China will surpass the US this year in adding new wind energy capacity

Home > Archives

Tagged Asia

The folks at Farm and Dairy Magazine interviewed me on trends to watch in 2018 in the world of agriculture. It’s a good read – you’ll find it below!

On stage in New Orleans, I spoke about the idea of Spock having a medical tri-corder on the farm. It’s not as crazy an idea as you thinK!

As I write this post, I’m down in San Antonio, where I’ve got two events where I’ll speak about the future of agriculture to several hundred dealers for a farm and ag supplier about future trends.

I love talking to farming groups – it’s one of the most innovative industries that I know. Watch this video for the reasons why!

5 agricultural trends to watch in 2018
Farm and Dairy, January 2018

SALEM, Ohio — The top five trends to watch for in 2018 are sure to keep farmers on top of their game.

With an increased number of events causing hysteria, with the rise of “fake news,” an overload of news in general — thanks to the world being at our fingertips — farmers have to work harder to tell their story, said Jim Carroll, futurist.

Continue Reading

A question came in from a potential client last night, and after writing a long answer, I thought it was probably a good idea to blog it and place the answer on my site!

The question was for a potential European event, and really had to do with whether I could work with an a European / international audience, be respectful in my timing, work with the translation team, work with simultaneous transition, and provide enough regional or localized content.

The answer is yes, yes, yes and yes….!

On stage in Sao Paolo for the Worldskills global conference. My audience featured individuals from 85 countries.

My mother tongue is English, and sadly, while I don’t speak any other languages (despite some 10 years of French lessons in elementary and high school!), I regularly speak on an international basis. This involves working with translators. focusing on international content, and working to keep my pace slow enough for the audience to be respectful of their needs.

Here’s the critical background on the international work that I do:

  • global audiences. I do a LOT of international work; I’ve presented in Sao Paolo, Budapest, Munich, Athens, Stuttgart, Prague, London, Paris, Brussels, Ghent, Stockholm, Zurich, Tokyo, Mexico …. and in all of these situations, have ensured that I have slowed my pace to be respectful of the audience.
  • simultaneous translation. Many of these events have featured onsite translation through headsets; the fact is, I regularly do sessions that feature simultaneous translation, and know the criticality of sharing the deck in advance with the translation team
  • advance translation planning. In some cases, I have done a Skype or Google Hangout walkthrough with the translation team of my slide deck, so that they are comfortable with the content and direction
  • a long track record with stage translation. I’m based in Canada and have been on stage for 25 years. Given that, my earlier years featured several hundred (!) events that have involved simultaneous translation (English/French) with headsets/translations. It’s just a thing in Canada!
  • sequential translation experience! My Budapest event actually featured sequential translation into Hungarian as opposed to simultaneous translation. Tthat was kind of fun, since my translator was actually on stage with me, followed me around, and even mimicked my stage actions!

There are many relevant examples of the international work I have done.

  • I just keynoted Nikon’s 100th anniversary dinner in Tokyo, with an audience from 37 countries. I provided my slide deck in advance to the translation team; I was simultaneously translated into Chinese and Japanese.
  • in January, I keynoted the first leadership meeting for Ulker; the parent company is Turkish, and the meeting represented the entities of the corporate group with the leadership team for Godiva Chocolates (Belgium), Ulker Biscuits (Turkey) and McVitie’s Biscuits (UK),  but with individuals from each of those 3 groups from around the world; a secondary booking had me with Godiva’s global supply chain team from 25 countries. Both massively global audiences.
  • Accenture had me speak at their annual energy conference in San Francisco; we had utility executives from China, Japan, Russia, Philippines, India, and 26 other countries. In that case, I was simultaneously translated into Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Japanese!
  • my keynote for the Worldskills conference in Sao Paolo featured simultaneous translation into Portuguese and Spanish.

In addition to speaking internationally, I often do Fortune 500 events that feature a leadership team from around the world. Some recent examples are global leadership meetings for Dow Chemical in Wilmington (2 events) with individuals from 57 countries; Disney (27 countries); and dozens, dozens more. So can I work with an international/European audience? Definitely yes. (Plus, when I mentioned for the Ulker group that I was Canadian, I got cheers. I think that the Canadian brand image is kind of fun right now!)

The other question that often comes up has to do with regional content, as in European specific examples/storylines. Can I customize my content so that it doesn’t include just American examples. (Well, did I mention I’m Canadian?)

It’s not the cover of the Rolling Stone, but I was once featured on the cover of CEO Magazine Hungary. The only speech where I had armed guards in the room with Uzis! But that’s another story for another time!

