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This fall, I’m headling a major retail event in Las Vegas – Xcelerate 2017! Details are here.


There’s a lot of change underway – and certainly, the Amazon/Whole Foods situation is a wake up call for everyone. I’ve been speaking about the decline and transformation of traditional retail for over 20 years. In the 1990’s, I even wrote a book about e-commerce that was translated into German and Russian, as well as being picked up and distributed by Visa USA to it merchants.

Retailers must scramble to keep up with fast paced change. Maybe that’s why Godiva Chocolates has had me to Europe twice this year for insight on what’s going on.

Here’s the description for my September keynote.

The Disruption and Reinvention of Retail: Aligning to the World of Speed  

It’s hard to discount the speed of change occurring in the world of retail and consumer products. Consider this: E-commerce could be 25% of the retail – grocery and convenience — experience by 2021. Shopper marketing,” which combines location intelligence, mobile technology and in-store display technology for a new form of in-store promotion, continues to move forward. Mobile payment involving Apple Pay and disappearance of the cash-register, providing opportunity and challenge with loyalty, infrastructure and disruption. Then there is Amazon Alexa, AI and shopping bots! Simply talk and products are added to your shopping cart, and delivered within an hour! Let’s not stop — there’s also the rapid installation of “click and collect” infrastructure (i.e. an online purchase, with same day pickup at a retail location). And last but not least, the arrival of active, intelligent packaging and intelligent (“Internet of Things”) products, collapsing product life-cycles, rapid product obsolescence and the implications on inventory and supply chain!

We are going to see more change in the world of retail in the next 5 year than we have seen in the last 100. Savvy brands, retailers, shopping mall and retail infrastructure companies are working to understand these trends, and what they need to do from an innovation perspective to turn them from challenge to opportunity.  Futurist Jim Carroll will help us to understand the tsunami of change sweeping retail.

When the GAP went looking for a trends and innovation expert to speak to a small, intimate group of senior executives, they chose Jim Carroll. He has been the keynote speaker for some of the largest retail conferences in the world, with audiences of up to 7,000 people in Las Vegas, including Consumer Goods Technology Business & Technology Leadership Conference • Subway • Multi-Unit Franchise Conference Las Vegas • Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit • Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit • Retail Value Chain Federation • Yum! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) Global Leadership Conference • Burger King Global Franchise Meeting • VIBE (Very Important Beverage Executives) Summit • Manufacturing Jewelers Suppliers of America • National Home Furnishings Association • Do It Best Corporation • US Department of Defence Commissary Agency • Readers Digest Food & Entertainment Group Branding/Retail Summit • Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association • National Association of Truck Stop Operators • Convenience U annual conference • Point of Purchase Advertising International Association • Chain Drug Store Association of Canada • Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors • Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers


People are getting sick to death of listening to politicians bicker about health care, and want to know where the real opportunities for change and  innovation.

".... data constantly generated by our bodies is monitored and informs better health and healthcare decisions..."

In light of this trend, I’ll find myself in October in New Orleans. I’ll be one of the keynote speakers for the 57th U.S. Annual Employee Benefits Conference. In the audience will be upwards of 5,000 trustees, administrators and professional advisors serving union and public sector benefit plans.

These folks have got some pretty tough issues on their plate, with dramatic challenges impacting state, municipal and federal spending; and certainly a lot of challenges in managing benefit costs into the future while providing the best support to their members.

My keynote will focus on opportunities for innovation through the transition to Healthcare 2020: and by riding the trends that will really influence healthcare through the next decade. I wrote a blog post on the theme some time back.

There has been a huge demand for this topic ; I’ve had many keynotes through the last year, involving situations where folks want to move beyond the health care reform debate, and are seeking insight into the scientific, structural, knowledge, skill set, technology, business models that will really impact health care. Just this month, I was the opening keynote speaker for the International Society of Medical Publications Professionals; last month, the opening keynote for a major seniors care conference.

