“We’re quickly moving from the era of mass production to one of mass customization, in which any potential customer in the world is now less than 3 days away from the order date. That’s your reality – and that’s your opportunity!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Just two years ago to this moment, I was on stage as the opening keynote speaker for my client, the World Bank, at the 2nd Global Manufacturing Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
It seems like a lifetime ago!
The topic? The future of manufacturing! The conference saw the attendance of government ministers, business executives, development experts, and other officials, with a focus on the economic development opportunities that can come from the acceleration of manufacturing opportunities throughout emerging economies around the world. The event followed up on several other high profile global keynotes, including the World Government Summit in Dubai, the WorldSkills Conference in Sao Paolo, the International Roads Union Transportation Summit in Muscat, Oman, and the Swiss Innovation Forum in Zurich, Switzerland.
The booking came after extensive discussions with senior executives at the International Finance Corporation – a division of the World Bank – on my views on the future of manufacturing, previous keynotes around the world in the manufacturing sector, and of critical importance, my views on the accelerating opportunities of emerging economies including the region of Africa. Of note, my 25 Trends for 2025 document, a grab bag of trends that examine the future, crystallized several of my viewpoints on emerging market opportunities.
It has long been my belief that we live in an era of ‘great equalization,’ in which power is shifting from long-established regions to those who have the agility, flexibility, and wherewithal to adapt and align to fast-moving trends.
In the world of manufacturing, a variety of trends – 3D printing, rapid prototyping and design, the acceleration of new materials, accelerating skills shortages, changes in logistics and supply chain methodologies, and more – has led us to a period of time in which opportunity abounds in innovative thinking. Much of my inspiration came from the fellow known as Mr. China – I combined my overview of the acceleration of manufacturing trends which his view on the shrinking size of the world.
“We operate on the basis that we’re three hours from the factories we work with, and we are three days from 90% of the consumers on the planet who buy the product.” Manufacturing Guru Liam Casey Looks Back—and Ahead The Man known as ‘Mr. China’, 7 June 2016, The Wall Street Journal Online
I think one fact that was helpful to my selection as the keynote speaker? Not just my deep experience in manufacturing trends, but also, the fact that I’m a Canadian Since 2016, I have learned that our nation of diversity, welcoming attitude towards immigration, support of emerging economies, and compassionate thinking, provides us a brand and reputation that aligns well with those who want to focus on the real opportunities of the 21st century, manufacturing opportunities rather than building walls.
Here’s a clip of the closing moments of my talk.
And during sound check, as always, I filmed a ‘pre-keynote report’ with a glimpse of what I soon would be covering.