The answer is yes – I can easily and often do that do that. Many of the client bookings above have involved a necessity where my examples include global, not North American centric examples.I am regularly booked and work with content that is specific to the folks in the room. And so my Godiva Chocolate supply chain event included retail trends from Asia, India, the Middle East. My Dow Chemical talk took a look at global trends with examples for many of the different groups in the room.

The fact is, I do *extensive* research as a part of my talk, and regionalization is part of what I bring to the table if we need to do that with the content.

I work hard to alleviate the concerns of any clients who book me, and this includes translation and internationalization.

So – pick up the phone and call me. Let’s chat!

Last week, I was the opening keynote speaker for a small insurance industry group — and had senior executives of quite a few major property & casualty and life insurance companies in the room.

As always, I undertook an extensive amount of detailed research on the latest status of innovation within the industry. In addition, I looked back on my research and interview notes for previous keynotes for CEOs and other executives for the largest insurance companies in the world.

(Last December, I was the opening keynote for the annual Insurance Executive Conference in New York City; in the room was the CEO for Transamerica Life, among others; this is typical of many talks I’ve done within the industry over the course of 20 years)

"Kicking off Executive Leadership Council meeting with our friends @GAMAIntl  & keynote @jimcarroll in Amelia Island"

@IntellectSEEC – “Kicking off Executive Leadership Council meeting with our friends @GAMAIntl & keynote @jimcarroll in Amelia Island”

Let’s face it: the trends are real. The industry will be disrupted by tech companies. Existing brokerage and distribution networks will be obliterated as more people buy insurance direct. Predictive analytics will shift the industry away from actuarial based historical assessment to real-time coverage. Policy niches, micro-insurance and just-in-time insurance will drive an increasing number of revenue models. The Internet of Things (iOt) and healthcare connectivity will provide for massive market and business model disruption. I could go on for hours!

To gauge the current thinking within the industry as to “how to deal with what comes next,” my session included some hands-on, live interactive text-message polling.

Right out of the bat, I asked the participants if they felt ready for the massive disruption now underway in the insurance sector.

And the fact is, they are not:


Having said that, they know that they are in the midst of some pretty significant change — the majority indicated that they believe that the insurance industry will not look anything in 10 years like it looks today.


The reaction in the room parallels that of a recent Accenture study that I referenced in my keynote:

  • CSO’s at global companies and 94% of CSO’s at insurance companies agree that tech will “rapidly change their industry in 5 years”
  • fewer than 1 in 5 CSOs in insurance believe their companies are prepared
  • fewer than 1 in 10 believe their companies are “high value achievers”

A similar observation was found in a recent PWC study on the insurance industry:

  • “Nine in 10 insurance executives polled by consultant PwC reckon at least part of their business is at risk over the next five years – a greater proportion than in any other area of finance”

Clearly, these executives know that something needs to be done to deal with the potential for business model disruption in the industry. Yet is the industry prepared to deal with it?

Not really:

  • “Fewer than 50 per cent of respondents in the life and general insurance sectors said they would increase IT spending to help them access new customers.” Fintech is booming – but where are 
the insurance tech startups? 
29 September 2015, City AM

Here’s the current problem: there is tremendous potential for complacency to seep into the industry, particularly as Google has pulled back from its’ Google Compare initiative. (This service let people use a Google tool to do comparison shopping for insurance policies from major carriers; the CEO of Google Compare also spoke at the New York event last December).

  • “Google’s initial failure shows technology firms won’t necessarily have “an easy road” to success in the new sector.” Beating Silicon Valley to the Punch; Digitizing Insurance, 11 March 2016

Is the complacency warranted? Not in my view — I think most tech companies, when disrupting an industry and suffer an initial setback, come back in a bigger and more significant way. It’s most likely that when Google, Amazon, Apple and other tech companies  come back in to disrupt insurance, they won’t be working with major carriers to do it!

  • “Expect that when the megatechs enter the insurance space, they will insist on taking control of a much bigger portion of the sales journey, positioning themselves as an alternative end-to-end solution provider, not just a lead generator.” Life Insurance Disruption, Asia Insurance Review, June 2016

Does the insurance industry have the innovation culture necessary to deal with the potential for what comes next? My next poll gave me a pretty stark response — the industry continues to be bound up in some pretty significant organizational sclerosis.


Is there a way out of this mess? Can the industry fix the clear strategic mismatch which exists?

In my keynote,  I suggested that disruption in such a significant issue that it really needs to be dealt with at the level of the Board; strategy needs to be kicked up a notch; clear responses and actions are warranted.

Quite clearly, specific responsibility needs to be put in place to implement a  disruption-strategy. Back to the Accenture report:

  • “Companies that have put in place chief digital officers and chief innovation officers and who report directly to the CEO tend to have a dedicated focus on technology-focused initiatives …. That’s a sign that they and C-level peers are taking technology-disruption seriously.”