And what’s been happening with these talks? When I began a recent keynote talk for the Minnesota Hospital Association CEO Summit, I announced that Ie wouldn’t even mention health care reform — and the audience of 300 senior executives cheered! Instead, I told the audience that I would take them on a voyage to the world of healthcare in the year of 2020, and provide them the insight they really need to deal with the challenges and opportunity of the future.

Everyone in a leadership position in the US health care system knows that even with health care reform, the challenges facing the US health care system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about. There is a realization that there is an urgent need to challenge the very philosophies upon which the system is built. They’re seeking insight into the major scientific, technological, consumer and social trends that will, by the year 2020, allow for some very dramatic change in the concept of health care delivery.

Where will we by the year 2020? We will have successfully transitioned the system from one which “fixes people after they’re sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic genomic-based medicine. Treating patients for the conditions we know they are likely to develop, and re-architecting the system around that reality. A system which will provide for virtual care through bio-connectivity, and extension of the hospital into a community-care oriented structure. A consumer driven, retail oriented health care environment for non-critical care treatment that provides significant opportunities for cost reduction. Real time analytics and location-intelligence capabilities which provide for community-wide monitoring of emerging health care challenges. “Just-in-time” knowledge concepts which will help to deal with a profession in which the volume of knowledge doubles every six years. That and much, much more.

The fact is, we are going to witness more change in the world of health care in the next ten years than we have seen in the last 200. There’s plenty of opportunity for innovation!

Here’s the press release for the upcoming keynote:

International Foundation Announces Annual Conference Keynote Speakers
12 April 2011, Targeted News Service

BROOKFIELD, Wis., April 12 — The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans issued the following news release:

The International Foundation announces the following keynote presenters for their upcoming 57th U.S. Annual Employee Benefits Conference to be held October 30 – November 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana:

Lou Holtz–Considered among the greatest motivational speakers in America, Mr. Holtz will share how to overcome seemingly impossible challenges by setting personal goals and striving to achieve them. As one of the most successful college football coaches of all time, he has tested and proven that philosophy.

Jim Carroll–One of the world’s leading futurists, Mr. Carroll will share his thoughts on transformative trends that will define the road ahead in the critical area of health care. He will forecast what paradigms will change as health care is transformed through the next decade, far beyond the impact of health care reform.

Bertice Berry, Ph.D.–Ms. Berry will bring a dynamic close to the conference with her message, “When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” As a best-selling author and college professor, she is a gifted speaker with a comic edge and a comic with a serious message. Attendees will leave with a sense of renewal and commitment to life, family and work.

More than 5,000 trustees, administrators and professional advisors serving multiemployer and public sector benefit plans attend the Annual Employee Benefits Conference each year. Attendees to the event discuss the latest cost-saving ideas, get updates on legislative developments, find creative approaches to new challenges and collaborate with their peers who face similar issues.

The conference features more than 125 sessions ranging in complexity from basic to advance, that cover health and welfare, pension, investments, fiduciary responsibility, communication, administration, technology, public plans, and training and education funds.

Learn more about the Annual Employee Benefits Conference at www.ifebp.org/usannual.

Product lifecyclesThis graph represents the model of product life cycles as taught in business schools for the last, oh, I don’t know, 100 years?

Companies would innovate, and introduce a new product. If it succeeded, they would experience growth. At some point, sales would peak. The product would then tend to become obsolete or overtaken by competitors,  and sales would decline.

What a quaint model. Too bad it bears no resemblance to todays’ reality. Many industries are now finding that product obsolescence now occurs during the growth stage; in the hi-tech industry, the “decline” phase caused by instant obsolescence can even occur during the introduction,

Back in June, I was the opening speaker for the Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit in Ojai, California, and spoke to this trend. At the time, Lenovo had just pulled the plug on a pad-like product, even before it was released, because it was obvious that its’ limited feature set had already made it irrelevant and obsolete in a very fast paced market.

The reality of today’s market is that of instant obsolescence, and if you want to master innovation, you need to think about how your own product life cycle is changing.

Here’s a video take that is worth watching on the trend:

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