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I’ll be busy studying some key innovation issues for the next week. I have assembled a crack project team with detailed skills to assist me with my research!

Way back in 2006, inspired by similar times, I wrote about how innovation thrives in the building of sandcastles!

It was a great post — and it made it into BusinessWeek. I thought it a fitting post to leave here while I’m busy immersed in my studies. With that, here’s my list of “10 Reasons Why Innovation Thrives in the Building of Sandcastles: and What We Can Learn From Such Creativity.”

  • Hierarchy has disappeared: In most cases, there isn’t a boss, a reporting structure, or anything else that can cause organizational sclerosis. People just pitch in and do what needs to be done. The lack of a hierarchy is implicit to most successful teams.
  • Creativity is implicit: Anyone can build a sandcastle. There are no rules or preconceived notions, other than some sand and water. The same thinking should drive corporate innovation efforts. Make do with what you’ve got and what you can find, and use creativity as your main asset.
  • If it doesn’t work the first time, do it again: It’s inevitable that a rogue wave will destroy your work. This only encourages you to fix the design, or rebuild it altogether. Setbacks are meaningless, and indeed, are part of the plan.
  • Experience doesn’t cloud insight: Parents listen to kids, kids get bored and move on to another rampart and do something awesome. The key to sandcastle building is the combined insight of several different generations: likely one of the most important foundations for success in corporate innovation today. (See my 10 Ideas post for more on this theme.)
  • Everyone picks up on the passion: People just join in and help to build. Eventually beach-neighbors join in, and the growing castle becomes a big collaborative effort. Organizations that can build similar levels of interest in the concept of innovation don’t simply succeed: they exceed!
  • Feedback is instant: You know right away how well your design works, particularly if it is at the waters edge, since everyone will make a comment on it as they walk by. That parallels’ the instantaneity of today’s markets: things are changing so fast, that you must have a constant ear tuned in to understand what your customers are telling you.
  • Competition is easily scoped: Need new ideas? Want to learn from the competition? Spend a few minutes walking up and down the beach and check out the other sandcastles. Study their design, their assumptions, and see how you can improve upon them. Do the same in the corporate world: develop a finely tuned radar that signals to you how and where your world is changing.
  • No idea is too dumb: There’s not a lot of criticism and bias in the building of sandcastles. Any idea is welcomed. People can contribute the skills they have. Everyone is a designer, a builder and an owner. Somehow the combination just works.
  • The reward is clear: At the end of the day, a great sandcastle provides a sense of accomplishment. Photos are taken, and the team talks about the experience. That’s why every innovation effort needs to be celebrated, highlighted, and championed into the corporate record.
  • It’s fun: Enough said. If an organization approaches a problem the same way, innovation and creativity can thrive.

It’s the ‘era of acceleration!’ Are you at the starting gate?

Based on my ’19 Trends for 2019′, this 15 minute video will provide you insight on some of the unique and diverse trends that will change your future, and provide both opportunity and challenge.

Are you ready? And fast?

Spinal Tap went to 11 – why can’t I go to 20?

Why not do one more trend and bend your mind a bit! With that, here’s trend #20 of my ‘19 Trends for 2019′ – ‘A Child Alive!’ 

Can you imagine what the world of 2062 – the year the Jetsons’ TV show was set in – might look like for a child alive today? 

I find it hard to do so, given that the pace of change is accelerating so quickly. We will probably see advances with science, technology, society and more that we can barely begin to comprehend. And yet, there are also warning signs. What we do right now has the good chance to destroy the world that they might find themselves in.

And yet there is no doubt these children will live in a fascinating, wonderful world if *we* do the right things.

A child alive today? Consider my buddy Chase! His dad had a brief visit with my son and I in the home office to ‘talk shop’, and he brought Chase along. I had to keep Chase busy while his dad worked on a technical issue with my son, and so I put him in front of my home studio green screen. In moments, he understood it, and Chase went travelling!

What types of travels might he have in the future? Will he actually go to space? Will he be able to time travel? Will he have virtual reality travels that are incomprehensible today?

Or consider Ivan! He’s a precocious 10 year old who I had the good fortune to discover just before I keynoted a global event for Godiva Chocolates in London, England. Watch this clip!  It’s a great, fun story – but consider this: we are in a world in which 10 year olds have food video blogs. What will happen when these kids – who show so much initiative at the age of 10 – grow up and are in the workforce?

They will probably be working in jobs and careers that do not yet exist, utilizing knowledge not yet generated, with scientific discoveries not yet discovered. A few years ago, I went into the Grade 5 class of my good friend Ian Bates – and we did a project to encourage the children to think about the careers that they might work in at some point in the future.

