new world in which the future belongs to those who are fast, experience is oxygen. There’s no time to learn, to study, to plan. It’s time to figure out what you don’t know, and do the things that are necessary to begin to know about it. Experiential capital is the new capital for the 21st century.

How to cope with accelerating change? In this keynote, Jim outlines his simple but transformative structure : Think big, start small and scale fast! Jim has been working with and studying what makes organizations survive in a fast paced world. His clients include NASA, the PGA of America, the Swiss Innovation, the National Australia Bank, the Wall Street Journal, Disney, and many, many more.

I’ll admit, I’ve become a relentless golf nut, and I’ve even got a fairly decent handicap, often breaking 90 (which is less than what 1% of golfers can do.) I’ve got a son with a 1 handicap, which makes for  rather interesting rounds!

One of biggest career thrills as a futurist who focuses on the concept of innovation is found in the fact that the PGA of America has had me in to keynote their organization not once, but twice. The first time was for their annual general meeting, and then last year, to open the annual PGA Merchandise Show — where I was on stage after Lee Trevino and followed by Bubba Watson!

Both of these events have involved a focus on the idea of innovation, and what the industry and sport needs to do to continue to drive innovation, growth and interest in the game.

The common buzz ‘out there’ is that golf is a sport in decline. You’d certainly think that by reading the media. I beg to differ, and believe that the reality is far more positive. Much of this is due to the fact that there are a whole bunch of people in the game who are doing fascinating things to drive interest in what golf is all about.  Much of it involves reaching young people, using social media, to draw interest into the game.

With that, here’s my list of I think are the most important initiatives and people today in growing interest in the game.

Topgolf

Essentially, a driving range with technology, GPS golf balls, beer and chicken wings. If you check out the Instagram feed, you’ll see posts of young kids exploring whats involved in swinging a club. View social media postings around #topgolf, though, and you’ll see that it can be crazy busy on Friday and Saturday nights. I had the chance to interview the CIO on stage in Orlando at the PGA Merchandise show, and he has some wonderful insights on the impact of TopGolf on game growth. Watch the video clip here.

Essentially, TopGolf is getting people to try out a golf swing in a fun social environment. Statistics show that 1 out of 3 go on to try out golf in a real golf course. That’s a huge driving factor for growth!

Women with Drive

TopGolf uses social media to drive the game forward — and so much growth in the game today is being driven in the same way. With that, check out Women with Drive, another social media initiative. In this case, a number of young ladies  are using the power and reach of Instagram, Facebook and other tools to encourage women to discover the game. Their tag line is “Inspiring women to connect and play more golf“. The posts encourage those to find fellow women partners to come out for a round and either learn about or share their love for the game.

On Instagram, you’ll find many posts around new individuals getting involved in the game. Just this morning, they had a group in San Diego, doing what they do. It’s a national effort to get young women to come out for a round, and learn and love the game. Golf can be intimidating — it can be tough to break into, and there is a massive learning curve until you feel comfortable in getting out there and joining in for a round with people you don’t know. Women with Drive seems to be eager to break down those barriers, and I’ve got to give them credit for their passion and purpose.

(I will admit that golf has become the driving factor for many of my own Instagram activities – I follow a lot of golf pros and other folks. And if you follow #teamwwd, you can’t help but discovering the #golfbabes hashtag. I only follow that for the insight into innovation and the game, and not for the pictures!)

Rickie Fowler’s Snapchat / Instagram feed

While Women with Drive often shows a more sophisticated, feminine approach to growing the game of golf, the younger male generation also takes to social media to share their interest in the game. And no doubt, you’ve seen posts around Rickie Fowler’s annual trek to the Bahamas with fellow golf pros.

You get to see rising stars, normally found on the quaint, organized PGA tour, letting loose with a round of golf and other activities. They’re out golfing shirtless, beer in hand, behaviour bordering on the outrageous — which is what a lot of weekend hackers do. It provides the perfect connection between the average weekend golfer and the multi-million dollar golf pro, and gets out the message that the sport can be fun and inspiring at the same time!

Doug Lawrie & Michelle Holmes –  PGA Professionals

Most people, when they hear the phrase “PGA Pro”, think of folks like Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler. Those are the ‘touring Pros’ — but there are also PGA Professionals, folks who are the teaching professionals, helping others to master the complexities of the swing and they game grow.

Perhaps the most important PGA instructors out there today are those who dedicate their lives into getting young people into the game. Hence, I give you Doug Lawrie and Michelle Holmes!

Doug I know well — he’s the head teaching pro at my home golf club, Credit Valley. Michelle I have never met, but I’d love to meet her!

