This company is an investment management / equity capital firm that is invested in a number of medium sized organizations. Once a year, they bring together the CEO’s of the companies that they have invested in to talk about past performance and future opportunities. In 2012, they had me come in for a talk looking at ’21st century mega trends’, and in essence, the defining realities and opportunities of our time. This, simply, is what a futurist does.
Archives for May 2012
I’ve had the opportunity to be the opening keynote speaker at four major energy conferences in the last two months ; the 2012 Accenture Worldwide International Utilities and Energy Conference in San Francisco; the Southern Gas Association Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, and the 2012 Enercom Conference in Toronto. In addition, last week I opened a leadership meeting for about 200 executives with Noble Energy in Houston, Texas.
So I’ve been speaking on a pretty extensive basis on trends impacting the global oil and gas industries, as well as utilities. Part of my job at a keynote at such events is to open up the minds of folks to the massive opportunities that are emerging all around us, particularly as we witness an absolutely fascinating acceleration of the science around energy – whether it be oil, gas or renewables.
Here’s a clip in which I’m talking about the fact that at MIT, they are learning how to print solar cells onto paper!
What is occurring in the US right now in terms of advanced discovery techniques – whether with shale gas, horizontal drilling, new subsea mapping technologies or other new discovery, exploration and production techniques is probably one of the most significant trends of this decade. Combine that with the fact that though the economics and politics of clean-tech have challenged the wind, solar and other opportunities, the pace of scientific research and innovation has not slowed down.
What happens when we can print solar cells onto paper? The world speeds up — and the future belongs to those who are fast!
In all likelihood, we are going to see the US enter a period near-complete energy independence within the next few years. Faster than people think!
The implications are pretty significant. I’ll write a blog in the next few weeks with some of the details that I’ve been covering off in these talks.
The South Africa based consultancy runs a monthly staff newsletter on key trends and issues in the agricultural sector. They recently featured a piece that links to a video of mine, “Think Like a Farmer,” in which I make a good case that farmers are some of the most innovative people on the planet.
And they certainly are!
Did you know that the average dairy cow produced about 5,000 pounds of milk in a lifetime in 1942; it’s now 21,000 pounds — because of the
impact of genomics (best gene straits for production) and the ability to look at production data in a very deep way. That’s some pretty fascinating stuff.
I have often described that there are two types of farmers. There’s what we might call the stuck-skeptics, who have attitudes such as:
- they not optimistic about the future
- they tend to seek the “same old advice” from the “same old sources”
- they have a very low tolerance for risk
- they are not convinced they can continue to make a comfortable living in the agricultural sector
- they feel skeptical of the potential of the future, and slammed about the head by an industry that is inherently volatile
Contrast they with the “future positive” farmer. They’re:
- business minded
- innovation oriented
- very collaborative for advice
- a mix of ages – young, aggressive, and mature with focus
- often focused on planning, profit, growth!
- willing to approach everything in a new way with new ideas
And I often joke on stage that they are simply waiting for their group to sell their land, because they know there is simply so much upside in the world of agriculture.
Here’s something to think about, regardless of what industry and career you find yourself in — which type of farmer are you? Future positive or a stuck-skeptic?
Maybe you too should think like a farmer!
This article ran last week after I did a talk for one of the world’s leading heart research / hospital institutions, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Health care’s best bet: technology
Ottawa Citizen, May 16, 2012
AT&T is developing clothing with built-in sensors that monitor blood pressure, perspiration rates and other health indicators. One smartphone app tracks every mouthful of food you eat. Another links to a device that monitors blood glucose levels in diabetic children as they sleep, and notifies parents through an alarm if they spike in the night.
As Jim Carroll would say, this is real stuff. This isn’t science fiction.
Carroll, a 53-year-old resident of Mississauga, is one of the world’s leading futurists. And as he told a room full of nurses at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute last week, technology is driving rapid changes in the way we treat the sick and care for our own health.
