“Strategic clarity: It’s the compass that will guide you through the uncertainty of tomorrow.” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Let me share with you an email I blasted out yesterday to the 400+ agents at the 40-plus speaker’s bureaus around the world who at one time or another have booked me into events, and who continue to put me out to their clients.
Yesterday, my hunch that executives want insight into the STRATEGY of AI, not the TECHNOLOGY, proved that I was pretty prescient.
Because yesterday, I fielded 12 inquiries for keynotes on AI – and insight on strategic clarity around AI.
12 inquiries. Think about that.
Organizations in the UK, Hong Kong, the US, Germany, and Japan.
It might be that only one or two turns into something, but all of them indicated that they were looking for executive-level insight.
Not the tech.
AI. It’s about strategic clarity.
And it’s all right here:
I’ve never seen anything unfold at such speed!
And I’m eager to help you understand the opportunity. Give me a call and let’s Zoom if you want to understand what these potential clients are saying.
I included in the email a header that emphasizes the point:
Last year, I figured that AI was going to be THE forthcoming topic that would dominate the corporate and association agenda and that DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) was beginning to run to the end of its run. Every year seems to have a ‘theme,’ a ‘hot topic,’ and an in-demand focus. AI was going to be it.
On this point, I proved to be absolutely, 100% correct in my prediction.
I guess I’m pretty good at this trend stuff.
Why did I come to this conclusion? Last summer, as the text-to-image generating technologies MidJourney and Stable Diffusion were exploding onto the scene, I knew something was up. And then, in the fall, while I was in the UK keynoting a major conference, ChatGPT appeared – and to say that I had tingles on the back of my neck was a bit of an understatement.
I decided that I was going to double down on the AI topic because my sense was it was going to be THE future-oriented topic that would dominate association conference platforms for a time – and that leadership teams of corporate organizations would be screaming for real insight about it. Strategic insight. Leadership insight. Strategic clarity.
I also knew that there were already many AI-focused speakers and experts out there – the speaker’s bureaus who will often book me also represent some of the leading A.I. researchers, academics, tech executives, and many others. But having been on the speaking circuit for so long, I also knew that many of them would take a technological approach to the issue – here’s how large-language models work here’s why they are happening so fast, here’s what you can expect to happen in the future. Lots of deep insight, lots of tech, lots of fascinating stuff – but very little strategy.
I also knew – and it’s the nature of the industry I work in. that there would be a flood of speakers with a generic AI keynote. Here’s our future, here’s what’s going on, here’s how you can use ChatGPT for personal productivity, and here are some cool new AI toys. Lots of powerful motivational insight – but very little insight that speaks to the deep disruptive impact on a particular industry, heavily researched and extremely detail focused. It’s not the type of thing a CEO wants when he or she is bringing their team together to figure out how AI is going to change their industry, company and future.
In other words, I was very aware that all of this would do little to satisfy the demands of executives for insight into the deep, substantive, strategic issues that would be emerging with faster-moving AI technologies. It’s not about the technology, it’s about the strategy – that’s what I kept reminding myself. I knew this from everything I’ve been doing for 30 years as a speaker – when the Internet exploded onto the scene, I quickly gained a reputation as the guy who could outline, from a business strategy and transformation perspective, what it really meant. The same thing happened with e-commerce, social media, and other major trends along the way.
And I also knew I was a natural to slide into this role with AI. I’ve already been covering it on stage for quite some time – speaking about the acceleration of robotics and AI in the construction and manufacturing sector; the movement towards predictive analytic-based real-time insurance underwriting; the arrival of highly intelligent, connected medical devices with embedded AI connectivity. I was already there.
And so I began to double down, writing, researching, enhancing my background – and above all, investing in the jimcarroll.ai domain name and building out a Web site that would carry my message to the world
It’s beginning to pay off. In buckets – because executives worldwide are demanding the strategic clarity that is required to help them through the complex fog of uncertainty that AI is bringing them tomorrow – today.