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Over a 25 year time span, I have built a remarkably successful career as a speaker, speaking to organizations worldwide about future trends, what comes next, and how best to get there. Take a look at my client list; many of the world’s biggest and most prestigious organizations have had me in for my insight. I must have some views and insight that are worthwhile.

Often, I am booked directly by those who find me online, but I am also regularly booked by some of the largest, most prestigious speakers bureaus in the world. Folks like the Washington Speakers Bureau and Canada’s National Speakers Bureau, among countless others – probably the top 30 agencies in the world actively work with me. I’ve spent a great deal of time over 20 years to build and nurture a relationship with these folks. It’s a pretty exclusive club — I am booked by the same people who book Barak and Michelle Obama, George W. Bush, various astronauts and business executives, sports figures, entertainers and more. It’s not a stretch to say that I operate at the elite level of the global speaking industry, with audiences of several thousand, in locations like Dubai, Oman, Tokyo, London and Washington.

In my spare time, my wife and business partner Christa volunteer our time to a local charity near our ski chalet north of Toronto. To that end, I would like you to watch this video clip about this group, known as Events for Life.

Events for Life provides daytime activities for young disabled adults; we have young people with autism and other disabilities, as well as those with Down Syndrome. Our goal is to give them a pathway and activities that helps them to live an enriching life. We are overjoyed with the results.

Which brings me to my good friend Thomas. He’s in the video above. Thomas has Down syndrome, and is very non-verbal. But Thomas is a remarkable human being, and I am touched and honoured to be a part of his circle of life.

One of my proudest moments this year came when Thomas decided it was OK to ski with me – and spent 2 1/2 hours with me on the slopes. Being non-verbal, Thomas really cannot express his feelings other than through a fist-bump or a smile. And that day, as we went up the lift and then down the hill, he was full of smiles! I was rewarded with a fist bump every time we met again at the chair lift, ready to go up again. His mom was quite thrilled to see him spend so much time with me. I came off the ski hill with a greater feeling of accomplishment than when I walk off stage in Las Vegas, having spoken to an audience of 5,000.

Thomas is 25. Thomas is a human being, and a remarkable one at that. He is a member of the human race, but a truly wonderful one. Despite his disability, he skis in a fascinating manner, with obvious joy and abandon. He has a mean golf swing, and as I understand it, just this year has figured out how to skip a ball across a pond. Thomas has a wicked bowling game. He can express his joy, and as a friend, is deserving of those moments of joy. That is why my wife and I – and so many others — give our time willingly, with our heart and soul, to this important but small charity.

That’s why I was appalled at the appearance of Cory Lewindowski on Fox News the other night, apparently mocking a situation where a child with Down Syndrome was separated from her parents, in this crazy war on immigrants.

“Womp womp,” he said with derision.

I don’t know what cold and callous blood runs through the veins of someone who is heinous as Mr. Lewandowski, who would make fun of a fellow member of a human race in such a way. I do know that we now live in a world in which the President of the US has been known to do the same thing.

That’s why I was thrilled to learn that Mr.  Lewandowski was dropped today by Leading Authorities, a speakers bureau that was representing him. Leading Authorities has booked me many times through the years; they are valuable partner. They are my friends and my compatriots in this fascinating industry.

I take joy in their decision. I applaud them for their action. I take some solace that in this world, in which hate seems to be in the ascendant, they saw fit to say that ‘enough is enough.’

Today, many of these organizations are struggling with the issues that come with representing some of those who have hatred in their soul. Maybe today the industry took an important first step in reconciling itself to a path that it needs to take into the future.

I do know that I’ve had private conversations with many of the agents at various of my speakers bureau partners around the world about the current state of the politics of hate. They have been struggling with the fact that their business model has them representing some of the people who are quickly becoming the most vile individuals on the planet. I know that many of these hard working agents in the industry are in a state of despair, as they find that they are in representation of individuals – politicians, media figures and others – who spew the politics of hate. Who spread a message of fear, ignorance, racial hatred, disdain and more. I know they are struggling with the idea that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will one day leave the White House, and might think that the speaking circuit is a wonderful career path – but that the idea of representing someone who lies and demeans the truth on a daily basis just cannot be.

That is why I take joy in the decision by Leading Authorities to drop Mr. Lewandowski. There is no room for him or his message in this industry. There should be no message for individuals like him on this planet, but that, it would seem, is a bigger and more complex issue. But bravo to Leading Authorities. I am hopeful that this is a step where vile, hateful speech is no longer a part of the industry of which I am part, and an industry which I love.

