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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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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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A good friend just posted on LinkedIn that he thinks “big data” is a hoax.

Let’s start with my golf game. As I describe on stage, I get really good real time data on how bad my golf game is!

The pace and reality of big data depends on the industry, the company, and so much more. Precision farming? It’s very real.  Retail? Amazon has it! Other industries? Maybe not so much. It depends on the industry and so much more.

Big data is one of those things that is at different locations along the Gartner Hypecycle depending on a lot of different factors.

Fore!

Just-in-time knowledge. The acceleration of knowledge. Faster emergence of new issues. Skills specialization.

Over 25 years, I have spoken to dozens of professional services firms, including the largest global law and accounting firms. I recently filmed a pre-event video for a global law firm for whom I’m speaking – and cut this generic version from what we did. It’s a good watch for insight on what comes next!

The future happens slowly, and then, all at once!” – Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor at Wired magazine.

That, in a nutshell, was the modern day leadership dilemma that I presented to the CEO and senior team of a major company in the US financial services industry, at their corporate meeting last Monday in Dallas. Before I met with them, I put together my early morning “motivational quote of the day” and came up with this observation.

(Learn more about these daily quotes here – and take part by following me on various social networks!)

I put the quote together that morning based on my slide deck for the day: I was covering the key trends which would impact the world of insurance, banking, wealth management, investment advisory services and more going forward. And here was the big issue I was challenging them with that was the sub context of my talk – when it comes to the future, the big challenge is not necessarily knowing what the trends are — it’s increasingly, ‘when are they going to happen?’

We might have any number of trends which will impact financial services going forward – artificial intelligence, blockchain, disintermediation, robo-advisors, the acceleration of expectations, the emergence of new competitors, social-network driven wealth management and more. Yet, when might any of these trends become real and have a significant, disruptive impact? That can be a bigger issue than the trends themselves!

Consider one of the most overwhelming and challenging trends in the industry — will direct broker relationships survive in a world in which consumers are doing more and more online? It’s a trend known as “disintermediation,” and I’ve been speaking about it on stage for close to 25 years. Read my post from 10 years ago about the potential for change in the wealth management industry, when I did a talk for the National Australia Bank!

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It was pretty ironic to be doing a talk a month ago on the future of manufacturing – at the Trump Doral Resort in Miami nonetheless – at the same time that trade barriers were being put in place to try to take an industry back to where it was in the 1950’s.

What I’ve learned from 25 years on the stage is that some people will blame everyone else but themselves for their lack of success. And when failure comes, it is the fault of everyone else! The quote captures the essence of their mindset.

We live in interesting times, where some believe that with a wave of a magic wand, an entire industry can be transformed overnight and returned to its former glory.

It won’t happen like that, folks.

It will happen through constant innovation, big bold moves, skill set reinvention and challenging thinking that will – and already is — providing for significant transformation. The future of manufacturing is all about adapting to collapsing product lifecycle and reinventing products faster The connectivity and intelligence that comes to products through the Internet of things (IoT) connectivity Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Rapid prototyping and deployment. Faster time to market. 3D printing or additive manufacturing.

My talk last month might have worked for some folks, and if I saved them from their thinking, I will have succeeded.

But I know that there were likely others in the room who would not have liked my message – they are on the train of thought that by trying to stop the future, you can return to the past.

In other words – they are likely doomed to fail in the future, because they will make little effort to actually get there!

 

I’ve been booked by the folks at Eye Recommend to close two conferences in Edmonton and Niagara Falls, Canada, next month and this fall. I will be speaking to several hundred optometrists and their staff/vision care specialists on trends related to he future of their industry. This follows a highly successful similar talk for Nikon Optical in Tokyo.

I filmed this little video overview of the big trends impacting the profession and industry going forward.

There’s lots going on! Enjoy watching!

 

 

Siemens has booked me to headline a major energy conference in Houston in May.

So I did a little video about what to expect. Give it a watch. We are going to see more change to the global utility/energy industry in the next 5 years, than we have seen in the next 100!

So, I had a potential client ask, “do you have any really futuristic video clips that don’t involve some of the trends of today?”

I’m not quite sure what the question actually means – interpreting what a client is looking for is sometimes a great mystery, which is why I always suggest that they jump on an exploratory conference call with me.

But if a client wants freaky futuristic stuff, I’ve got that too. Here’s a clip, where I’m on stage at the World Government Summit, talking about a future in which we might enhance the ability and capacity of our brains through Human-Computer Interface technology and off-brain storage, through what I would call a Yottabit ball. Sort of the type of stuff we might see in 2030 or further out.

The fact is, we will witness the next evolution of the size of the human brain with this type of thinking. Like, wires that go from our brain into a crystal ball that will help us to offload some of our thinking and brain processing. Current trends with HCI might lead us to this type of future.

But I don’t do a lot of this type of thing on stage. I really find that freaky doesn’t work in getting people to align themselves to the future.

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