Article – “The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast”


2009FutureFastHalifax.jpgExpectation gaps create tremendous opportunity

Chronicle Herald, November 2009

By Kelly Hennessey, ABC

There are two ways your community can look at the rapid-fire pace of change we are experiencing: Bury your collective heads in the sand and hope it goes away, or embrace the opportunity change presents for transformative growth.

Jim Carroll would strongly encourage you to seize transformative growth and the opportunities it presents.

Mr. Carroll, a Halifax native, is a world-leading global futurist, trends and innovation expert speaking today at the Greater Halifax Partnership’s Building Our Future event, the last in a series for 2009.

“There are two trends communities need to face now to stay strong for tomorrow,” says Mr. Carroll. “One trend is the expectation gap.”

Take any segment – health care, pensions, post-secondary education – and boomers expect there is enough money to fund these costs for themselves and their children in the future. The gap?

“We can’t fund our current levels in many sectors into the future,” says Mr. Carroll, “but that’s okay. This quickly changing environment creates the opportunity to innovate – and innovation opens the door to all kinds of new possibilities, new jobs, and new growth.”

Take the health care and life sciences sectors in Halifax. These groups are critical to the economic stability of our region and Mr. Carroll believes as they solve the expectation gap in their sector, it will open up big potential here – and on a worldwide basis.

Which brings us to Mr. Carroll’s second trend: That overseas markets present the next big opportunity for this region.

“Canada has always thought it important to look overseas to reduce reliance on one economic partner. What is happening now is there are more, and more frequent, border irritants to the south. This makes the overseas markets even more attractive and more important.

“Given the global knowledge economy, there is no better time for Nova Scotia to turn aggressively outward and do more of the Bermuda-type ‘in-shoring’ deals.” In January 2009, the provincial government signed a memorandum of understanding between Nova Scotia and Bermuda to encourage new business growth in the areas of knowledge, finance, education and tourism.

Amid the trends, Mr. Carroll makes one other key point: Complacency is not an option for organizations seeking future growth.

“There’s so much going on in terms of disruptive innovation, the rapid emergence of new opportunities and fascinating new technologies for marketing and promoting your business. I think the best thing to do is simply to adopt an attitude that it’s fast, it’s scary, but you’re fully prepared to experiment, try out new ideas, and always stay focused on potential new opportunities.”

“The timing of Jim Carroll’s insight couldn’t be better,” says Paul Kent, President and CEO of the Greater Halifax Partnership. “We’re pleased to bring him back home to invigorate our thinking and open our eyes to the trends we can capitalize on for economic growth.”

The Greater Halifax Partnership is the catalyst for economic growth and confidence in Greater Halifax, the economic hub of Atlantic Canada.


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.