Industry insight also clearly shows that insurance companies must “partner-up” to deal with the fact they simply don’t have the technology expertise to compete with Google, Amazon and others.

  • “an overarching theme …. not least among them insurers .. is that they cannot face technology driven innovation by themselves” – “How to disrupt the high-tech disruptors”
National Underwriter & Health
September 2016

Are many insurance companies following the path to partner up? Sadly, no:

  • “Only 28% of the respondents said they explored partnerships with fintech companies and less than 14% actively participated in ventures or incubator programmes.” Insurance Companies Slow in 
Bridging Fintch Gap, Mint, July 2016

I’ve been providing strategic level guidance to senior executives in the global insurance industry for over 20 years.

The issues, challenges and opportunities are stark. They’re real. They’re not going away.

Will most companies survive? Maybe not. Stay tuned!

As a popular keynote speaker with a focus on future trends and innovation, I’m often called upon to deliver a talk that focuses on some very unique or current issues. This post will give you a sense of the types of events that I am being booked into today.

11173324_1139955206031162_1350127962545406975_n There are several key trends that continue to define my business:

  • corporate leadership meetings continue to be a big growth market – I’m often engaged by a CEO or other senior executive for an offsite meeting — on a highly customized topic. There’s more information below on some of the very unique and customized topics that I have taken on as of late.
  • economic uncertainty seems to be growing with the collapse in oil prices, the election, and ongoing questions about global economic growth. That’s a good thing — I’ve got plenty of video and blog posts around the theme of “innovating during uncertain economic times.” It led to strong bookings in 2009-2010, and I’m seeing an uptick for this type of topic again today. Global economic turmoil? Time to innovate! Read more.
  • a topic that is drawing continuing attention has to do with a new book I am working on: “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast“. Many companies continue to be blindsided by the speed of technology change, business model change (think Uber), empowered consumers, new competitors — you name it! This simple phrase resonates with people as a keynote topic: read more!
  • in addition, the topic of the “Internet of Things” ties into the current high velocity change occurring in every industry as Silicon Valley comes to drive the speed d of industry. Industries that have had me in on this topic include the automotive/trucking industry (Volvo / Mack Trucks), packaging/paper (Mondi International out of South Africa), energy and infrastructure (GE Lighting, Lennox, Honeywell, and Trane Ingersoll Rand), among others. Read more.

Customized keynotes

This area continues to be my biggest growth market. I truly believe that clients today are looking for much more than a canned message; they want real insight, deep research, and a highly customized message. I’ve certainly been delivering; here are a few of the unique topics that I have taken on:

  • The Future of Steel” — a keynote for the global leadership meeting of the Finnish company, Konecranes. They build the massive structures used at container ports, shipyards, railroads, oil fields and other industries. They were looking for a keynote that looked at the future of the steel industry, one of their key industry verticals. Watch for an upcoming blog post on the unique research that I undertook
  • Physician Recruitment in the Era of Digital Intimacy” – PracticeMatch is a US company that specializes in the recruitment of doctors/physicians. They were looking for a talk that would take a look at the challenges in recruiting the Millennial medical professional. They didn’t want a canned talk about this unique generation — they wanted real insight. You can read my blog post, which gives you a sense of how deeply I dug into the topic, on this blog post.
  • The Future of Risk in the Era of Big Infrastructure” — this Friday, I’m in Las Vegas with Kiewit, a North American construction company involved in massive oil, energy, highway and other infrastructure projects. More specifically, I’m with their legal team — 50 executives responsible for managing risk throughout the business. My keynote takes a look at new forms of emerging risk, given trends unfolding globally. It’s a very unique and customized topic combining future trends and legal risk — I’ll be blogging about this next week
  • The Future of Energy Infrastructure” — the topic for which GE Lighting, Lennox, Honeywell, and Trane Ingersoll Rand engaged me. This is a good example of very specific customization to an industry of the broader “Internet of Things” topic. You can read a blog post and watch video from the GE event, held in NYC, on the blog post “5 Things to Know About the Connected Future
  • The Future of Intelligent Packaging” — Mondi, a South African based organization, brought me to Prague to open their global leadership meeting. They are deep into the packaging industry in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and wanted a talk that would help their team understand the opportunities that would unfold as packaging materials become intelligent, connected, and interactive. You won’t look at a box of Wheaties the same after you’ve thought about this topic! An Atlanta based company, Neenah Paper and Packaging, was also looking for a similar topic — which is a good example of the fact that almost every industry is being reinvented by an era of “hyperconnectivity.” There’s more here.
  • The Future of Sports and Fitness” – I admit it was a thrill to open the CEO leadership meeting for the Sporting and Fitness Industry Association — and to be followed on stage by Roger Goodell, Commission of the NFL. (I didn’t bring up Tom Brady). This booking relates to the ongoing theme of the future of health, wellness and fitness, and “Healthcare 2020” :
  • Autonomous Vehicle Technology, Self Driving Cars and Intelligent Highways” — both the Colorado Department of Transportation and Volvo have had me in to look at this extremely hot topic. You couldn’t have failed to notice stories in the news that both Google and Apple are developing self-driving vehicles. There is a seismic change underway in this massive industry, and I’ve got some great background with keynotes for major players as it unfolds. Automotive World, one of the leading global publications in the auto industry, covered my thoughts on this topic in the article, Is the Auto Industry Ready for the World of 2030. Read more.

