“Every great failure has its moment of opportunity!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
You always need to always be on your guard : vigilant, wary, cautious. Ready to reinvent and act at a moments notice, because just when you think you might have it made – the future has different plans for you!⠀
When you work hard to predict the future, it’s often pretty easy to find the most likely situations for potential failure, because the warning signs are all too frequent, and historical comparisons are all too prevalent.⠀
You will find future failure within the attitude of an individual, a team, a company, or even a nation. The result? Failure – it comes about with predictable frequency – just when you think you are on top, the greatest, it asserts its dominance.⠀
It happened to the music industry, which found a gold mine in the sale of physical CD’s, but thought it could fight the shift to digital on a legal, rather than a business model basis. It happened to Kodak, who never bothered to ask the question, “what if cameras don’t have film.” Blockbuster, which never really pursued the question, ‘what if people don’t autarky need physical video formats.” Polaroid, which never wondered, ‘what if people don’t actually want to print pictures.’ Blackberry/RIM, which never challenged the CEO belief that small electronic handheld devices would only ever be used for texts and email – not as a phone, camera, and personal organizer, aka iPhone.
Sadly, the list goes on forever. Xerox had the original lab that saw Douglas Englehardt pioneer a computer interface methodology involving a graphical interface, a mouse and keyboard – and never capitalized on the opportunity, ceding the future to Apple. Motorola, which believed that it had its future solidified wth the popular Razr phone, and never really innovated again. Sony, who clung to the belief that the cassette tape Walkman was the be-all and end-all of music entertainment.
And it it happens to entire nations, who somehow cling to a delusional mantra that they are the greatest in the world, while all around them a dramatic decline is combining with shocking, deadly negligence to accelerate a tragic fall from grace.
What is common to all of these situations is a blindness to the future, a belief in infallibility, and an attitude of invincibility.
As soon as these attitudes take hold – wham! – failure has its opportunity!
Innovate. Despite Uncertainty – Because What You Do Right Now Defines Your Future
That’s the tagline on a new Web page I put up at https://movingforward.jimcarroll.com . Strategies for ensuring that you are not a casualty in this great global economic reset which is unfolding at a blistering pace as nations struggle to contain Covid-19, and manage one of the most complex business and governance challenges of our lifetime.
I cut a video in the home broadcast studio which captures much of the guidance found on that page : 10 signs that you need to watch for that might mean you are failing at the future, and 10 things you should do to keep ‘moving forward.’ Give it a watch, and visit the page.
“Your best strategy for the future? Avoid pathological denial of reality, aggressive arrogance, compulsive complacency, an unwillingness to confront the truth: these are all the signs of ongoing leadership failure!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
One of the most interesting aspects of history is that you often don’t know you are living through an era of seismic change until you are well out of the other side. Few could grasp the far reaching implications of Pearl Harbour as the defining moment in which the world order would change for the next 50 years; that 9/11 would lead to a huge dent in the world’s march towards global cooperation and tolerance; that a small connection between two computers in the 1970’s that defined the Internet would lead a massive world of disinformation and the rejection of science.
We’re living through that moment of time right now, and history is yet to be written. Somewhere in the bowels of the Lubyanka, there is an FSB, ex-KGB officer cackling with glee at their ability to send a once great democracy into a state of abject failure, unable to do what other nations have done with Covid-19. Driven by misinformation, ripped apart by abject lunacy, frozen into a state of foolishness, we’re witnessing death by design, as people are subjected to the very risk of their lives — because others think that ‘freedom’ means that science is just another conspiracy.
Have no doubt – these are seismic events unfolding in real time, and history is yet to be written. It either has a chance to work, or it’s going to be incredibly bleak.
Someday, hopefully, you’ll tell your grandkids what you saw while it was unfolding.
Wear a mask. Vote. Your future matters.
The job of a futurist, of course, is to predict the future!
And since this ‘thing’ began, I’ve been working behind the scenes furiously, analyzing, thinking, pandering, researching, observing. Here’s a quick little hit of an article that covers just a few of my thoughts.
Innovating for the future: 5 ideas that could emerge post-COVID
by Margaret Craig-Bourdin
[ original article ]
Savvy entrepreneurs won’t wait around for things to return to normal. Instead, they’ll funnel their creativity into concepts that work for a changed reality.
As we know, COVID-19 has already led to some ingenious innovations in areas such as delivery. And there’s no reason to think the spark will fizzle out post-pandemic.