Doug regularly uses social media to tell the story and share the insight of the young people that he coaches. He’s tremendously successful – one of his proteges, a 10 year old girl, went on to win her category in last years world championship. Doug also has attention deficit disorder  – hence, his teaching company name, “Focus Golf Group”. Just the other day, I met him on the range and he was teaching a young girl a lesson; she’s deaf! He seems to take delight in taking on challenging cases, and turning these challenges into big opportunities.

Michelle Holmes I discovered through my connection with Rich Smith (below). Her feed on Instagram and Facebook is filled with fascinating photos and stories of her work with young people around golf lessons, summer golf camps and more.  Check this post, in which she notes, “Golf is a journey of a lifetime.”

Her passion for everything in getting young people into the game is infectious, and is another role model for what we can do to get the next generation involved in this wonderful sport.

Suzy Whaley

This passion for growing the game with young people flourishes out in the grassroots with Doug and Michelle — but it s also infused throughout the top leadership of the game. Case in point: Suzy Whaley, soon to be head of the PGA of America.

When I keynoted the 2010 PGA annual general meeting, little did I know that one of the most dynamic individuals in the world of golf was in the room – Suzy Whaley. She’s currently the Vice President of the PGA of America, and if all goes to plan, she’ll assume the leading role soon. Although we’ve never met in person — our paths have crossed — I’ve had the opportunity to learn from her insight.

What strikes me about Suzy is this : while she’s very busy with her responsibilities with the PGA, it’s also obvious that she is doing what she loves: helping young people to get involved in the game, or as a mom, cheering on her college age daughters, both of whom compete for their colleges!

Consider the magic in this post: here you have one of the most senior executives in the world of golf today, and what is she doing in any extra time she might have? Getting young people involved!

Cathy Butler, A Mom, and Peter Butler, a Dad

Suzy Whaley is one aspect of the world of golf at a career level. Then there are the moms and the dads, and parents who get their children out to the range, to the course, and to the lessons.

So I bring you Cathy and Peter Butler, good personal friends. Cathy has been golfing as long as she can remember, and carries a mean handicap. (She’s also the only person who has invited me out for a round, only to see me leave for a complex reason on the 13th hole. I will never live it down.) Peter, her husband, took it up later once he met Cathy….

Cathy and Peter are also the parents of 25 year old Thomas Butler, a marvellous year old fellow who has Downs Syndrome.

Thomas golfs.He skis. He does things that bring other people joy as they watch him and see his joy in doing wonderful things.

And he’s got a wicked drive which would put many other people to shame! Check it out! 220 yards straight down the middle!

Cathy and her husband Peter have done everything they can to provide their son with an enriching life full of powerful experiences. Cathy founded Events for Life, the charity for special needs young adults, for which I am now the Webmaster and on which my wife Christa sits on the Board of Directors. I am in awe of Cathy and Peter, and think they provide an important pathway to bring special needs children into the game.

Rich Smith, Executive Director, North Florida PGA

I got to know Rich through my keynote for the PGA. Aside from his unhealthy fascination for anything Star Wars related, he is one of many individuals in the PGA who has taken on a leading role in moving the Drive, Chip and Putt initiative forward.

That’s the national program which allows young people to progress through a series of regional competitions, the winners of which get to participate in an annual event at Augusta, days before the Masters.

Rich is putting a tremendous amount of effort into this initiative, and his passion shows in every single post and activity. That is, when he’s not obsessing about Star Wars!

Lexi Thompson and the LPGA

Last but not least — if you have any interest in golf, you’ll know of the boneheaded move by the LPGA to assess professional women’s golfer Lexi Thompson an additional, bonus-point penalty a day later, after someone watched something on TV. (With that, the LPGA became the most destructive force in the world of golf today!)

If anything, Lexi has taught her young fans everywhere that above all, sportsmanlike behaviour, decency and values are important attributes to bring to the game. Like the others, Lexi is a huge inspiration to young girls, and as a new type of role model, is helping to bring the game forward.

The 9th hero! (aka The people who support we who are golf nuts)

Oh, but wait, there’s more! Behind every golf nut, there’s an unsung hero. In this case, my wife!

She’s had to take up the game, schlepping her golf bag through airports, putting up with my relentless drive to tee it off at many of the fabulous golf resorts I get to visit as a leading global keynote speaker! To all the unsung heroes in our golf lives — we are grateful!

And the 10th hero!? Tom Carroll! (aka The people who drive our interest in the game)

The challenge with a list like this is that it keeps on growing!

I just came back from the range with my son, Tom — he’s the one with the 1-handicap. (Although, he’s just graduating from college, and will start full time work with an investment firm in a month, so his handicap is bound to go up.)  Tom is one of the main reason for my passion for the game — he took it up at a young age, and as a dad, I wanted to do whatever I could to be a part of his life as he got older.