These are just a few examples of some of the unique topics I’ve been taking on. Remember — clients are looking for real, deep, specific, customized and tailored insight.

Feel free to contact me if you want to explore some ideas!

It was a bit of a whirlwind the last two weeks, with keynotes in Anaheim (medical device industry), Phonenix (top farming producers) and two in Orlando (the first being for Ameriquest; more on that to come.

The other event I opened in Orlando was for the 2013 Innovation Takes Root conference with  Natureworks; they’re the manufacturer of plant-based Ingeo biopolymer (polylactic acid) product, most often used in food packaging. (You’ll remember the infamous “noisy” Sun Chips bag launch a few years ago; that was their product. They age since fixed the sound issues.


“….packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging)…..”

There’s a bit of coverage of my talk on the Pack Web Asia Web site which my news filter picked up, so I’ll run. You can read the full article here.

Innovation Takes Root 2014: NatureWorks Conference – Day One

USA – Orlando, Fla, The Innovation Takes Root conference, organized by NatureWorks, brings together Ingeo users from across the product’s different global vertical market segments to share the innovative solutions being created using the PLA (polylactic acid) biopolymer, reports Trina Tan.

In the spirit of the conference theme, the program kicked off with a keynote presentation by Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends and innovations guru, who challenged the audience to reconsider their attitude towards innovation, and their willingness to adapt to change in our economic, social and environmental global ecosystem.

One of the interesting points raised by Carroll was about how packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging), which in turn makes it even more vital for brand owners to make use of the Package to market themselves, and push the packaging supply chain to innovate.

Bearing in mind the constant shifts in the market, Carroll said, “We need to learn to look at the market trends, and see the opportunities that lie behind them.”

So I was on the phone today with the CEO of a major global organization headquartered in Canada. I’ll be opening a leadership meeting for the company in early 2013, and this was a call to begin planning for the structure of my talk.

During the call, comments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada about the US economic relationship came up. Clearly, this is a country that is seeing it’s share of challenge due to fast-paced challenges in it’s “special relationship” with the US.

I mentioned to the CEO that  as far back as 2009, I was already predicting that Canada would likely have challenges in selling it’s oil in the future into the US market. And many other challenges! And that it would have to re-orient its economy further away from the US and take on much more of a global view!

This was plainly evident to me back then — and look where things are today. What are serious people and politicians and everyday folk in Canada suddenly talking about that no one really took seriously just a year ago?“…a Pacific energy pipeline….”  “…. aligning more natural resources and commodities with long term Asian contracts….”    “…… a serious free trade relationship with Europe that goes beyond NAFTA.”

With that in mind, I just dug out an old post I wrote way back in 2009 that was written as a bit of a joke at the time — surmising that Canada would see many reasons to reorient it’s global economy in the future. It’s a press release written very much tongue-in-cheek. It was briefly posted to my blog. (I removed it after a short time, since I thought that many people might find it offensive. But back then, it was covered in and a few other breaking-Canadian-news blogs….)

I now find it remarkably prescient, though some of it is still very clearly written for fun. For example, the border wall!

Canada announces end of economic relationship with US, & a bold new strategy to 2020

Ottawa, May 14, 2009

The country of Canada today announced the end of its centuries long relationship with the United States, and a bold new seven-point “Canada Transformed!” strategy that will re-orient its economic, cultural, societal values and innovation engine towards the world economy of 2020.

“It has come to the point that we can no longer rely on the United States as a reliable economic partner,” stated Canada at a news conference. “It is time that we adopt a bold new strategy that will align our economy away from the US, and towards the growth economies of the 21st century in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As well, we will immediately begin working to enhance our long standing relationships with reliable partner nations in Europe.”

The massive scope of the plan was not lost on Canada in the emotional conference. “We aim to reduce our role of being the largest trading partner with the United States, to becoming a marginal partner at best. We believe that this is the only right way forward.”