The simple fact is – there is a child alive today who will do the amazing science fiction like things that we find unimaginable – and yet which they find routine!

“All your base are being to us!” That’s what happens with the transfer of control of the future from idea-tired, change-resistant, policy-weak and narrow-thinking baby boomers to the first adult generation weaned on the Internet.

We’re witnessing the impact right now in US politics. I don’t know about you, but I’m with the 28 year old politician.

In 2019 the generational transition will take on far more significance than ever before. It’s important to understand why: we are a technological world, and many baby boomers grew up in a time that simply has not equipped them with the tools to cope. All you need to do is watch folks in the US Senate quiz tech-industry executives at a hearing to understand how far out of depth they are. I always have a lot of fun with this generation (of which I am a member) on stage.

The next generation? They are unlike any that we have ever seen before. Take a look at how I frame this reality on stage!

All Your Base Are Belong to Us“? The generation who understands the significance of the phrase are the ones who will reshape our world with the oxygen of the connectivity that they have inhaled since birth. In 2019 and beyond, they own the future. The old folks don’t.

We are in the midst of a vast, sweeping and profound generational transition, and it is one of the defining trends of our time.

All your base are belong to us”? It originated as a bad translation in a Japanese video game in 1991 but the phrase went viral in 2001, years before the arrival of viral social networks.

It’s a statement of power; it’s a comment that indicates someone knows more than you know; it’s a phrase of the next generation. Study the zeitgeist, and you would have seen it emerge at the time, and understand its’ significance. I remember seeing it emerge and go viral; I get the context whenever it has been used since.

Boomers struggle with tech – they grew up with Basic, COBOL and punch cards. My kids are 23 and 25, and they laugh at the fact I actually sold close to a million books in the ’90’s that explained the Internet to people.

I’ve been online since 1982 – I started with a 300 baud acoustic coupler. (Look it up). Even back then, I understood that connectivity would change the world. And it has, both good and bad.

But what happens when the politician who can’t manage their iPhone retires and leaves power – and the Nintendo generation takes over?  It’s happening right now. The first generation in power is mostly white, old, technologically incompetent. The next generation is diverse, connected, entrepreneurial, fast, collaborative and global.

I don’t know about you, but my hopes are with the latter.

Some of my 19 trends for 2019 aren’t profound, in that people are already aware of them. What is important is acknowledging the speed and reality of the trend, and in 2019, the acceleration is real.  So here’s the thing: despite the current moment of political idiocy around us involving 19th coal, there is one undeniable fact going into the future : oil and carbon is over.

As the CEO of one global energy company said on stage before my keynote for a global energy conference, “we have one last oil boom left. Then that’s it.” Oil will always be with us, but it is now on the decline and alternatives are clearly on the ascendant.

The acceleration of the science that leads to the end of oil is undeniable. Batteries EV’s, solar, wind, biomass – you name it, and in the long run, science wins.

I was in Oman last November, keynoting a global transportation conference. The Middle East region, the world’s largest oil producer, has known for a while that the industry is inevitably in decline. There will always be sunshine. Ride the trends!

Over the last few years, 3 of the world’s largest global legal firms have asked me in for a talk on the new risks and challenges they are faced with in the era of acceleration.  In addition, another one invited me for a similar talk in Dallas and Chicago for their major clients – a vast collection of chief legal officers from global Fortune 500 companies.

The challenge? Our new world of hyper connectivity, driven by technology, the Internet of Things, accelerating science and other issues is leading us quickly into a new world of unforeseen legal challenges. Somehow, we need to minimize our risk from legal issues which we do not yet know exist. That’s a pretty tall order.

Here’s a quick little video I filmed which puts a concise perspective on these new challenges..

The acceleration of legal and other forms of new risk has been a component of my keynotes for several years – not just for legal firms, but for the many corporations and association events I speak at.

The acceleration of legal and other forms of new risk has been a component of my keynotes for several years – not just for legal firms, but for the many corporations and association events I speak at.

The challenge? Our new world of hyperchange, driven by technology, the Internet of Things, accelerating science and other issues is leading us quickly into a new world of unforeseen legal challenges. Somehow, we need to minimize our risk from legal issues which we do not yet know exist. That’s a pretty tall order.

How do you mitigate against risk when you don’t know what that risk might be? How do you guard against legal issues that don’t even yet exist? How do you guard intellectual property for products you don’t even yet know you will invent? That’s the challenging reality of our new world of risk today.