While hitting some balls, I realized he really needed to be on the list. In everyone’s life, there is a kid name Tom — the driving reason why someone else develops an interest in the sport. So this recognition is for all the “Tom’s” out there – the other people who help to get others involved in the game.

Tom has competed in golf events, has worked for a golf pro teaching little kids, and has developed a reputation as a young man around our home club who people just like to golf with. He’s been tremendously patient with my erratic game, often offering me swing tips when needed, but backing off when he knows it will be a thankless exercise. The coolest thing? He’s still willing to go out for rounds with his dad on a regular basis.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

The most fun, perhaps, came from the day that he met Vice President Joe Biden on a golf course!

Who are your golf heroes? Share your stories with me, and with others — and let’s grow the game!

So I golf. Not well, but I have goals. Which makes the fact that the PGA of America has invited me in to keynote their organization twice all the much more remarkable.

This shot is from my keynote for the PGA Merchandise Show — I was invited in for a keynote on how technology could be used to help to grow the game. You can watch the entire keynote online. I also led a panel with senior executives from tech companies in the golf industry, including one of the fastest growing and most infleuential in the sport, TopGolf.

I slice often. But not always. And it won’t be forever. So it is with innovation – you can try and fail. Not always. And it won’t be forever if you keep at it!

One year ago today, I was the opening keynote speaker for the annual PGA Merchandise Show, one of the largest trade events in the world for the world’s largest working sport. I was on stage directly after Lee Trevino and David Ledbetter spoke; and was followed later by Bubba Watson.

As a hack golfer, it was a huge thrill – and it was the second time the PGA of America has brought me in to help them shape their thoughts on growing the game through innovation.

My talk focused on opportunities to link innovation to the fast trends impacting the world of golf, particularly through technology. Today, we are seeing growth return to the industry because of initiatives like TopGolf, new game tracking and training technologies, on-demand reservation systems, social networks and Instagram golf stars driven interest, and much, much more.

Here’s the really fun part: many of the offsite corporate leadership events that I do are held at really nice golf resorts – and there is usually a bit of golf involved, both for myself, as well as for the client! One recent client had me build a keynote around the trends that are accelerating golf and the need for agility and speed in the business sector.

The topic description I wrote follows. This might be a great theme for your own leadership event – contact me for details!

Driving the Future – Linking the Acceleration of Golf to The Speed of Business

The PGA of America, one of the largest working professional sports organizations in the world, has engaged Futurist Jim Carroll twice to help them align and adjust their focus to a fast paced future. A world that involves the 3D printing of customized golf clubs perfectly matched to a players stance. Course tee time yield management systems that now rival in sophistication those of leading hotels and airlines. An industry in which GPS golf analysis technology such as GameGolf, fast-moving golf entertainment complexes such as TopGolf, and smart clothing technologies are leading the game to new opportunities for growth. One in social media posts involving Instagram stars and Youtube clips are leading to accelerated interest in the game. Forget the idea of golf being a slow moving, traditional game — it is being disrupted to its core and is being positioned for growth through a relentless drive for innovation and high velocity trends.

In this fascinating presentation, Jim Carroll takes you on a fast paced cart-ride of a voyage into the new realities of business, by carefully linking the accelerated trends impacting the traditionally slow game of golf to the new world of business. One that is driven by the acceleration of business cycles, chipped away by the constant arrival of new technologies and competitors, and carefully stroked to success through perfectly aimed strategies. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear this fascinating presentation, carefully customized for those attending your corporate leadership meeting.

A little video clip from my keynote for the PGA – think about what happened when golf carts were introduced to the world of golf!

Food for thought when it comes to innovation and change…!

Some people really don’t understand what a unique career a futurist like me has. Every once in a while, I pinch myself, and feel so lucky to have a remarkable opportunity to change the lives of so many people!

As so as 2016 draws to a close, it’s  a fun time to have a look back at some of the events I was invited to participate in as an opening or closing keynote speaker. It was a big year — I’ve been on stage now for close to 25 years, and adding it up, I figure I’ve spoken to well over 2 million people, with the 50,000 from this year putting me over that magic number.

Below you’ll find my ‘top-10’ list of some of my favourite memories from the year!

1. PGA Merchandise Show, Orlando

It’s not often you get invited in to open one of the most prestigious events in the world of golf, let along the world of sports. But there I found myself in January, opening this event. I was on stage after Lee Trevino and David Leadbetter, and then Bubba Watson was on stage after me! I spoke about the new opportunities that fast moving technology trends were bringing to the world’s largest working sport. It was a repeat engagement for the PGA – they previously had me in a few years to open their AGM.

