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Just over 18 months ago, I opened the annual meeting of the United Soybean Board in St. Louis, a group that represents most of the US soybean industry. I was on stage with a message for over 300 soybean farmers about opportunities for future growth. In addition, I spent 2 hours in a private session with the Board of Directors talking about opportunity. To see what I covered, read my blog post from my keynote “Accelerating Innovation: My Time With the United Soybean Board.”

We talked a lot about China and global markets as a big opportunity. Today, the industry is struggling with the fact that they while they spent a lot of time developing China a key market, the country has now targeted their beans with tariffs. They are in the front line of the new global trade war.

Who would have thought? Well, people vote, and votes matter.

With that in mind, watch this video from my good friend Jim Carroll – he’s the head of the Arkansas Soybean Board. Jim and I met when I spoke to this group. It’s a video message with his most recent update to his members – soybean farmers all of them – on their opportunities for innovation.

He’s talking about the same opportunities that I focused on in my keynote: new markets, using soybeans for new products and new opportunities (i.e. meal for fish farming in Egypt), sustainability – the whole idea of not selling ‘beans by the bushel’,’ but selling soybeans for use in different ways for different purposes. Did you know that Ford uses soybeans in seat cushions for cars? That’s an example of the type of innovative thinking occurring in the industry. Continue Reading

You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice. Here’s what you need to think about.

The Trapeze Group had me in to headline their annual user group conference – individuals thourhgout the global urban transit industry. As with many of my events, I went above and beyond and delivered far more that most other speakers who simply pay lip service, with a custom event video, Q&A and more. Read about that on this blog post, Are You Stuck with the Same Old Boring Keynote? Stop it NOW!.

But wait! There’s more! I also hosted a private meeting of key leaders in the sector; I had CEO’s and senior executives of transit organization from Memphis, Nashville, Long Beach, Dallas, Spokane, Philadelphia and more. This gave them a chance to dive deeper into the issues I framed in my keynote.

 

 

What did we cover? Take a look.

Bottom line? You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice.

Over a 25 year time span, I have built a remarkably successful career as a speaker, speaking to organizations worldwide about future trends, what comes next, and how best to get there. Take a look at my client list; many of the world’s biggest and most prestigious organizations have had me in for my insight. I must have some views and insight that are worthwhile.

Often, I am booked directly by those who find me online, but I am also regularly booked by some of the largest, most prestigious speakers bureaus in the world. Folks like the Washington Speakers Bureau and Canada’s National Speakers Bureau, among countless others – probably the top 30 agencies in the world actively work with me. I’ve spent a great deal of time over 20 years to build and nurture a relationship with these folks. It’s a pretty exclusive club — I am booked by the same people who book Barak and Michelle Obama, George W. Bush, various astronauts and business executives, sports figures, entertainers and more. It’s not a stretch to say that I operate at the elite level of the global speaking industry, with audiences of several thousand, in locations like Dubai, Oman, Tokyo, London and Washington.

In my spare time, my wife and business partner Christa volunteer our time to a local charity near our ski chalet north of Toronto. To that end, I would like you to watch this video clip about this group, known as Events for Life.

Events for Life provides daytime activities for young disabled adults; we have young people with autism and other disabilities, as well as those with Down Syndrome. Our goal is to give them a pathway and activities that helps them to live an enriching life. We are overjoyed with the results.

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Last week, in Las Vegas, I was the opening keynote for 3,000 people at the National Fire Protection Association annual conference.

I was asked to limit my remarks to 20 minutes. I don’t do TED talks – it’s difficult to fit in all the trends involving a fast future into a short time span! But I did some work, and cut myself back – and you can see the full (21 minute) talk here….

This morning, I have a situation where a client is considering me to headline an event in the road building industry.

I’m encouraging them to get on the phone with me to help them understand I’m the right guy for a highly customized keynote on the future of roads and highways, but while waiting on that, I thought I would simply write them a keynote topic description! Why not – I’ve been doing numerous customized keynotes in this area. Here’s a video clip from a recent one in which I talk about the impact of hyper-connectivity and the Internet of things on the future of roads and bridges – and the fact that none other than Amazon has this business in their sights!