Want some fun? At one of these events, I put up a list of 40 new areas of legal risk management that did not exist 10 years ago. Protecting shared 3D printing models of your new products that could be easily counterfeited. Drone technology and surveillance law. Genetic counselling laws, LGBTQ issues, fantasy sports league management, organic certification, and laws involving cannabis use in the workplace and place of business.

That’s a short list. There’s lots more!

When I spoke in Oman last November, I spent a little bit of my time on stage talking about artificial intelligence. It caught the attention of the folks from Gulf Construction, the most prestigious publication in the Middle East when it comes to the construction industry. They asked if I might put down my thoughts on the role, impact and timing of A.I. and robotics within the industry.

AI in construction? It’s simply the next step in the digitisation of the industry. As we go down the technology path, we follow its inevitable result.

 


AI In Construction – Massively Transformative
In an exclusive article for Gulf Construction, JIM CARROLL, futurist, trends and innovation expert, highlights the far-reaching impact of artificial intelligence on the construction industry.
Gulf Construction News, January 2019 (link)

Artificial intelligence (AI), the very phrase conjures up images of futuristic mechanical brains doing all kinds of intelligent work. Scare stories abound – AI and robots are going to take away all of our jobs! Science fiction scenarios paint a picture of enslaved humans being subjected to the evil whims of smart computer technology.

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As they say, timing is everything, particularly when it comes to the issue of getting involved in any particular trend. In the era of acceleration, it becomes even more critical. You’d better make sure you are ready with any trend of importance and relevance, because the future might happen before you know it.

I spend a lot of time on stage talking about the issue of timing on stage, particularly in the context of the “Gartner Hypecycle.” It’s been a key go-to on my client innovation guidance for well over 15 years. The interesting thing is that it’s really risen to the forefront in the last year, particularly as technology journalists have trie to explain the rise and fall of the BitCoin bubble.

The other thing about timing? The future is staggered and uneven – it doesn’t happen everywhere all at once. It’s phased by location, sector, and other discrete perspectives. Think about self=driving vehicles – we’ll see them happen in some ways faster, and in other ways, slower. I was in New Orleans, saw some crowded streets, and it was the perfect opportunity to talk about the issue of timing.

Any new technology, trend or idea goes along a curve – it appears, then hits the time of excessive hype and expectations. That is followed by the inevitable collapse of enthusiasm as people realize that it takes a lot of time and effort to implement the future, and determine the opportunity that comes from it. But inevitably, both the expectations, idea and capabilities mature, and the trend becomes a key component for innovation and so much more.

The timing issue? As Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired noted, “the future happens slowly, and then, all at once.” Any particular trend can bubble along for a time, seemingly inconsequential and of little impact. And then, all of a sudden, it can ‘go supernova’, explode in importance and significance – and suddenly, be everywhere!

That’s why my mantra to “think big, start small, scale fast” gives a key shoutout to timing. “Start small” implies that you should be on board with any particular trend, despite the potential immaturity it might have, because you want to make sure that you understand it, have experience with it, know how to work with it – and are ready to go when it “goes supernova!”

We’re moving from a world of two-dimensional ‘location intelligence’ – think of all the things involving GPS technology – to a world of 3D spatial intelligence – and the this will lead the birth of several new “next” billion dollar industries

The opportunities are pretty significant. Location intelligence had us mapping in 2 dimensions; spatial intelligence will have us doing the same with 3dimensions. The trend will involve the data used by self-driving cars to ‘see’ around them; cobots or “cooperative robots” working in 3d dimensions to interact with other robots and humans around them; virtual operations using 3D insight headsets, and so much more!

The possibilities are limitless and the opportunities are endless, particularly if we combine smart clothing, spatial intelligence, mobile technology, sensor technology and gamification! To explain, I went to the gym!

When four industries come together to pursue a trend, you’ve got something big happening. And that’s what’s going on as healthcare, the food industry, the agricultural and technology industries come together to pursue one of the biggest trends of our time.

A hot trend? We are seeing the birth of an industry of customizable, programmable, AI based, real time food planning based on instant health assessment!

Yup, that’s a thing, and it’s going to be a big thing.


Increasingly, you’ll be eating food that aligns to your particular DNA, and based on real time body insight. It will be highly customized. As I state on stage, my glycemic index for an apple might be different from yours.

I spoke at Benefit 2018 recently – it’s a conference dedicated to functional foods and more. In my pre-keynote video overview, I spoke about the significance of this trend.

Want to have some fun?

Watch the multi-billion dollar investments that major food, science, healthcare and tech companies are making within this new, fast exploding sector.

Here’s a hint – look up Nutrino. Go!

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