“You certainly won’t make it ‘great again’ unless you put in the hard work!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
My audiences began to change over the years, with more people developing an unhealthy expectation as to how much effort they would have to put in to get to the future. And that seemed to be the case with a few angry people when I was the opening keynote speaker, and then spoke on a panel, at the annual conference for the Mississippi Economic Development Corporation event in Biloxi.
The organizers wanted to provide a good, honest look at the future of manufacturing and lay on the table what the region needed to do to align itself to future opportunities. So I went in and spoke about, which, in my keynote description, goes something like this:
Collapsing product lifecycles. Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Build to demand, as opposed to build to inventory, business models. The role of the Internet of Things in product innovation as well as manufacturing process innovation. Spatial-innovation with advanced manufacturing robotics. New materials and substances that allow for change in product development. Rapid prototyping, sketch to scale, and agility-based business models…. are you ready for the new world of manufacturing?
While popular media and opportunistic politicians portray a picture of a sector in crisis, smart manufacturing executives are furiously busy with innovation, reinventing their capabilities, processes and business models using advanced ideas, materials, methodologies and technologies.
The reality of manufacturing today is that there is a big opportunity that comes from aligning to fast paced trends.
I also carefully took on the elephant in the room during the panel discussion – on which this picture is based – when a question came up noting that a lot of manufacturing was simply going to return to the US because of …. MAGA. My quote says it all: “you can wish for it, but if you don’t work for it, you won’t get it.” Without skills investment, technology reinvention, aligning to new realities, streamlining processes, building world-class products – without all that, you won’t get anywhere. That seemed to go over well as a response; there were many respectful nods.
Except … for the angry tweets. Some people took it upon themselves to proudly note that they didn’t need to worry about all this stuff because tariffs and borders and walls and reshoring were simply going to make American manufacturing great again. I remember one particularly vicious response that Mississippi need not pay any attention to what I was talking about, because MAGA was going to fix everything.
LOL. It doesn’t seem to be working out that way, does it? Over the last few years, I’ve learned to ignore the tweets; often, it’s just emotionally unstable people who are seeking the easy way out of their present reality. As I wrote for my Daily Inspiration on that day 3 years ago: “Regions need to work harder to draw industry and to do that, they require the skills and infrastructure that will be required for a faster, more complex future. ”
Before I hit the stage, my wife and I hit the beach on the Gulf of Mexico – and I filmed my pre-keynote report. Give it a watch – take a look at what I spoke about in terms of the elephant in the room.
If you don’t put in the work, the future will be out of reach!