I will also say this – as a global speaker with a successful business, I’ve been cautioned by some of my friends to take care with my words; to be mindful of of what I say; to hold my outrage back. It might cost me business, I am told. I might lose some gigs.

Each morning, as I read the daily news of hate and derision, I am finding it almost impossible to be silent. But I am realizing more and more that I need not be.

I would rather stick up for my friend Thomas, and all the Thomas’s of the world, instead of seeing this vile politics of hate continue in this industry.

Please share.

 

This morning, I have a situation where a client is considering me to headline an event in the road building industry.

I’m encouraging them to get on the phone with me to help them understand I’m the right guy for a highly customized keynote on the future of roads and highways, but while waiting on that, I thought I would simply write them a keynote topic description! Why not – I’ve been doing numerous customized keynotes in this area. Here’s a video clip from a recent one in which I talk about the impact of hyper-connectivity and the Internet of things on the future of roads and bridges – and the fact that none other than Amazon has this business in their sights!

Keynote: The Future of Intelligent Roads and Intelligent Highway Infrastructure

The pace of change with future road and highway technology is going, if you pardon the pun, from fast to furious!

We are witnessing the arrival of intelligent highway monitoring technology, embedded into roads, bridges and other aspects of our transportation system, accelerating the business of road technology to the speed of Silicon Valley. The arrival of V2I (“vehicle to infrastructure”) technology, which allows cars and vehicles to communicate with this embedded, intelligent infrastructure, providing for more robust, intelligent traffic routing. The emergence of the Internet of Things, which promises a new era of hyper-connectivity in the design of vehicles and everything that they interact with. The arrival of new construction methodologies and ideas involving 3D printing, advanced robotics and virtual construction capabilities. An acceleration in the very nature of the materials used in bridge and road construction, such as developments in the science of concrete that leads to new opportunities for tensile strength. The fact that  Amazon is now a harbinger for business model disruption in the ‘business of traffic’ – the organization actually owns a patent involving big data and analytics related to traffic flow, which might provide for a pay-per-access to intelligent highway routing capabilities! The era of self-driving cars, which will take the industry from a slow and simple world of innovation to one that parallels the speed of smartphone innovation! Advancements in battery technology, the rapid evolution with the electrical grid as a result of renewable energy and other trends — and the sudden arrival of roads which charge vehicles as part of the business model of transportation! Intelligent street lights which become an overall part of the transportation system, providing for monitoring, analysis and traffic management! Then there is the skills issue – as the build a more complex road and highway infrastructure of the future, the current range of skills might not be up to the task. Not to mention the arrival of the next generation who will arrive on the job site with their iPad, mobile device, with full expectations of a hi-tech, advanced and sophisticated future of road construction.

Whoah! That’s a lot — and it’s all happening faster than any road and highway infrastructure executive realizes. What is today’s modern road and highway infrastructure executive to do? Align to the opportunities of tomorrow rather than just the challenges of today! Clearly we live in a time of massive challenge, and yet one of massive opportunity, with every industry and organization impacted by business model disruption, the emergence of new methodologies, the impact of technology, and an acceleration of all trends.  Those very things which might have worked for us in the past might be the very anchors that could now hold us back as the future rushes at us with ever increasing speed, particularly in the traditionally slow industry of road-construction

In the era of Uber, Tesla and Amazon, leaders must have the insight into unique opportunities for innovation and change. Everywhere we look, we can see acceleration, speed, and velocity: and in times like these, time isn’t a luxury.

In this keynote on the future of roads and highways, Futurist Jim Carroll takes you on a voyage into how the new rules of business and technology are providing for a reality in which the spirit of agility isn’t just an option – it’s the new normal!

 

 

Our challenge: involvement! In 1964, Kitty Genovese was brutally murdered in New York City as a crowd of bystanders stood by, watching, unwilling to do anything to save her. What does it say for our world when too many people are too unwilling to get involved….”

So began my speech, in Grade 7 or Grade 8, in the Ontario championships for the Optimist Club of Canada. I was all of 11 or 12 years old. I was bothered, I think, by what I was witnessing in the world at the time, and the story of Kitty Genovese, which I saw in a Readers Digest magazine, captured my attention. It became the basis of my speech, which set me on the path for a big competition!

