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While I often speak to audiences of 500 to 7,000, including large scale Las Vegas events, I also spend a *lot* of time with CEO’s and other senior management teams in small, leadership oriented events, providing a key message on the necessity for innovation in the high velocity economy.

In fact, it’s long been one of the fastest growing areas of my business: my clients include events for companies seen in the list below!

These are highly customized events : by way of example, I’ve gone in and done a talk for Whirlpool/Maytag on the future of home appliances in the era of IoT (Internet of Things); Disney on the future of consumer behaviour; the BBC on the future of broadcasting; and New York Life on the future of insurance in the era of business model disruption.

There are well over 100’s more with very customized industry talks.

Recently I’ve been filming some videos in advance of these corporate offsite events; these are distributed to attendees in advance to get their creative juices flowing! Here are 3 recent ones.

Great companies establish a culture of high velocity leadership, so they are prepared for the rapid economic, market and industry change that surrounds them.  In that vein, I’m often retained by the CEO or other senior management representatives in order to provide a presentation that will help to shape the strategic direction of the organization.

In a nutshell, these talks cover very specific industry trends, challenges and opportunities, based on highly original research, and can often include an interactive discussion that addresses a variety of issues, including:

  • establishing forward-oriented leadership skills
  • shifting your culture from fearing threat to capitalizing on opportunity
  • promoting innovation, flexibility and adaptability
  • establishing an innovation culture based on creativity, curiosity, courage, collaboration and change-awareness
  • encouraging a certainty culture in the presence of rapid change.


Want to learn more? Inquire into Jim’s Availability

Send some details, and he will get back to you in person as quickly as possible!

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!

“Disintermediation” is the potential for individuals to bypass a relationship with a financial professional – such as a wealth management or investment advisor — by doing things on their own utilizing the Internet. It’s the idea that people will buy insurance directly, and thereby bypass any sort of relationship with an insurance broker. or, that they won’t use a wealth management advisor, because they believe they will be able to make better decision on their own – and thereby, cut out a commission-oriented relationship.

We’ve talked about disintermediation in the industry for a long time, and while it has happened to a degree, there are still many large firms that still have in place a business model that involves a broker network. Will it ever change that model? And if so, when? And how do we continue to deal with that potential reality?

That was part of the focus of my talk in Dallas. The trends in the wealth management, insurance and financial services industry are stark. In a nutshell:

  • how people search for financial services is changing
  • loyalty is declining
  • geography is collapsing
  • competition is increasing
  • relationship building is not always done in person
  • attention spans are collapsing, and with that, the foundation of interaction
  • Moore’s law continues to accelerate the structural change within the industry

In my keynote, I covered these and many more future trends, in order to outline the fact that in 10 years time, the very nature of the industry, and the business model in place, might no longer look the same. I ran a few online, interactive text message polls with my audience, as I do in all of my talks, and the senior executives in the room certainly agreed with me. This is what they responded with:

From that point, my talk took at a look at innovation opportunities to ensure that the broker, advisor, and others would play a powerful role into the future despite the potential for business model change. And the fact is, there is a lot of potential here, but it involves keeping up to date with the high-velocity expectations of today’s financial consumer.

They are influenced with wealth management decisions through the social networks in which they participative – Reddit is their Bloomberg!

How so? One of the most powerful methods is to align to the significant behavioural change introduced by the next generation client – today’s 20 to 25 year old financial consumer. They live in a different world – it’s all mobile, instant, interactive, and fast. They expect to able to get approval for a mortgage or car loan online in 45 seconds or less. They want instant, up to date summaries of their financial position through their iPhone. They are influenced with wealth management decisions through the social networks in which they participative – Reddit is their Bloomberg!

But its’ not just innovating with this new client demographic  – it also involves innovating with your own broker channel as well. Those of that age group who work within the financial services industry are fundamentally different too, in that they live in the same instant, short attention span, fast moving world. They expect to be able to do things fast, find clients fast, support those clients fast – and generally, adopt new ideas faster!

I’m getting a lot of hands on experience e with this new generation, in that my 23 year old son now works for a wealth management firm, similar to the one that I did my talk for in Dallas. He is busy building a career in the industry, at the same time that the industry is in the midst of massive potential upheaval. Will he be disintermediated? If the company that he works for does the right things, I don’t think so!