That’s a good thing, he said, given the health-care challenges we face. Chronic disease caused by poor lifestyles is driving massive future demands on the system. Society won’t be able to afford nursing home care for all the boomers who will need it. The number of people with Alzheimers and dementia is rising exponentially.
And because longevity is increasing — a baby girl born today can expect to live to 100, Carroll said — the elderly will need costly care for more years than in the past.
“Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time,” said Carroll. “We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.”
Fortunately, there’s lots of that going on, it seems, largely driven by lightening-fast advances in technology. The cost of mapping the human genome has fallen from $3 million to $10,000 and is expected to fall to just $1,000 by year’s end.
“Five years out,” Carroll said, “we’ll be able to buy genomic sequencing machines for $5 at Circuit City. This is a staggering transformation.” That means increasingly, doctors will be able to shift from treating illnesses to preventing them, Carroll said.
Another key trend is “pervasive connectivity” — the notion that everything we own will be able to plug into everything else. In health care, that’s called bioconnectivity, Carroll said. And among other things, it can be used to monitor patients from afar.
One example is Medcottage, a 12-by-24-foot modular building that offers an alternative to institutional care for the sick or elderly in their family’s back yard. The unit provides round-the-clock medical monitoring while giving occupants some privacy and independence.
Ottawa’s heart institute already is using technology to monitor the health of about 150 elderly patients in their homes. Patients use the devices to record their blood pressure, heart rate and blood glucose levels, then plug them into their phones to download the information to the hospital.
The results have been impressive, said Heather Sherrard, the heart institute’s vice-president of clinical services. “The group that gets the home monitoring has anywhere between a 30 and 40 per cent reduction in the amount of times they have to come back to the hospital,” she said. Thanks to the remote devices, “we can see them every day and tweak them.”
The heart institute also uses automated phone calls to check up on patients who’ve had a heart attack. “You can’t financially afford to call everybody,” said Sherrard. “So the system does all the calling, it gives them a series of questions we know are based on evidence, and that allows us to just go ahead and deal with the 10 per cent who are the problem.”
One thing the hospital discovered is that about 40 per cent of patients were substituting Tylenol for their prescribed Aspirin, because they liked Tylenol more. But unlike Tylenol, Aspirin is an anticoagulant, which helps reduce the risk of another attack. “When you’ve had a heart attack, you cannot substitute Tylenol for Aspirin,” Sherrard said.
Canada still has a long way to go to catch up with the United States when it comes to innovative health-care thinking, Carroll said. He credited insurance companies with driving much of the innovation south of the border.
“I get insurance companies that are actively talking about rolling out wellness apps to employee groups,” he said. “It’s not going to happen in Canada, because they don’t control what we spend.”
That’s part of the debate we need to have in Canada, Carroll said. “We all love the Canadian system in terms of the structure and the fact that we don’t become bankrupt if we have a serious medical condition.
“But given the rapid rate of change and opportunity that is happening, we need to somehow figure out how to speed up innovation in the context of health care. Instead of just talking about wait times, we need to think really big.”
Here’s the text for a keynote I’m doing in Calgary tomorrow at noon for a group of IT executives.
Lots to think about here – the future belongs to those who are fast!
Certainly the last forty years have seen technology play a huge impact on business.
Name any industry – auto, health care, manufacturing, energy, banking — and it’s clear that we are witnessing a fundamental and distinct shift of the innovation agenda to one which is driven by the speed of Silicon Valley, and by a generation of people in the computing world who think fundamentally differently about the source of innovation in an industry.
As this occurs, we will see massive business model disruption as new, faster, more nimble competitors who understand technology based disruption, cast aside their slower, ingrained counterparts who are stuck with old, ingrained ideas.
The future belongs, in other words, to those who are fast. Tech companies and tech based innovators certainly understand that logic. Their entire DNA is bound up in the ability to move fast.