I didn’t win – I was crushed! I was certain I had nailed it! And I couldn’t believe that the kid who beat me had a squeaky little, high-pitched voice, and didn’t seem to deliver with the passion that I did! How did I not take the big prize!

I was given time off during the school day in my elementary school in London, Ontario, Canada, to practice for my provincial public speaking championship . The teachers were probably relieved — I was a bit of a problem student….

Such are the lessons that teach us things later in life…..

So today I’m down in a place called London, Ontario, Canada, south of my home outside of Toronto. It’s where I grew up as a baby, from 1959, until we moved east in 1972. We’re down in the area briefly, and I had a chance to visit some of my old haunts in a rushed visit prior to going to a wedding 45 minutes from here.

Naturally, the visit brought a flood of memories! Such as: for some reason, my parents saw fit to get me involved in a public speaking group – the Junior Optimists – which was part of of Optimist International. They’re still around as a public service club, with the fascinating purpose of “working each day to make the future brighter.

Did you ever wonder where I got my optimism today?

And so back in 1971 and 1972, once a week, for weeks on end, I would go to a church basement or to the local school, and work to structure my presentation, learn to articulate , and study how to shape a story. While other kids were playing hockey and things – I guess I was learning how to enunciate! (I also hung out at the library at the age of 9, reading Time Magazine and other things. I think, in retrospect, that I was kind of odd…. and then, of course, there were the stink bombs. I mastered that skill – a pen, a match, and some stuff, and whoo-boy!)

I had little idea at the time what my course in public speaking might lead to!

326 Reynolds Road! It’s still there!

Later on, early in my working career at the age of 20, a mentor of the time suggested that I should get involved with the Dale Carnegie program to do more of the same. Speechifying and such! So I continued….

And now, 30-40 years later? I’m on stage around the world, have spoken to well over 1 million people with audiences of up to 7,000, and have made a wonderful career out of it.

Maybe all because of my early attempt to go big with my speech, “Our Challenge: Involvement.” I still drive my wife and kids crazy today when I easily rattle off the opening above! And so while I didn’t win in the short term, I think it worked out in the long term…..

Looking back, my advice to any parent today? Take some time to give your child the courage to get in front of a group of people and tell a story. It is said that for some people, making a speech in front of a crowd is one of the most terrifying of all experiences.

Don’t let it be. Your challenge? Involvement!

Right after 9/11, everyone predicted that we would see the end of meetings, events and conferences: people would recoil in fear, stop travelling, and cocoon at home.

That was the dumbest thing I ever heard, and I said so in a column I wrote for Successful Meetings, the voice of the global meetings and events industry. Titled “Get Real,” it was bang on with my of my comments and predictions.

Fast forward – technology is changing the hotel, meeting and event industry at a furious pace, and Successful Meetings just ran an article on these trends. It’s a great read. But its kind of fun that they start the article with y comments on the cautious speed fo technology in the sector.

Read the intro below, and read the full article here.


7 Hotel Tech Trends to Watch
Whether it’s chatbot concierges or self-check-in kiosks, hotels are getting smarter
by Ron Donoho | April 02, 2018

Robots. Facial recognition technology. Virtual and augmented reality. There’s a seemingly unending stream of cool tech tools flowing out of research-and-development centers and into all corners of the meeting and hospitality industries. It’s influencing hotel and event check-in processes, adding bells and whistles to guest rooms, and innovating meeting spaces. To borrow from Thomas Dolby, they’re blinding us with science.

Before delving into the latest tech trends, it’s worthwhile to hear the consensus view from meeting planners, hoteliers, and futurists who focus on the hospitality industry: Technology will enhance but never replace the way hotels cater to guests.

Read the original 2002 Successful Meetings article here

As someone who helps people understand and cope with the implications of new technology and ways of working, Jim Carroll often finds himself thinking that many of the predictions made about tech products are way off base.

I shudder every time I hear one of the ‘experts’ suggest we are about to see a lot less human contact in the way we work, and the way we get together, particularly when it comes to meetings and conferences,” says Carroll, a speaker and author who focuses on global trends and innovations.

Carroll made that very same observation in print way back in February 2002. He wrote an essay that appeared in the pages of Successful Meetings, in the wake of America’s 9/11 tragedy. “What I wrote back then, the same thing is true today,” he says.

It bears repeating: Technology will enhance, not replace.

While acknowledging that the rate of new technology is speeding up, Carroll points to a telling correlation on how the public views change. “People tend to overestimate how much change will occur over the next two years, and underestimate change that will actually occur over 10 years,” he says.