Bold new thinking is required Canada spoke bluntly at the news conference of the need for bold new thinking. “Our relationship with the US is one that has become, through no fault of our own, increasingly abusive. We’re honest, faithful, and do our part to provide to the relationship. We have been the largest trading partner to the United States for over a century. And yet, in return, we find ourselves taking on an increasing amount of abuse, neglect, and ever more hostile actions. We’re sad that it must come to an end, but we believe that it is time.”

Canada cited a long list of complaints and grievances, ranging from ongoing trade disputes, “downright hostile treatment” of Canadian citizens by US border guards, and increasingly aggressive use of a “Buy America” policy by state and local governments in the US — despite a promise in Ottawa by President Barak Obama that he did not believe protectionism was the right way forward.

Canada Transformed!

At the press conference, Canada announced a significant 10 year, 7 point plan, branded “Canada Transformed!”, that will re-orient it’s economy away from the United States to the AEA (Asia, Europe and Africa) markets, by the 2020, with a number of key goals:

  •  Energy & oil: Canada will invest in a massive infrastructure project that will allow it to deliver the bulk of it’s significant energy/oil resources to Asia, Europe and Africa within 5-7 years. The infrastructure project will consist of a number of significant pipeline projects that will direct Canadian oil, natural gas and other energy sources to east and west coast ports, as well as shipping and marine infrastructure, that will provide for a “ocean railway of energy” destined to the AEA countries.”Today, Canada is the largest supplier of energy to the United States. By 2020, Canada aims to provide almost no energy to the US,” noted Canada at the news conference. “We wish them well in their efforts to solve their energy crisis. We do not intend to help them any further.”
  • Food & agriculture: Global food production must double to meet world population growth, and Canadian grain, beef, pork and other producers will work to achieve an AEA target market of 90% by 2020. “Quite simply, the rest of the world beyond the US needs a stable, reliable food supplier, and Canada intends to become the leading global brand in that regard.”
  • Resources: Canada will seek investment from major Asian and mid-East sovereign wealth funds in an ambitious effort to re-orient the target markets for at least 80% of Canadian mineral commodities to AEA nations by 2015.”Quite simply, Canada has the natural resources — iron, nickel, copper, uranium and just every other type of metal — that the newly industrialized world in Asia needs. As we witness a continued declined in US economic power, particularly in the manufacturing sector, we must ensure that we pursue growth opportunities elsewhere in the world. As China re-industrializes with the economic recovery, we intend to be their partner of choice.
  • Manufacturing: Since the advent of the US-Canada free-trade agreement in 1994, Canada has shared in one of the modern world’s greatest economic successes — the highly integrated Canadian-US manufacturing network supply chain. However, the collapse of the US manufacturing sector, as well as continuous suffocation of the border flow of goods, it is clear that Canada must re-orient itself to the new realities of the 21st century.”A nation does not move forward suffering from the ongoing implementation of economic choke points,” noted Canada. “We will re-align ourselves to economies that believe the way forward is through intelligent, smart-border policies that encourage the free flow of goods and people; not a nation that has a border policy that is driven by  politics. We will immediately provide strong incentives for Canadian manufacturers to re-focus on Canadian markets, as well as the establishment of significant new markets in AEA countries. There are over 2 billion people in these markets, and but 280 million in the US.””Clearly, our future lies outside of North America, and we will align our manufacturing sector to this reality.
  • Immigration-based knowledge factories: Canada is the envy of other nations throughout the world for its’ open, welcoming culture towards new immigrants. It plans to build on this reputation by establishing itself as the world’s dominant source for high-level, specialized knowledge expertise in almost every single professional field.”We believe that we are entering the second era of off-shoring,” noted Canada, “with the next wave going far beyond customer support call centers. Nations around the world will need access to high level talent in the fields of medicine and health care, scientific research, agricultural and architectural skills, legal and professional services — and will seek to access that knowledge through the global communications networks that will dominate the economy of the 21st century” said Canada. “We will welcome global knowledge experts in every field of human endeavor to relocate to Canada, enjoy all the attributes that our nation has to offer, and provide their skills to a massive offshore groups of clients in AEA nations. In doing so, we will establish Canada as the global hub for the knowledge economy of the 21st century. Quite simply, Brand Canada will become the most widely recognized phase when it comes to the need for access to knowledge.”
  • Immediate border construction: Finally, Canada announced that it would immediately begin construction of border that would prevent unauthorized entry into Canada by US citizens. “We will immediately begin planning construction of a 4,500 mile physical border along our common frontier with the US,” noted Canada. “We increasingly view the US health care system to be in peril — within a decade, some US states will be devoting more than 60% of their GDP to health care. Clearly, many US citizens will plan to flee to Canada to take advantage of our world-class universal health care system. We must prevent this mass migration of Americans into Canada, and believe that significantly enhanced border structures are the only means of doing so.”