That’s why financial organizations are finding themselves plunged into a whirlwind of change as our mobile devices become our credit cards. As slow-to-change insurance companies find that driver-performance oriented insurance policies, linked to in-dash GPS monitoring technologies, wreak havoc on old-line insurance assumptions. As the world of health care adjusts to the reality of a less than $1,000 genomic sequence machine — something that would have cost over $1 million just ten years ago, leading us much quicker to a world of personalized medicine. And an oil and gas industry which is witnessing hyper-innovation in terms of extraction techniques, driven by deep data analysis and other capabilities, which are leading to year over year yield increases which were unmanageable years ago.
The new business model for everyone will increasingly use speed as a metric, and fast-innovation is a core capability.
That’s why you should join iON Secured Networks and Check Point Security Technologies, as we bring you the unique insight of Jim Carroll, who has emerged as one of the world’s leading international futurists, trends and innovation experts, with a client list that ranges from Northrop Grumman to Rockwell Collins; the SouthWest Gas Association to RGA Reinsurance; the Walt Disney Organization to NASA. Jim has had the opportunity to study what world-class innovators have been doing to keep up with a world in which the future belongs to the fast. He will share with us the new role of leading edge technologies involving cloud networks, agile computing, just-in-time development and other key strategies that will help organizations to deploy the right technologies at the right time for the right purpose — a strategy that will be increasingly important as all industries come to innovate at the speed of Silicon Valley.
Through the years, I have hosted or spoken at a number of innovation awards shows.
Last week, I keynoted another one – the 14th Annual KIRA Awards. They celebrate the knowledge, communication and information technology industry in the province of New Brunswick, Canada.
In a post about another innovation award presentation I was involved in, I commented on why innovation awards are so important: “… they celebrate the heroes who are still busy innovating, staying ahead, and positioning their organizations for the future – because they know that trends like these will provide for significant market and business opportunity in the future.”
The KIRA Awards were tremendously well done – I’ve done previous events in Nebraska, Chicago, and even a video taped presentation for the Deloitte South Africa “Best Company to Work For” awards …. but this was truly a remarkably professional production. And what I witnessed in the city of Fredericton that night was something that was truly magical. An entire community of business leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials (the Premier was there), educators and others who believe it is tremendously important to celebrate innovation in a big way.
You should think about doing this too.
If you are serious about innovation, you should set aside a big budget. Go for Hollywood production values. Invest in some real hardware. And celebrate the innovation heroes! Put them on a pedestal. Make them stand out. Make some noise! Show them off!
Why? Because this just might help to build your innovation culture faster than any other way. It’s a rocket fuel for innovation. It helps to frame the importance of focusing on the opportunities of the future through innovation, rather than bemoaning the challenges of the past and slipping further and further behind.
What is going on in the Province of New Brunswick is one of the most successful, motivated and innovative hi-tech communities I have ever seen. Anywhere. These folks would put some entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to shame. And I think it is the spirit such as found in the KIRA Awards that helps this community to accomplish great things.
A few years ago, when I wrote a series of trend predictions for the year 2010, I wrote that this type of thinking would be very big going into the future. Here’s what I said:
- American-Idolatry : People love competition, they love winners, and they relish the battle! Everyone is learning that if they are to succeed in the future, they have to appeal to the new base of hero-worship that comes from our new awards driven society. Everywhere I go, I see companies who are far more willing to celebrate and elevate heroes. DHL holds an annual innovation day which includes an award ceremony with partners who have worked with them on innovative ideas. Deloitte South Africa hosts an annual “Best Company To Work For’ survey and combines into it an elaborate awards ceremony. The future of workplace and partner renumeration is all about the red-carpet, the spotlight, and the celebration of success!
So do this now. Walk down the hall to see your boss.
Ask for a budget of $100,000 to put on a big innovation awards show. Think big. DO BIG.
The future belongs to those who are fast.