To that end, I spoke to my client last week about the reaction of the individual who hired him. She’s been in the industry for 35+ years, and has built a very successful wealth management firm. I understand that she was at a conference, and was speaking about some of the unique things she was doing to reach out to today’s new type of client.

Her response? “I hired a 23 year old!”

Brilliant! And that’s one of the key innovation success factors going forward – you can innovate in the context of a fast moving industry, by ensuring that you align yourself to todays’ fast moving client and employee. Generational innovation – understand it, and take advantage of it.

That’s one many trends I covered in my talk in Dallas last week. The future can often happen slowly – but can quickly happen all at once, particularly with the next generation!

 

 

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.

But for the fun of it – here’s the trend at play. Every step along the way in human evolution, we’ve seen a big increase in brain capacity. The arrival of tools, and then weapons, saw big increases in cranial capacity. The arrival of the Internet, global connectivity and more, is leading to the next wave in the size of our brains. HCI leads us there – the next wave of cranial capacity increase will come from an extension our human mind to a light based cube. The math and science supports it. We can take the trend there.

But I often wonder – how are such stories helpful? Sure, there are some futurists who do really freaky talks about freaky trends and where we might be 50 years from now. Yet I often find that type of keynote is a little bit like Chinese food: people get excited, have some fun, but sort of forget about the context in an hour and are hungry for more.

I tend to put into perspective trends on a 5 or 10 year timeline, some of which surround us now, and which will have profound impacts on our business models, industries, skills. 25 years on stage has taught me that is what resonates. such as found in my 2018 outlook videos.

And so, as always, when I am mystified in trying to figure out what a potential client actually wants, I encourage them to pick the phone and call me.

I’ll actually answer the phone.

The National Fire Protection Association has booked me to headline their annual conference in Las Vegas this June.

As with every organization, they know that effective event marketing is a key to their success: and that they need to work harder to build attendance and interest in their events. To that end, I’ve been working relentlessly on some extremely customized, short videos that can be shared in advance of the event. Take a look at some of them here.

For this particular event, I pulled together 3 distinct video clips with my producer. Have a watch – they focus on future fire risk, accelerated infrastructure risk, virtual reality and more.

 
You can also watch the full, long version. We need to change things up a bit – long versions for the Web, shorter versions for social media!

Want to take your event to the next level? Work with a speaker who actually cares about your event and your own message – not theirs!

Despite the fact that I’m a futurist with a relentless focus on innovative thinking, I’m probably as guilty as the next person in making quick  judgement on people and companies – particularly with respect to the scope of what they do today compared to yesterday.

So it was when I saw that a company named Lewis Tree Services wrote a blog post about my recent keynote for the annual National Rural Electrical Cooperative Technology Show in Nashville. Read their post here; you’ll also find it below.

Hmm, I thought – what is a tree company doing at an energy conference, and why would they blog about my keynote with an observation on the future of that industry? After all, what do these people do – trim and cut trees?

Click to continue reading

In my keynote, I did speak about the emergence of new careers – including, location intelligence professionals! Watch it here:

That’s the type of limited thinking that I often accuse my clients of falling prey to! All too often, we miss the signs of significant change in an industry, unless we actually spend some time to work in that industry. Such it is with the cutting and clearing of trees….. who would have thought! Well, I should have!

I began reading the post (which does a great job in summarizing my talk!), and then started browsing their Web site. Tree cutting? It’s  no longer what it was. It’s bound up in spatial intelligence – location is everything. This organization provides utility, i.e. power companies, i.e. those at the conference, with intelligent mapping services that can provide for better overall municipal risk management among other things.  A key line in their service offerings caught my attention:

“The heart of the Intelligent Vegetation Management approach is a philosophy of leveraging investments in GIS, outage management, customer information and ERP systems to connect vegetation management operations into technology ecosystems – yours and ours.”

Of course! Intelligent vegetation management by location intelligence professionals. Of course their industry has transformed into  a technology driven industry – in which tech provides a pathway to the delivery of all kinds of innovative services and capabilities. And the fact is, this transition has been underway for a long time ; too many of us don’t spend time thinking just how quickly EVERY industry is being transformed.

Here’s the fun part – my entire morning before reading this blog post has been bound up in properly catching the essence of location intelligence as a professional service. Backstory: I’ve been talking about the emergence of the ‘location intelligence professional’ as a critical emerging career path for the last 20 years. Someone must have been listening, because my oldest son Willie Carroll went on to get a university degree and then a post-graduate college certificate in that very field!