Keynote: The Future of Intelligent Roads and Intelligent Highway Infrastructure

The pace of change with future road and highway technology is going, if you pardon the pun, from fast to furious!

We are witnessing the arrival of intelligent highway monitoring technology, embedded into roads, bridges and other aspects of our transportation system, accelerating the business of road technology to the speed of Silicon Valley. The arrival of V2I (“vehicle to infrastructure”) technology, which allows cars and vehicles to communicate with this embedded, intelligent infrastructure, providing for more robust, intelligent traffic routing. The emergence of the Internet of Things, which promises a new era of hyper-connectivity in the design of vehicles and everything that they interact with. The arrival of new construction methodologies and ideas involving 3D printing, advanced robotics and virtual construction capabilities. An acceleration in the very nature of the materials used in bridge and road construction, such as developments in the science of concrete that leads to new opportunities for tensile strength. The fact that  Amazon is now a harbinger for business model disruption in the ‘business of traffic’ – the organization actually owns a patent involving big data and analytics related to traffic flow, which might provide for a pay-per-access to intelligent highway routing capabilities! The era of self-driving cars, which will take the industry from a slow and simple world of innovation to one that parallels the speed of smartphone innovation! Advancements in battery technology, the rapid evolution with the electrical grid as a result of renewable energy and other trends — and the sudden arrival of roads which charge vehicles as part of the business model of transportation! Intelligent street lights which become an overall part of the transportation system, providing for monitoring, analysis and traffic management! Then there is the skills issue – as the build a more complex road and highway infrastructure of the future, the current range of skills might not be up to the task. Not to mention the arrival of the next generation who will arrive on the job site with their iPad, mobile device, with full expectations of a hi-tech, advanced and sophisticated future of road construction.

Whoah! That’s a lot — and it’s all happening faster than any road and highway infrastructure executive realizes. What is today’s modern road and highway infrastructure executive to do? Align to the opportunities of tomorrow rather than just the challenges of today! Clearly we live in a time of massive challenge, and yet one of massive opportunity, with every industry and organization impacted by business model disruption, the emergence of new methodologies, the impact of technology, and an acceleration of all trends.  Those very things which might have worked for us in the past might be the very anchors that could now hold us back as the future rushes at us with ever increasing speed, particularly in the traditionally slow industry of road-construction

In the era of Uber, Tesla and Amazon, leaders must have the insight into unique opportunities for innovation and change. Everywhere we look, we can see acceleration, speed, and velocity: and in times like these, time isn’t a luxury.

In this keynote on the future of roads and highways, Futurist Jim Carroll takes you on a voyage into how the new rules of business and technology are providing for a reality in which the spirit of agility isn’t just an option – it’s the new normal!

 

 

It probably means that you are in pretty big trouble.

Over the last 25 years, I’ve been brought into an extensive number of Fortune 1000  leadership meetings at a senior level in order to speak about future trends an innovation – simply take a look at my client list to get a sense of who I work with. With this, I’ve seen many top-notch CEO’s who know that their organization needs to change – and fast. Often, I will be on the phone with them in advance of the event in order to understand their perspective on the challenges that are in front of them in the era of acceleration.

And on the other hand, I’ve seen situations involving the utmost of CEO hubris – a belief that the industry they are in, the business model they are structured for, and the customer behaviour they are aligned to, won’t be subjected to any sort of dramatic change. Which is, to put it mildly, foolish and dangerous!

Just about a year ago, I was in to talk to the senior leadership team of a major global company that I will leave nameless. There was a belief, expressed during a number of conference calls with various VP’s, that the organization needed to align itself for the challenges it might face in the era of Amazon business model disruption. The company is in essence, a distributor – a middleman between various manufacturers and the end customers. Amazon could step into and carve out some of the business; this is such a potential threat that numerous organizations engage me for my keynote on the challenge: Disrupting Amazon : Accelerating Strategies for Success in the Era of Industry Transformation.

And indeed, that was the topic for which I was booked!

Moments before I went on stage, the CEO spoke, immediately dismissing the idea that Amazon or other ‘upstarts’ might ever be a threat. Let’s just say it made for an interesting, if awkward, keynote. The folks who had booked me to come in with palpable with their discomfort.