At the close of the news conference, Canada stated that it was taking these actions with reluctance, but with conviction that it was the right thing to do.

Nations have always achieved continued economic success by making bold leaps. We believe, given the continuing deterioration in our relationship with the US, and the ongoing and continued lack of respect that they provide to us, that it is time to move on.

Canada is the most resource rich, tolerant, energy abundant, agriculturally advanced, second largest country in the world, with a massive base of skills, energy, commodities, food, and capabilities. We intend to assert our place in the economy of the 21st century with a sense of pride, purpose, and clear direction,” said Canada at the conclusion of the press conference.

Besides that, we’re just plain nice,” said Canada, blushing, in a closing comment.

We are excited about our future, and believe that we have made the right decision at the right time for the right purpose. Canada Transformed! will see our nation emerge as one of the leading economies on the world stage by 2020, and we embark on this voyage with a sense of courage, enthusiasm, and certainty as to its’ impact.”

The United States was not immediately available for comment.

Two years ago, I was the opening keynote speaker for the 14th Annual Portfolio Management for New Products & Services Conference in Fort Lauderdale, an event sponsored by the Product Development and Management Association.

In the blog entry I wrote at the time (The Hollowing Out of Big Corporate R&D), I noted that “I spoke to the broad theme of  ‘innovating faster,’ but also challenged the crowd to think about how the “source of innovative ideas” has changed.”

It was a pretty interesting conference — it was right after the financial crisis of 2008, and there were quite a few folks in the room — long time R&D professionals — who had just been let go. Others were seeing their budgets cutback; many more were in a state of absolute shock and uncertainty as the economy was still contracting. It seemed as if the entire room was in a state of shock. I spent a good part of my time working to help them understand there were deep, transformative changes occuring in how “big” R&D was conducted, and if they were to survive, they would have to adapt to these realities. Those point are covered in the blog post.

While undertaking some research in the last few weeks for upcoming keynotes, I’ve come across a few interesting articles that have an R&D spin, and which can help to put into perspective the many ways in which R&D is evolving:

Two sides to nanotechnology – huge opportunities, but all offshore?

From the article Nanontechnology: We can rebuild matter atom by atom, The Observer, 2 January 2011

  • New ways of making solar cells very cheaply on a very large scale offer us the best hope we have for providing low-carbon energy on a big enough scale to satisfy the needs of a growing world population aspiring to the prosperity we’re used to in the developed world.”
  • “Given the huge resources being directed towards nanotechnology in China and its neighbours, this may also be the first major technology of the modern era that is predominantly developed outside the US and Europe.”

Nanotechnology is clearly going to change our world and is probably the hottest area in R&D right now (aside from genomics). And yet, many of the solutions that emerge might not emerge within traditional first-world countries!

America universities continue to lead in patents over India

The title of the article says it all, but read the details (“Less than 1% of India’s GDP goes into scientific R&D, 19 December 2010, The Economic Times”)

  • Every year, American universities obtain an average of 4,000 patents, whereas Indian institutions fail to get past even the 100 mark

Why is this so? Because the R&D communityn in India is so small! Consider this quote from the same article:

  • “TC James, a former official of the department of industrial policy & promotion in the Union Industries ministry. James says that the “cutting-edge” researches in our country are restricted largely to IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. “But these institutions cater to merely one percent of our student population.”

Clearly, the momentum must be on the Indian side, would it not, as more of the population modernizes and gets involved in R&D activities?

R&D Momentum in China continues

An interesting article , “China’s hi-tech industrial zones take lead in industrial innovation, 3 January 2011, Xinhua’s China Economic Information Service

  • China’s 56 leading hi-tech industrial zones have led the country’s industrial innovation, playing an important role in the nation’s social and economic development, a government statement said Saturday. The statement came from the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Torch High Technology Industrial Development Center.”
  • “The statement summarized the achievements of the 56 state-level hi-tech industrial zones, which are home to over 50 percent of China’s hi-tech firms and provide employment to over 8 million people. With over 700 research centers and laboratories, research and development expenditure was more than one-third of the national R&D budgets at the zones.”

The kicker?

  • Some 16,020 patents were granted to zone-based firms, accounting for nearly 50 percent of all patents registered to enterprises in 2009.”

Another kicker:

  • Half a tonne of standard coal energy-equivalent was consumed for every 10,000 yuan of GDP output in the zones, less than half the national level. Numbers for land-use efficiency, investment density and input-output ratios were also high in the zones.”

So the trends at work here? Clearly China has a lot of room to grow with pure R&D, just as with India. And not only that, there’s not just pure R&D innovation, but also innovation in other critical areas involving energy and community.

