Here’s another short video clip about the mindset that you can — and should – carry forward as we continue to work our way through challenging economic times!
Archives for October 2009
Over the next several weeks, I will be speaking at a series of events sponsored by Microsoft related to their Windows 7 launch. The audience includes key executives (CIO’s, CFO’s, CTO’s and IT managers) from a wide variety of industries.
While much of the news coverage of Microsoft focuses around the “consumer” side of the Windows 7 launch, of equal significance is the release of several new server infrastructure upgrades that permit large and small business to take their business into the next level of operational innovation.
In Toronto the other day, Steve Ballmer was speaking to this aspect of innovation. I find that some media gave the message short shift, because their planned story spin didn’t fit his message.
That’s too bad, because the reality is that having an infrastructure that provides for a lot of business flexibility is going to be critical as we transition into the “next economy.” Clearly, there’s a lot of business turmoil out there, and organizations need to be able to change quickly to deal with new circumstances.
Given that, part of my message at these events will focus on what I’ve come to call the “new rules for the next economy.” What are those rules?
- structure for growth: In many industries, the painful process of contraction is either over, or coming to an end. Once you’ve done the cost cutting, you only grow the profit line through new revenue. New revenue means new products and services; that comes from insight, collaboration, and thinking. Smart companies are ensuring they have a razor-sharp growth oriented culture, and technology enablers that help them get there.
- focus on “chameleon revenue”: in many industries, the revenue stream five years from now won’t come from the products or services offered today. You have to keep a product/service innovation pipeline full in order to generate these new revenue sources — and do it faster and better than before. Crayola has two supply chains: one for existing revenue, and one for innovation-based revenue. Interesting concept!
- speed up: I spoke at a global travel conference a few weeks ago, and noted that 1/3 of all leisure travel is now last-minute; the average time frame for planning now down to just 15 days; 36% of last minute vacations are 3-4 nights; and 30% are 1-2 nights. Smart travel companies have in place an infrastructure that allows them to rapidly change their product lineup, marketing message, brand image, and the flexibility to communicate a new message to a massive client base quickly.
- ingest new technology faster. There’s going to be a huge amount of business model change as the tsunami of technology continues unabated. Anyone in retail will be hammered by the rapid transition to cellphone based payment technology. Winners will be able to transition at the speed of Silicon Valley — with the result that leaders are those who will continue to find operational innovation in ways they hadn’t thought of before
- shake up methodology: think Manufacturing 2.0, and a blog post I wrote here some time ago. The future is all about Honda’s thinking: “how quickly can I change” is the defining question in terms of market flexibility. Manufacturing models are undergoing a huge shakeup, and those who transition them for maximum agility and flexibility will dominate the next marketplace.
- be offensively defensive: no matter what industry you are in, there is someone out there who wants to mess up your business model. Before that happens, you should mess it up yourself, so that you better control the end game. Technology has and will play a huge role in business model transformation, and your infrastructure has to be up to the task.
Bottom line: business will continue to get faster, more complicated, and far more challenging.
Will you be able to ahead with a creaky, finger-in-the-dyke infrastructure?
When you walk off stage, you always wonder how you did!
Last week, I was the opening keynote speaker for an audience of up to 4,000 parks and recreation professionals, at the National Recreation and Parks Association annual conference in Salt Lake City.
Expectations were running high; many tweets were going out under the #nrpacongress tag, indicating enthusiasm for my upcoming talk.
I came off stage feeling like I did a real barnburner of a motivational talk, encouraging the crowd to adapt to the high rate of change that surrounds them.
It must have hit home with some: I received this wonderful email today.
I just wanted to let you know that in my 20 years of attending the NRPA Congress, no one has captivated me more than your keynote address. And, all during the week, when we talked about the Keynote, everyone agreed!
In fact, I presented a seminar “Creating the Wow—New Marketing Trends for Everyone”, and mentioned a few of your insightful comments. It was amazing to see how everyone was captivated with your session. In fact, it is the only time I can remember, that people were upset that we were running late and you had to wrap up your talk rather quickly.
In addition, Vendors raved about you pressing attendees to visit the trade show, talk to peers, and see how technology is changing our profession. It was quite a Home Run!
We have a saying in our department, the 2008 NRPA Gold Medal Winner (Class II—100,001 to 250,000), which is, “Engage. Inspire. Change a Life Today!” I wanted to leave you with this… YOU Engaged. YOU Inspired. YOU changed lives that day! Thanks again for sharing your keen insight and talents with all of us!
Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Grand Prairie, Texas
Shaping Tomorrow is one of the world’s leading trend watching services, observing on its home page that:
“We help 13,284 people and organisations anticipate, and respond to, how we will live”. Find opportunities for growth, discover new solutions, conduct risk and intelligence assessments, make strategic choices, plan and act on decisions, construct scenarios and join our global innovation and foresight network.
A tremendous number of global organizations use Shaping Tomorrow to track future trends. In line with that, the group has just launched a speakers bureau to provide its clients with the additional insight they need to deal with a high velocity economy.