And just as I was reading this blog post from Lewis Tree, I’m working with Willie in the home office as he rolls out his new freelance GIS company, Location Intelligence & Design.

Willie’s key skill set includes collection and interoperation of location / geospatial information with the leading such technology from ESRI, ArcGIS. Lewis Tree? The heart of their Intelligent Vegetation Management service is based upon ESRI’s ArcGIS!

I love this world. There is just so much coming together all at once.

I also love this line in their blog post: “We need to learn what we don’t know and fill our knowledge gaps.” Yup, me too!


The Future of the Energy Industry
Posted by Laura Ribas on Mar 13, 2018 12:42:22 PM

The fascinating keynote at TechAdvantage 2018 was given by Jim Carroll, a futurist, who spoke about the speed of change and provided some mind-boggling statistics. According to Carroll, seven out of every 10 kids today will work in a career that doesn’t yet exist. And half of all knowledge learned during the first year of college today will be obsolete by the time the students graduate. Carroll used the phrase “immediate obsolescence” which applies to new technologies, like digital cameras, that come to market and are out of date <6 months later.

The future belongs to those who are fast.

We’re in the midst of unprecedented change with more change expected in the next few years than has occurred over the last 150 years. The world will look vastly different in ten years than it does today.

Disruption and Innovation

The world is becoming hyper-connected and business models are shifting with this massive connectivity. Our smart phones are now digital cameras, credit cards and GPS devices. We can manage the heat and security of our homes from afar. Our kitchen appliances are connecting with food packaging and retailers. Home sprinkler systems have moisture sensors (because why water when we don’t need to?). We now have medical tricorders that provide an instant readout of our healthcare and physical condition. The science fiction of Star Trek and the Jetsons is here today.

When Napster introduced the ability to download MP3s, the music industry was threatened as their business model changed. The same will be true for utilities and those serving them. Will we see change as a threat or an opportunity?

Smart businesses will see change as an opportunity.

What does this new world look like? It’s a world where big data and analytics are key. It’s a world where precision farming is conducted by drones analyzing plant health, soil composition and more. Where real-time information is provided to vehicles to inform lane changing.  Where street lights monitor air quality and offer car charging stations. Where highway control is intelligent. Where we’ll have 24/7 solar energy even when it’s dark outside.

Carroll believes that these are near-term, not long-term, trends. That self-driving trucks are five years away. That flying cars are simply drones scaled up in size and able to carry people.

Moore’s law of innovation velocity is happening before our eyes. The advancements in battery technology are staggering (and small always beats big).

And Carroll believes that we’ll achieve grid parity faster than we think. Think: portable charging stations. Think: glass in buildings that generates electricity. Think: growing solar cells in plants. (Check out this article that highlights a new thermal resonator device from MIT that can generate energy anywhere using natural temperature changes.)

With grid parity, customers will generate their own energy and share it with each other via micro grids. According to Carroll, the micro grid is not a fringe idea; it is fundamental to the future. (Check out this ComEd press release sharing that they’ve been approved to construct one of the first utility-scale microgrid clusters in the nation.) Think of Napster but for energy: cooperative energy networks. Distributed technology resources are growing three times faster than other technologies. Advanced technologies will reshape the industry and edge thinking dominates.

By 2020, every industry will be a:

  • Software industry
  • Technology industry
  • Insurance industry
  • Battery industry

Maytag used to sell appliances. Now equipment manufacturers sell service levels and uptime using predictive diagnostics.

Utilities are also becoming insurance companies, hedging customers against risk using real-time data to eliminate outages. Blockchain technology, like that used for Bitcoin, will have a massive impact on smart grid technology transforming the architecture of the grid itself.

We’ve seen the costs of LiDAR collapsing from $75K to $100. Carroll joked that pretty soon they’ll be selling LiDAR packs at Dollar General. A massive shift in location-based services is underway. And mapping requires location intelligence professionals.

And with customers using smart thermostats like Nest and Ecobee, utilities can also provide innovative ways for customers to receive rebates. Think of today’s kids. They don’t know mainframes and DOS. They’re wired, collaborative and global. They’re gamers. What happens when gamers buy houses with Ecobees? They compete against their neighbors to win energy rebates.

