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Home > “It’s time to take George Jetson seriously….”

“It’s time to take George Jetson seriously….”

On Monday, I was the opening keynote speaker in St. Louis for an event for the National Rural and Electrical cooperative, and spoke about a variety of energy trends.


Trends analyst Jim Carroll gives a glimpse into the future for electric cooperative directors at the 2014 Directors Conference in St. Louis (Photo By: Steven Johnson)

And, as always, I had some fun with the audience while doing so!

The folks over at Electric Co-Op Today reported on my keynote. A fun, concise little read!

It’s time to take George Jetson seriously, says trends expert Jim Carroll.

After all, the ‘60s carton icon communicated with his boss on a video screen and read the daily news on a wall-mounted monitor. Nowadays, we call that using Skype and Face Time, and surfing the Web.

Therein lies a lesson, Carroll said, as he urged more than 600 electric cooperative directors to embrace the rapid pace of changing technologies and member expectations. The Canadian-based author of The Future Belongs To Those Who Are Fast spoke March 24 at the 2014 NRECA Directors Conference at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront.

“If you go back and watch The Jetsons and look at a lot of the things they were talking about in the science-fiction cartoon show, a lot of these things have become true,” he said of the show which debuted in 1962. “The period of time between when science-fiction predictions are made and when they become reality is collapsing.”

Business as usual in the energy sector is a thing of the past, he said.

The electric grid, for example, is bound to become less centralized as residential ratepayers print three-dimensional solar cells from their home computers or run their heating and cooling systems from their cell phones.

“What’s going on in the world of energy with backyard production and the reduction in costs of solar and wind and biomass is where we’re going to see the emergence of local energy networks,” Carroll said.

That could lead to private grids, where small-scale generators share energy in a way that upends the traditional utility-customer business model, he cautioned.

On the plus side, Carroll said co-ops can capitalize on those changes because of the unique relationship they enjoy with their members, as long as they bring those discussions into the board room.

“You need to think about your passion, your purpose and what you need to accomplish,” he said. “Your role is to bring the future to your community.”


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