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At the T. Rowe Price 2011 Investment Symposium in Baltimore on Friday, I listened to the technology panel that preceded my luncheon keynote.

It was a fascinating discussion as a number of their leading analysts spoke of the trends that they saw unfolding with consumer and other digital technology companies, such as Apple, Amazon and Samsung.

Name any industry – auto, health care, manufacturing, energy, banking — and the big trend over the next five years is that Silicon Valley is coming to control the pace of innovation in the industry. And it’s speeding it up!

But I thought that the crowd was hungering for a bit more — where are the next big trends, and the next big transformation opportunities that are going to unfold which are going to provide for the birth of new industries, fast growing companies, and billion-dollar market opportunities?

And so I outlined that reality: the next big areas of growth will come from the transformative change that occurs as Silicon Valley comes to drive the pace of innovation in almost every other industry. As it does so,  it will speed up the rate of innovation.

The impact of this trend is that it will also shift control from any particular industry – insurance, healthcare, banking, auto — to the technology companies. The result will be massive business model disruption as new, faster, more nimble competitors who understand technology based disruption, cast aside their slower, ingrained counterparts.

The future belongs, in other words, to those who are fast. Tech companies and tech based innovators certainly understand this! And the key issue is speed : Apple, for example, could innovate much faster with new credit card financial systems than any bank could. Google and it’s tests of automatic car navigation technology will certainly evolve faster than any auto company in Detroit, Japan or Germany could. Unless leaders in those organizations increasingly learn to focus on speed as a metric, and fast-innovation as a core capability.

Consider just a few of the trends:

  • Banks and credit companies risk losing control of their future as our mobile devices, cell phones and iPhones become credit cards
  • the energy industry and home construction is impacted as a new personal energy infrastructure management, in the form of such devices as the NEST Thermostat, provide for a significant change in the way people use energy
  • health care will be transformed by medical device connectivity and bioconnetivity — allowing hospitals and nursing homes to extend the reach of their medical professionals to an increasing number of remote locations
  • the auto industry will face trendmeondous change as an intelligent highway infrastructure emerges as the same time as intelligent, self-guiding cars and trucks become a regular part of our daily world
  • the world of insurance is upended as we head to a world of predictive insurance modelling through the use of sophisticated technologies such as on-board GPS devices which monitor driver behaviour

These are but just a few examples. I can go into any industry today and point out how Silicon Valley and technology is going to cause significant change and upheaval within the industry. I can spot the smart executives who understand the message and realize that right now is the time for aggressive innovation and big thinking.

And then in other clients, I can see this observation pass right over the heads of some of those in the audience, and realize we’ve got folks who are like deer in the headlights — the trends are blinding in their reality, but they are frozen by their inability to do anything.

I spoke about this trend in a recent keynote.



There are a whole series of related posts in which I’ve commented on the significance of this trend and the speed with which it is occurring. These are just a few.

  • Silicon Valley innovation velocity set to dominate every industry 
  • When Silicon Valley Takes Over Health Care Innovation 
  • This ghost town in New Mexico could turn into one of the most important innovation engines 
  • Reinventing the future with transformative technology
  • Silicon Valley: Is Innovation Dead? 

I’m honored to be invited to be the closing keynote speaker for this event which starts tomorrow; I speak at the closing lunch on Friday, on the theme, “When Do We Get to Normal? Why Thinking BIG Will Help You Seize The Opportunities of the 21st Century.” I’m sharing headlining duties with two other fascinating speakers.

Jim Carroll will be the closing keynote speaker for the 2011 T. Rowe Price Investment Symposium, offering his thoughts on the global economy, future trends and innovation!

Im my talk, I will be examining three key issues :

  • next generation investor trends. This is somewhat like the talk I did for the National Australian Bank just two years ago – how is the next generation of hyper connected, socially networked investor going to change in terms of wealth management, investment decisions and other activities. There’s a good blog post referenced below, “14 Key Innovation Strategies for Financial Advisors, and Financial Organizations” that you’ll find here.
  • the future and optimism: where are we going to witness the next billion and trillion dollar industries? What’s happening with science, connectivity, manufacturing, skills and innovation that will drive global economies forward?
  • “Designed in Emerging Markets!” – what’s next, and in particular, what’s happening with innovation worldwide — and what does that mean for the global economy.

So much of the global investment community is overdosing on pessimism – I’m not with what I see happening within my global client basis.

As I often observe when I walk out on stage — “I’m a futurist. I can’t walk out there and tell you that your future sucks — because it doesn’t. The world I see is full of innovation, creativity, the reinvention of existing business and the birth of new ones.”

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