Devices with participatory data are the future.

The grid is a complex data engine and data is the new oil in energy.

We need to learn what we don’t know and fill our knowledge gaps. To be prepared requires garage-like thinking. We need to ask ourselves, are we leaders or followers? And how quickly can we change?

At Lewis Tree Service, we believe that one of the benefits of introducing our Intelligent Vegetation Management solution as a forerunner in the industry is that it enabled us to become more agile, flexible and customer-centric when it comes to technology and innovation.

We’re big fans of Carroll’s adage: Think big, start small, scale fast.

Do you want to book the same old boring speaker who will show up and deliver a canned message – or do you want to book someone who truly cares, and goes the extra mile? If you are like most people, you’ll do what you’ve alway done, and will end up with the same old boring, predictable, uninspiring leadership event. That’s sad.

The Admiral Beverage Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has booked me to come in for an upcoming leadership meeting that will focus on the future of retail, consumer behaviour and more. They join good company – organizations like Disney, The GAP and Godiva Chocolates have had me in for similar events.

To get the leadership team thinking in advance about the event, I went and filmed this little video clip about the event, trends and more. Give it a watch!

Then ask yourself – are you going to go out and book the same old boring speakers like you always do – or do you want to kick up your event a notch?

Back in the fall, I was the opening keynote speaker for the Annual Coffee, Tea & Water show in Dallas, put on by the National Automatic Merchandising Association. Great feedback – one fellow wrote “Jim, it was just simply astounding. I go to a lot of events and see a lot of speakers, but you hammered home the point that change is inevitable with solid insight, indisputable facts and powerful motivation. Well done!

That’s my job – to take you in the future. It’s why organizations like NASA, Disney, BASF and hundreds of others have engaged me to come in for a talk to rattle their cages.

“Talk about disruption, in just 90 minutes, Jim Carroll, futurist, and trends and innovation expert, managed to terrify me, Miss geeky nerd!” Is this the right approach to the future? Read on!

And sometimes, fear is a great motivator!

Read this article which just ran in CoffeeTalk, the magazine for the industry association, which just ran. In the context of the quote above, at least I know I am getting through!

Transition and Relentless Disruption as the New Reality
by Kerri Goodman, CoffeeTalk, January 2018

While attending the recent NAMA Coffee, Tea & Water conference, I was impressed/terrified by the keynote speaker whose topic was Innovation, Disruption, and Our Industry. Now, I have always prided myself at being not at just the ‘leading edge’ of technology, but at the ‘bleeding edge’ blazing trails through trial and error, rather fearlessly. In fact, CoffeeTalk launched our website in 1994, quite some time before even Coca Cola!

Click to continue reading

Talk about disruption, in just 90 minutes, Jim Carroll, futurist, and trends and innovation expert, managed to terrify me, Miss geeky nerd!

He began with a seemingly innocent reference to one of my favorite childhood programs, The Jetsons. It was fascinating to have this worldwide authority on transformative change walk us through exactly how this cartoon actually accurately predicted the future from robots and Roombas to at screen TVs, video chat to digital newspapers, even drones and smartwatches! Perhaps we all need to find the reruns online and take a peek at what is still to come?

However after the fun of seeing this 1962 TV show accurately predict where we are today, he returned to the terrifying ramifications of this constant disruption from technological advances: 65% of five-year-olds, right now, will be working in a job that does not currently exist. In fact, half of all first-year college students will have the knowledge they acquired in college be obsolete by the time they graduate! is is basically what Moore’s Law predicted back in 1965, technological advances will double every two years. DOUBLE!

Carroll stressed: No matter what we think or want, relentless disruption is the new reality. Even the Coffee industry is full of this disruption: k-cups changing the face of coffee consumption; smart roasters that can give you detailed information to create truly consistent roast profiles, brewing equipment that can reach out to service technicians to let them know they need to be fixed (IOT) before the operator even knows and so much more.

So how do businesses ride this tidal wave of disruption and transition? To be very honest, my first thought was to move to the deep woods somewhere and live off grid. Thankfully that was quickly replaced with hope. The solution starts out quite simply: business people and leaders must learn to think in a new way!

Disruptions are not threats, they are opportunities!

And so it is with a resounding Yeehaw that I say goodbye to 2017, most definitely the greatest personally transitional year of my life.

Nothing stays the same.

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