Carroll points to the Gartner Hype Cycle, a theory that attempts to differentiate a technology’s bold promises from its commercial viability. That cycle typically includes: an innovation trigger, a peak of inflated expectations, and a trough of disillusionment. That’s sometimes followed by a slope of enlightenment involving the product and, hopefully, a plateau of productivity.

Take, for example, something as basic as Wi-Fi in hotels. Remember when it was a novelty?

 

 

Wow, is it almost May 1? What a fabulous start for 2018, with keynotes in the lsat 4 months at events in Dubai, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Calgary, San Antonio, Austin, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Nashville, Chicago, Albuquerque, and the Town of  the Blue Mountains! (You’ll have to read to the end to understand that last one!)

These have involved association as well as corporate leadership talks that have focused on a vast range of different topics. Everything from disruptive trends, agriculture, transportation, finance, food and consumer behaviour, the energy and utility industries, economic development in the era of acceleration, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, mining and resources,  to the future of self-driving cars, and more! Here’s an overview of the highlights!

World Government Summit, Dubai, UAE

I was invited to speak at this massive global conference, with 3,400 attendees from 60+ countries worldwide. It’s sponsored and opened by the Prime Minster of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and tasked with the issue of examining the future role of government in solving some of the challenges of our time.

It was an absolutely fascinating event; I shared the agenda with other speakers such as Goldie Hawn, Robert deNiro and Forest Whittaker, the head of the International Monetary Fund, the Prime Ministers of France and India, and more!

My session description? “Futurist Jim Carroll takes a look at the key trends which will impact our future in an era that has change happening faster than ever before. Even today, we have a new vocabulary that didn’t exist just a few years ago: self-driving cars, 3d printing, crowdfunding, the sharing economy, blockchains, personal drones, swarmbots, smart dust, vertical farms, Internet of Things, cognitive computing, smart factories, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, quantum computing, intelligent farms, smart clothing! What seemed to be science fiction just a few short years ago has become a reality today, as time compresses and the future accelerates.”

Take a look at the brief highlight clip of my talk – it even comes with ‘epic music!’

Purina, San Antonio, Texas

I do a LOT of talks in agriculture; so much so, that some folks have asked me how long I’ve been a farmer! That’s because, like very other industry, I get deep into the trends impacting the industry and folks in the room.

This event featured two talks over dinner over 2 nights, for over 500 local agricultural dealers from throughout the US, primarily the midwestern states. My keynote took a look at the global trends sweeping the world of agriculture – precision ag, genomics, drone technology, the acceleration of data insight, generational turnover of the family farm and more.

In addition, I took a hard look at what local dealers in co-ops and more should be focusing on as this industry, like many others, comes to embrace and be disrupted by e-commerce. It’s only a matter of time before Amazon starts having a big impact in this sector, and the path forward for the folks in the room is a focus on providing their base of customers with effect service, support, knowledge and insight.

Independent Insurance Agents, Austin, Texas

It”s not just farmers who are faced with disruptive trends – everyone else is, particularly in the world of insurance.

This talk took a look at the key disruptive trends sweeping the world of property and casualty, as well as life insurance. The theme tied in to the same type of theme for the Purina dealers – when you business model is disrupted and some consumers are choosing to go ahead without you, you only survive by focusing on your role and the value of the unique services you provide to ensure that others don’t.

Amazon might one day get into the business of selling insurance – what happens then? That’s one of the challenging scenarios I presented from the stage.

Magellan Health

This organization provides health care services to a vast range of health insurers – organizations such as Blue Cross and others. And the day before my keynote on disruptive trends in the healthcare industry, Amazon announced a healthcare initiative with  J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway.

What, Amazon again? Are you getting that there is a theme here? Definitely, which is why I now have a whole speaking topic dedicated to how to deal with Amazon. Do you?

Also, healthcare! Over the years, I’ve done a lot of keynotes on the future of healthcare. The Magellan folks saw me at an event, and decided I would be the idea person to kickoff the 2nd day of their event, with a talk that looked at the demographics, scientific, genomic, technological and other trends providing for massive disruption – and opportunity – in this sector.

For more, take a look at my keynote topic, Healthcare 2025: The Transformative Trends that Will Redefine Our Future.

