“Think BIG. Your future will thank you for it.” – Futurist Jim Carroll

In times of volatility, people tend to become pessimistic about what’s next.

But, the future doesn’t care – it marches on.

The result is that we tend to see short-term trends but miss out on big long-term ones. We lose faith in the future when short-term volatility happens, but the long-term future fails to notice our apathy. We stop innovating and inventing at the very moment in time when history tells us that it is critical to double down on initiative.  The speed of change also seems to numb us to the impact and potential of our longer-term future – as trends come at us with greater speed and intensity, we tend to lose sight of the long-term opportunities as short-term issues come to dominate our views.

With that in mind, it’s a good time to think about “The Big Future.”

If you really think about it, we live in the most amazing period of time in human history. We are seeing, for segments of the population that take care of themselves, significant increases in longevity.  We are on the edge of the discovery of the eradication of significant diseases. Research scientists are oh, so close, to growing human body parts in labs through the magic of regenerative science. We can 3d print human prosthetic devices to assist the disabled and immobile. We are seeing the arrival of intelligent sensors that can go on our skin or in our eyes that can provide real-time healthcare monitoring and diagnosis. The world of healthcare and medical science is accelerating at a pace never before seen in the entirety of human history.

Energy is becoming an industry of magic. We’re figuring out how to build little local intelligent energy microgrids so that entire neighborhoods can share their renewable energy sources. We’re about to turn our cars into electrical storage devices as a part of that grid through battery science technology, which itself is a form of magic that is forever changing our relationship with energy. We are getting so good at generating energy from the sun and feeding it into an intelligent grid that we have a real shot at living in a low-carbon future. Not only that, but it’s very likely that the electric cars that we drive will, at some point, generate energy from micro solar panels on their roof as they drive. The buildings we work and live in? The windows and roofing tiles that provide us protection from the elements will also be energy generators – smart solar windows and solar tiles will be common in all new building construction.

Every industry has a ‘big future.’ In agriculture, we’re entering an era of 24-hour farming and intelligent plants that can ‘talk to us.’ In manufacturing, we’re entering a world of mass customization, building things for an audience of one, with highly customized production becoming routine – thereby dramatically changing the market reach of new entrepreneurial startups. Automobiles are becoming computers on wheels, intelligent and connected, perhaps significantly reducing collision risk. We are evolving the process of insurance actuarial science, moving from looking back in order to assess risk, to looking forward based on real-time information, thereby providing better insurance coverage at a lower cost. In sports, we are changing the very nature of the relationship between humans and sports devices – leading us to a world of the intelligent, connected golf club that provides real-time information on our progress with our golf swing. In construction, robotics and AI promise to radically reshape the method by which we bring new facilities to the world, at the same time that digital twin technologies help us to understand how to better create, manage and monitor that which we have created.

Radical innovations, new ideas, and entrepreneurial initiatives fuel our economy. We know that – we’ve recently been through the longest economic boom in history. We are likely to see this pattern repeat itself as new discoveries, significant inventions, far-reaching innovations and a new entrepreneurial class fuelled by connected collaboration continues to discover how to invent a better future.

You’ll only be a part of that if you subscribe to the belief that while you manage short-term volatility, you need to keep your eye firmly focused on long-term opportunities. It’s for all of these reasons that I’ve decided to launch, this week, my “Big Future” series.

I’ll take a look at all these trends and more, providing real insight into what is happening, and why it matters. It will unfold over time – rather than trying to take on one key trend each day, it will come over a week and months as I dive deeper into the many long-term trends – one trend at a time.

I think this type of insight matters right now. I am convinced that the current era of volatility – with corporate layoffs, never-ending talk of a recession, techno-skepticism, raging political volatility, and relentless uncertainty – has caused many people to turn away from the future, focusing instead on their current short-term challenges. And as I have said many times before, right now is exactly the WRONG time to be doing myopic and near-sighted.

I’ll cover these trends in the Daily Inspiration as I write them, so you will see them here, but you can also bookmark the Big Future page, which will be a pathway into the trends that will reshape our lives. You can find this page at https://bigfuture.jimcarroll.com. Because when it comes to the future, you’ve got to be ready to jump on a trend when it happens. You’ve got to “keep your powder dry” – be ready for any trend when it “explodes and goes supernova!”.

Because the future is bigger than you think!

It truly is a BIG future, and it’s only by re-emphasizing and rethinking what is unfolding that you can choose to be a part of it.


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.