The trend of taking on an even bigger role in pure R&D is confirmed by the Monitor group (China entices scientists to return, 18 November 2010, The Wall Street Journal Asia)

  • “After eight years working in the U.S. at the National Institutes of Health, a major federal research center, cell biologist Li Yu decided in 2008 it was time to return to his native China and became a professor here at Tsinghua University.
  • Dr. Yu is one of some 80,000 Western-trained Chinese scientists who have returned to China to work in academia or industry since the mid-1980s. In a report published Wednesday, the Monitor Group, a consultancy, predicts the return will accelerate over the next decade, and says the trend, coupled with an outpouring of investment by the Chinese government and private industry, will help China become a leader in research discovery in the pharmaceutical and health-care industry by 2020.
  • China is already the third-largest pharmaceutical market and is expected to grow by 25% to more than $50 billion in sales in 2011, according to drug-industry tracker IMS Health. But until recently, the West was the source of innovation in the industry.
  • I think the big call to arms . . . is that the world is going to change, and China is going to be on many levels the leader, including life science innovation,” says George Baeder, head of Monitor Group’s life sciences practice in Asia and an author of the report.

But new business models will quickly change R&D

But don’t write off the industrialized world, yet, though, since the essence of the business model for R&D is quickly changing. Everyone has heard of Kickstart, right? If you haven’t, you’d better check it out.

  • “One year in, Kickstarter has already raised between $15 million and $20 million for projects, according to Chen. The recipients range from the prosaic (start-up costs to product a camera mount for iPhones) to the semiabsurd (funding a life-sized “Mouse Trap” game on a tour across the United States).” Creative idea? Kickstarter connects artists with online funding, 15 December 2010, The Christian Science Monitor

I recently participated in the funding of the TikTok watch kit ; the initiative raised almost $1 million in an extremely short period of time. Global cooperative R&D conduits could be a big thing into the future….

GE continues to invest heavily in innovation – maybe others will follow

Even as new business models are pursued, some research power-houses are renewing their focus on real R&D to generate profit, rather than through the manipulation of funny money. Here’s an article that talks about the role of GE’s Global Research center in Niskayuna, New York (from GE relies on its ‘geeks’ to drive innovate and generate profits, 13 December 2010, Daily Telegraph)

  • “The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression increased the stakes for a centre that, though it has changed location once since it began life in 1900, was America’s first and remains its biggest industrial research laboratory. During the recent boom, GE Capital, the company’s financial division, gorged itself on consumer lending and real-estate assets, taking centre stage in a company whose early years were built around the guiding light of Thomas Edison.”
  • “GE wants the division, whose woes cost GE its AAA rating, eventually to account for just 30pc of revenue. “The one piece of good news from the downturn for GE is that it was a bit of shock treatment,” said Shannon O’Callaghan, an analyst at Nomura. “It allowed them to reset.” If the crisis helped give GE a renewed focus on high-quality innovation and product development, experts say that has useful echoes for the whole of America.

What’s encouraging is the broad base of research that is being conducted

  • “Deng’s and Gerdes’s are a snapshot of the dizzying range of research pursued. There’s a team working on software designed to allow pilots to land using 10pc less fuel; a few corridors away there’s a lab dedicated to the development of so-called “smart” appliances that consumers can programme to come on only when energy is at its cheapest.”

Maybe other global powerhouses will get back to a commitment to pure innovation.

Accelerating innovation

And maybe it’s not just new business models and a refocusing on pure innovation that will “bring innovation back,” but a recognition that it needs to be done faster. In the article Hiring seen in NASA hookup Partnership could bring thousands of jobs to Colorado, 14 December 2010, Denver Post, it is noted that a joint project between NASA and the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology:

  • This program seeks to engage Coloradans to work together to accelerate bringing new technologies to market in 18 months rather than the current norm of five or more years and to create 10,000 new jobs in the next five years,’ said Elaine Thorndike, chief executive of the manufacturing association.”

Agility, flexibility, and a change to how things are done – that’s innovation, and so there is innovation occurring with the process of innovation.

Clearly there continues to be a lot of rapid change and upheaval in the world of R&D that is having a big impact in the innovation engines of organizations around the world. Keep on top of this rapid change and learn from it in order to stay ahead!

Leading in turbulent times! That’s a topic you need to focus on in the high velocity economy – particularly as volatility rages around you. And leading means focusing on growth: pursuing opportunities that will materialize over the longer term, rather than just managing short term trends.

That’s the focus of my “Where’s the Growth” document, which you can grab here. It provides a quick, concise overview of some of the many opportunities that are emerging in the the future.