I was asked to write an article for the launch of the site, and it is featured on the home page for Shaping Tomorrow Future Voices.
In “Our Brightest Minds — and the Strategic Value of Thought Leadership Speakers”, I make several observations that outline the role I play in increasing numbers of organizations today:
Steering an organization into the future is often akin to navigating a ship. You can only get so much momentum, and when it is necessary to take a change in direction, it takes a lot of time for the turn to take effect.
That’s where the role of a high profile futurist with a track record comes in. We help you to steer the ship.
I spend my time with a large number of global Fortune 1000 organizations, associations and government bodies. I’m often called in by a CEO or other member of senior management to achieve one particular goal: to help to place emphasis on the issues, challenges and opportunities that the organization faces in the future. In many cases, senior management knows what needs to be done; but being aware of the art of leadership, they also know that they must carefully lead their team through what are often, significant mindset changes.
The leadership team — including you — knows that they need to wake their people up, shake them out of their complacency, and give them a clear understanding that they had better start thinking about the future — and fast — in order to keep up with high velocity change. And perhaps, if they are lucky, stay one step ahead of everyone else.
That’s what we do. We’ve chosen a career path that has us assisting organizations in making the transition into the future. I’ve been doing this for well over fifteen years.
You can read the full article online.
I head to Salt Lake City next week; I’ll be the opening keynote speaker for the annual conference of the National Recreation and Parks Association.
GovPro News recently ran a press release on my keynote, commenting:
The recession has created an atmosphere of anxiety and uncertainty for many, and those who work in the parks and recreation field are not immune. With so many forces – the economy, politics, and social and leisure trends, for example – out of the control of parks and recreation professionals, thinking about the future could cause a few sleepless nights.
Futurist Jim Carroll has helped hundreds of organizations minimize their sleepless nights when preparing for the future, and he will discuss some of the upcoming challenges and opportunities in the field of parks and recreation when he delivers the keynote address at the National Recreation and Parks Association’s (NRPA) annual Congress and Exposition in Salt Lake City.
So what will I be talking about? The NRPA ran an interview with me in their September issue which is worth a read; I discuss some of the challenges and trends that we face in terms of the future of parks and recreation, and the innovative mindsets that will help folks cope with a future which is faster, more complex, and certainly full of opportunity.
As NRPA Chief Executive Officer Barbara Tulipane commented in the GovPro release: “In these difficult economic times, it will be refreshing and instructive to learn from one of the truly great minds in strategic planning…. Attendees will leave the conference well-armed with a variety of tools and strategies to help them successfully confront the challenges of the coming year.”
There’s no doubt that one of the biggest issues facing the planet and its inhabitants in the coming decades is how we treat the dual challenges of energy and the environment. For years, I’ve been advising my clients about one of the biggest trends related to these two issues: the rapid emergence of an intelligent energy infrastructure. It’s happening now – all around you – and the implications are pretty huge in terms of economic growth. The big question is, what role can accountants play as this infrastructure builds?
From a high level, the trend unfolding is that we will be able to more directly and individually control how we use energy resources, giving each of us ways to reduce our own environmental footprint.
We’re seeing small steps already today: for example, I just bought the new IP Thermostat app for my iPhone; it provides instant access to the two Internet-enabled Proliphix thermostats in my home and ski chalet/cottage. (I could link to my thermostats before via a web page, but IP Thermostat makes it seamless and fast.) The technology allows me to actively manage my energy consumption and better manage my environmental footprint. A world in which hundreds of millions of people are doing the same thing would put a serious dent into heating and air-conditioning usage.
Such devices are just a small example of a number of major trends that will lead to more of this type of connectivity becoming mainstream. For example, major industrial players are adding intelligence to the next generation of commercial, industrial and residential heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, to allow for remote monitoring, management and rapid response to out-of-norm operations.
The advent of the “smart grid” – an electrical system that operates on a more efficient, cost-effective basis through the use of information technology – is another example. It’s not all hype; Cisco recently suggested that the connectivity component of energy infrastructure will be worth more than US$100 billion over five years. That’s some serious spending.
And if we consider the new role of analytics, in that such connectivity will allow consumers and users to better understand their usage, and allow more intelligent demand.
The Positive Energy initiative, for example, encourages hydro utilities to send out electrical bills that compare your usage to that of your neighbours. If you’re efficient, you get some smiley faces on your bill. If not, you get some images that would encourage you to do better. It’s a unique, simple idea, and yet it provides a glimpse into where we can go in the future if we allow people to take a more analytical, deeper view of how they use energy, and hence, impact the environment.
Imagine that as we build this intelligent, connected energy system we can provide tools allowing consumers to further manage their household energy use. For example, software tools could allow them to query an energy provider for details on how well their fridge was operating compared to neighbourhood norms, how much they could save by purchasing a more efficient microwave, or how much money they are losing by postponing that oil change on their 10-year-old hyper-connected car.
We know that everything around us is beginning to plug into the cloud.
There might be unique opportunities to consider how we can maximize the potential for insight as this occurs.