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Our challenge: involvement! In 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered in New York City as a crowd of bystanders stood by, watching, unwilling to do anything to save her. What does it say for our world when too many people are too unwilling to get involved….”

So began my speech, in Grade 7 or Grade 8, in the Ontario championships for the Optimist Club of Canada. I was all of 11 or 12 years old. I was bothered, I think, by what I was witnessing in the world at the time, and the story of Kitty Genovese, which I saw in a Readers Digest magazine, captured my attention. It became the basis of my speech, which set me on the path for a big competition!

I didn’t win – I was crushed! I was certain I had nailed it! And I couldn’t believe that the kid who beat me had a squeaky little, high-pitched voice, and didn’t seem to deliver with the passion that I did! How did I not take the big prize!

I was given time off during the school day in my elementary school in London, Ontario, Canada, to practice for my provincial public speaking championship . The teachers were probably relieved — I was a bit of a problem student….

Such are the lessons that teach us things later in life…..

So today I’m down in a place called London, Ontario, Canada, south of my home outside of Toronto. It’s where I grew up as a baby, from 1959, until we moved east in 1972. We’re down in the area briefly, and I had a chance to visit some of my old haunts in a rushed visit prior to going to a wedding 45 minutes from here.

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If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been doing a series of customized event videos which serve as promos for various client events. They’re short, to the point, and effective. 2-4 minutes in length.

Do they work? I’m headed to Houston right now, and the client reported that after they sent oft the video teaser, attendance registrations went up by 75%

Learn more about how I make them in this clip. The magic comes in two forms – I film in my home green screen studio, and then the magic is added by my awesome overseas video producer in Russia! Armine is actually from Armenia, and works in her day job in the TV scene in Moscow. In her spare time, she helps me out! The result is amazing! Literally. Give this a watch now.

Kick your event up a notch with your own customized video. Watch them here – and contact me for more information.

And stay tuned – we will soon be launching an opportunity for a cool video keynote summary! More details to come.

Right after 9/11, everyone predicted that we would see the end of meetings, events and conferences: people would recoil in fear, stop travelling, and cocoon at home.

That was the dumbest thing I ever heard, and I said so in a column I wrote for Successful Meetings, the voice of the global meetings and events industry. Titled “Get Real,” it was bang on with my of my comments and predictions.

Fast forward – technology is changing the hotel, meeting and event industry at a furious pace, and Successful Meetings just ran an article on these trends. It’s a great read. But its kind of fun that they start the article with y comments on the cautious speed fo technology in the sector.

Read the intro below, and read the full article here.


7 Hotel Tech Trends to Watch
Whether it’s chatbot concierges or self-check-in kiosks, hotels are getting smarter
by Ron Donoho | April 02, 2018

Robots. Facial recognition technology. Virtual and augmented reality. There’s a seemingly unending stream of cool tech tools flowing out of research-and-development centers and into all corners of the meeting and hospitality industries. It’s influencing hotel and event check-in processes, adding bells and whistles to guest rooms, and innovating meeting spaces. To borrow from Thomas Dolby, they’re blinding us with science.

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Wow, is it almost May 1? What a fabulous start for 2018, with keynotes in the lsat 4 months at events in Dubai, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Calgary, San Antonio, Austin, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Nashville, Chicago, Albuquerque, and the Town of  the Blue Mountains! (You’ll have to read to the end to understand that last one!)

These have involved association as well as corporate leadership talks that have focused on a vast range of different topics. Everything from disruptive trends, agriculture, transportation, finance, food and consumer behaviour, the energy and utility industries, economic development in the era of acceleration, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, mining and resources,  to the future of self-driving cars, and more! Here’s an overview of the highlights!

World Government Summit, Dubai, UAE

I was invited to speak at this massive global conference, with 3,400 attendees from 60+ countries worldwide. It’s sponsored and opened by the Prime Minster of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and tasked with the issue of examining the future role of government in solving some of the challenges of our time.

It was an absolutely fascinating event; I shared the agenda with other speakers such as Goldie Hawn, Robert deNiro and Forest Whittaker, the head of the International Monetary Fund, the Prime Ministers of France and India, and more!

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