Over the next 10 years, there are several certainties:

  • scientific discovery will continue to advance at an ever increasing pace, opening new markets, evolving existing markets, and establishing countless new opportunities
  • global collaborative knowledge communities will continue to lead to faster innovation in every industry and market
  • new products, methodologies, skills, ideas, organizational structures will continue to evolve at a fast pace;
  • agile organizations will continue to come out on top
  • the transition of economies in the Mid-East and Asia will continue despite regional economic challenges, and in the larger context,provide vast new opportunities for growth
  • rapidly aging economies in North America and Europe will drive rapid spending in certain sectors, particularly on healthcare and lifestyle relocation
  • innovation and knowledge discovery in the world of health care will drive new billion-dollar markets several times over, and then some
  • global energy consciousness will continue to lead to ever more rapid evolution of “green” solutions
  • 1/2 of the global population is under the age of 25. They’re change aggressive, and will continue to lead to the rapid adoption of new ideas
  • growth in specific markets often bear a simple reality which define them as a growth market: in agriculture, global food production still has to double in the next 25 years to keep up with population trends.

There’s a lot of growth out there: it’s simply a matter of looking around.


You can read the original blog post Hyperconnectivity? Innovation at Nortel? Invent what’s already invented! about the origin of the word hyperconnectivity, which led to this post)

And also, one astute blog reader and researcher asked, and I responded. Yes, it is true: Nortel did provide copies of one of my books to shareholders in attendance at their annual meeting in Ottawa, May 2000, and asked my co-author and I to attend. They even had a little table for us. The book was Light Bulbs to Yottabits: How to Profit by Understanding the Internet of tbe Future. It’s out of print now, but had some fascinating stuff on connectivity and such. It makes for fascinating reading in retrospect. And yes, I also hosted a national radio show for Nortel during 2000 to 2001 ….. so it’s not like these guys don’t know me…..

To recap:

Globe and Mail, May 11/07 : “The company is making the pitch that it’s the only major communications equipment player that has the products and knowledge required in key areas such as broadband, wireless, and applications products in both corporate and carrier markets. That has left Nortel the clear front-runner, the company says, to take advantage of an emerging technological era that it is now describing as “hyperconnectivity.”

The phrase, which Mr. Roese (CTO for Nortel) says he coined, attempts to describe a state of perpetual Internet access where personal and corporate telecom machines and gadgets are in constant high-level contact.

In any event, here you go. There’s lots more out there.

New Media
The time is now-swim and swim fast:
16 February 1998

It’s poised to change the public network, and there’s no way to escape its path. As Internet telephony comes of age, a number of quality, pricing and regulation issues are surfacing

etc etc

But this is an age of hyperconnectivity, where any number of terminal devices can use a variety of wireline or wireless access forms to carry their voice, data or multimedia traffic to any terminal device on the globe. The Internet is the newest option available for backbone transport, and anyone in the business of carrying messages for hire must figure out how this potentially powerful means of transport affects their business.


Trends to track for the millennium
1 October 1999
Target Marketing


AS THE MILLENNIUM approaches, businesses should take note of various trends which will influence both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing. Some of these trends have been developing over the past few years, while others are just beginning to emerge.

etc etc

“Hyperconnectivity” will also promote greater mobility (i.e., wireless offices using microwave or infrared transmitters; satellite links connecting mobile sales, delivery and technical personnel to the home office). Through digitalization, wireless and fiber optics will replace copper wiring as the primary landbased telecommunications infrastructure. This, in turn, will fuel the broader application of multimedia technology in various marketing and business presentations.


E-Query With PWC – Navigating the future.
16 July 2001
The Edge


I have heard so much about the “mobile Internet”. What is it exactly? How will it impact my business as well as my personal life?

– Old Economy player


The mobile Internet or the wireless web is the use of wireless communications to access network-based information and applications from mobile devices.

etc etc

Joining the dots – Hyperconnectivity

The above features, although compelling on their own, must be successfully integrated with each other to create the killer application. “Hyperconnectivity” between these features will become crucial, as the killer application must be able to seamlessly link previously unrelated events and make this information relevant to the user.


13 August 2001
Infotech Weekly

In the aftermath of the tech market crash, an IT expert is warning that businesses now risk over-correcting. RICHARD PAMATATAU reports

Fred Balboni, the Asia-Pacific leader of information technology and systems for global consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, says investors, companies and individuals behaved without thinking during that period.

etc etc

I call it hyperconnectivity as well, but there are privacy issues because if people are always online, then they can always be reached,” he says.

People will use the Internet more and more for mundane transactions, Mr Balboni says, from buying “loo paper” to updating their driver’s licence.

Loo paper? We seem to be knee deep with this!

Send this to a friend