“Savvy entrepreneurs know we need to adapt, and they’re funnelling their creativity into new ideas that will bypass COVID-related concerns,” says FCPA Jim Carroll, a futurist and founder of J.A. Carroll Consulting.
Here are five ideas that Carroll thinks could emerge in the short to medium term. [For more on what our post-pandemic world might look like, see Welcome to the future: what a post-pandemic world could look like.]
1) EDUCATION À LA CARTE
Although Carroll considers education the most complex industry on the planet, he thinks a huge amount of innovation will be taking place in this space because the entire sector is being disrupted “in a massive way.” For example, rather than signing up for a whole university program, a student might buy a course when they need it. “In other words, we might see high-quality education delivered on a just-in-time basis,” he says.
2) PLAY TO LEARN
According to Carroll, we’re also likely to see the reintroduction of gaming concepts in education. “If you are giving an online course to members of the gaming generation, you can introduce interactive elements to encourage students to participate,” he says. “As they engage with those elements, they will stay focused on the education being delivered to them.”
3) FOOD AS A SERVICE
Carroll thinks some chefs will move beyond restaurants as we know them. Instead, they might take a low-cost industrial space and set up a fully fledged high-end kitchen there, combined with a delivery infrastructure. “Some enterprising chefs are already developing that concept as we speak,” says Carroll.
4) CONCIERGE SERVICE
Since online shopping (for groceries especially) can be very tedious, Carroll thinks we will see a lot of innovation to make the experience a little more palatable—literally. For example, he thinks we will see the emergence of what he calls a concierge service. “This is an entire category of people who will do things on your behalf,” he says. “If you don’t feel comfortable doing your grocery shopping, these people will do it for you. If you don’t want to go into a store to browse, they will do that too. It will be a whole Uber-style type of service that is going to reinvent what it means to shop.”
5) TURNKEY E-COMMERCE
As Carroll explains, he’s seen a lot of mom and pop shops wondering how to do online shopping. “Large e-commerce companies are obviously already quite adept with e-commerce, but it can still be a challenge for smaller companies. So I think we’re going to see a lot of enterprising young people just saying to small businesses, ‘We’ll offer you a turnkey service.’”
“Our future? It now has us being continually confronted with a new, confusing abnormal!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
This photo was taken moments before I hit the stage for my keynote for the World Bank / International Finance Corporation in Marrakech, Morocco last November I was just checking some notes I had typed in the night before around some context on my talk. It seems like a different world and a different time!
A confusing abnormal? Somewhere along the way I saw a quote about the ill-fated 737Max, and a comment that “Boeing built an airplane that confronted the pilots with a confusing abnormal.” That, I thought, defines our reality today!
There’s not much that makes sense anymore. 40 million unemployed in North America and hundreds of millions worldwide, and yet the stock market is booming. Supply chains are in disarray, agriculture is in turmoil, manufacturing methodologies are being massively disrupted by new social distancing protocols – and people think in just a few months, everything will be ok. Healthcare systems are on the brink with a real, not imagined decrease in life expectancy as a result of care avoidance for many traditional health care risks – and yet politicians are eager to decimate existing healthcare coverage.
To top it off, a culture war in which freedom seems to be defined by your complete disrespect for those around you through ignoring sound scientific advice with respect to mask-wearing.
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
In the context of these changes, there is a new reality in which a once great nation has become a terrifying global laughing stock, with the rest of the world watching in abject horror as the insane policies of a madman and his cult members follow a path of maximum destruction. Leadership which can not yet quite grasp that when it comes to desire and science, science always wins.
This, my friends, is an actual news headline: “We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best.”
We have truly entered the twilight zone of peak idiocy – because, experts, well, they aren’t.
When history is written, people will wonder how a nation could fall so far, so fast, based on a platform of lunacy!
And yet, the stock market is up, hitting almost record territory, as investors are giddy with the idea of a V-shaped recovery. Give it a few months, they think, and everything will be back to normal! I regularly hear people speak of the magic of a vaccine as if it is imminent, and all of this will suddenly end. I witness people online who proclaim that they are just tired of it all and want to just get back to normal – as if their mere statement of this wish will cause it to happen.
Reality? This ‘thing’ is going to take years and years to unwind, a massive effort to fix, and herculean efforts to re-engineer society, business and industry.
We live in interesting times.