2. New York Life, New York

This was my final event of the year, just two days ago, and it was just plain fun! It was an end of year “town hall”, and the organization wanted an upbeat, optimistic view of the future. (Not surprising, given that so much went on during 2016!) . It was sort of a launch event for my newest keynote theme, The Jetsons’ Have Arrived 50 Years Early : What Are YOU Going to Do About It? Based on the vibes in the room, this is going to be a SMASH HIT topic into 2017!

3. QAD Explore, Chicago

A massive manufacturing oriented conference for this major software company operating in this space. There are two views of manufacturing in the US – the political wish, and the reality of what is occurring on the ground. This audience of 4,000 was eager to discover how the industry is busy reinventing and transforming itself for the 21st century, through digitization, robotics, 3D printing, and more. Based on what I heard and saw, that trend is well underway.

4. Philadelphia Manufacturing Summit

Another manufacturing themed event; this one with 500 manufacturing execs from throughout the region. There was a palpable buzz in the room — it was another event that affirmed to me that there is just so much innovation occurring in the industry, it can be staggering.

5. Amsted Rail, St. Louis

This wasn’t a big event, but it really hit me at an emotional level. This was an internal leadership meeting; this organization is a manufacturer in the rail industry. My wife and I had the opportunity for a factory tour before my keynote; with that, and the additional planning calls well in advance of the event, I encountered an organization that seems to be enthused with the idea of reinvention through innovation in the heartland. Eveyrone from the leadership on down seemed to have one overriding belief — if we think we can do it, we can. If there is hope for manufacturing in the US, it’s to be found in this remarkable organization!

6. Volvo/ Mac Trucks, Greensboro, NC

A repeat engagement for this organization — in this case, an internal leadership meeting, whereas the first one was for dealers. Self-driving vehicles, autonomous technologies, intelligent highway infrastructure, prognostic diagnostics — the talk covered the gamut of trends occurring in the automotive space. I’m doing many events around the self-driving car theme and the revolution occurring in transportation, with several gigs already confirmed well into 2017.

7. American Concrete Institute, Philadelphia

I drove my family crazy with the lead-up to this keynote. It would take a lot of hard work. My keynote would require a solid foundation, and my message would take some time to settle. (They told me to stop it with the concrete jokes soon enough.) This was the first time this organization had a keynote speaker to open their conference, and it was obvious that there was some concern about bringing in an outsider to launch the event! That changed fast — feedback had me hitting a huge home run, with subsequent coverage in American Concrete Magazine and elsewhere. In this shot, I’m talking about how quickly the concept of 3D printing with concrete is becoming a reality.

8. Manufacturing in America Summt, Detroit

Wow, manufacturing was hot this year! This one was in the midst of the automotive sector in the US, and I brought my message of acceleration, velocity and Moore’s Law, combined with the self-driving juggernaut of change, to the heart of the industry.

9. Phillips Medical Devices, Pittsburgh

Bio-connected medical devices, the virtualization of healthcare, big data and analytics — two events for this group focused on the massive, transformative opportunities occurring in the industry. I didn’t have a photo from this one, other than this wonderful picture of my wife and I at the innovation awards dinner I hosted for the client the night before my main talk. I am truly blessed that she accompanies me on all of my travels! Road life can be a lonely life, and instead, this has turned it all into a marvellous adventure!

10. PowderMet 2016, Boston

Accelerating science, the rapid emergence of new advanced materials, the reinvention of business models, new chemical compounds. A science heavy keynote for a science heavy audience! One of several events in Boston through the year.

 

There were so many other events through the year that were equally great to participate in, and I’ll continue with another blog post.

2 million people. Lives changed. Opportunities to help to shape the world. I have a fascinating job!

An operation like this doesn’t happen by chance. There’s a loving family in the background — my wife, business and office partner of 25 years, Christa, who accompanies me on all my trips! My two sons, Willie and Thomas, 23 and 21, who’ve grown up with a dad who has the strangest job they’ve ever known. All of whom have continued to show me unconditional love and support through the years — and particularly this year. Ahh, the rigours of the road!

Stay tuned for 2017!

For as long as there has been the future, there have been people who don’t like it.

Ogden Nash captured that reality perfect, when he observed that “for some people, progress is great, but its’ gone on way too long.”

With that in mind, here’s a clip from my keynote for the PGA of America annual meeting. I suggest that one day soon, we’ll see golf balls with embedded Webcams. Good, bad? Who knows — but consider what happened when golf carts first appeared on the scene, and then what happened when GPS range finders were introduced to the game!

 

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