Gemalto, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Security, security, security! Gemalto is one of the global leaders in providing complex solutions to the complex problems of a hyper-connected world, for a global client base of Fortune 1000 organizations, government and others. They found me, and figured I would be the best guy to put a spin onto that with a good hard look at the future of computer and security risk.

My keynote took a look at the future of security and computer risk – in the context of the disruptive trends of our times. This included a look at the core issues leading to a faster world and massive business model disruption and change – everything from the acceleration of science, to what happens when every company becomes a software company; the impact of an increase in the number of business partnerships due to skills fragmentation, and the issues that come from the acceleration of knowledge; not to forget the hyper-connectivity that comes from the Internet of Things and the new business models that emerges a result. From this, the new risk that emerges as a result!

In essence, my keynote took a look at how organizations are faced with new risk, unforeseen risk, faster risk, more complex risk, extended risk, and the acceleration of risk! This was somewhat similar to the talk I did for 2 client events for Baker McKenzie, one of the top 2 law firms in the world.

National Rural Electrical Cooperative (NRECA), Nashville, Tennessee

The future belongs to the fast – particularly in the world of the fast moving energy industry!

There’s a massive amount of change going in this sector – small, local, community energy producers.   The electric grid, for example, is bound to become less centralized as residential ratepayers print three-dimensional solar cells from their home computers or run their heating and cooling systems from their cell phones. The acceleration of technology for backyard energy production and the ongoing reduction in costs of solar and wind and biomass. Quite simply, it’s an era in which private grids, and where small-scale generators sharing continues to take hold, will continue to upend the traditional utility-customer business model.

There was a great blog post, The GIS Of Trees: Location Intelligence and Maps are the Future of Just About Everything!  to which I responded, from one attendee that captures the essence of my talk.

Ontario Dental Association, Toronto, Canada

You might think the world of dental care does not change much, or slowly, or not at all – but it does. The acceleration of 3D printing technologies for dental implants and more; the constant arrival of new materials and methodologies, ever more challenging patients, dentures and molars that connect via Internet-of-Things (#Iot) technology (yes, that’s a potential thing!) and more.

People and professions need insight into what comes next in order to align themselves to a faster future – without that, they become stuck, suffer from inertia, and fall behind or into irrelevance. That was the focus of my keynote for a few thousand dentists at this massive, sprawling conference. And all at 8AM in the morning!

Association of Manufacturing Technology annual conference, Miami, Florida

Can you say ‘irony?’ That’s the case when I did a talk on the future of manufacturing, at the Trump Doral resort, shortly after global trade barriers were announced.

The future of manufacturing is bound up in relentlessly fast trends – 3D printing, the digitization of the factory, changes in product development, mass customization and so much more – and that’s what I covered in my talk.

I also got a little bit aggressive with the message that one can’t hope to wave a magic wand and bring the industry back to 1970, and magically return a bunch of jobs. Did the message resonate? One followup email said so: “Jim, thanks for your reality check on the future of our sector. It’s all about innovation, new ideas, new methodologies, and having the courage to align to the future rather than wishing for the past. It was SPOT ON! NEEDED!”

National Mining Association, Scottsdale, Arizona

Well, this was fun! A keynote for CEO’s and senior executives of many American and global mining on the future trends that will provide opportunity and challenge going forward.

Everything from the continued acceleration of autonomous vehicle technology, to remote diagnostics, virtual reality, the Internet of Things and so much more. Everything, that is, but the acceleration of renewable energy. I’ll leave that small note for another day!

American Fidelity, Dallas, Texas

A company in the group benefits, insurance, banking and other financial services – with a corporate leadership meeting aimed at focusing on what to do to deal with the disruptive trends in the industry.

The senior management team had seen me last November when I spoke to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, liked my message, and decided right away to invite me in.

We had a great discussion around the impact of mobile technology, accelerated expectations for interaction, disruptive competitors, empowered consumers and more. Key point – change in financial services continues to come quickly, and the fleet and the agile will survive.

CCI Wireless, Calgary, Alberta

Rural communities need broadband access, and this organization is working to provide it throughout this Canadian province.

In was brought in to speak to their annual general meeting, speaking to Board Members about the trends which are increasing the need for rural broadband access – such as the agricultural trends that I spoke about to Purina for months earlier. Agriculture is increasingly all about data and connectivity, and a region will fall behind if it does not have the infrastructure to support the rapid evolution of the industries upon which economic growth depends.

It was a bit like an economic development talk, and I have a detailed post on those ideas, 20 Big Rules for Economic Development in the Era of Acceleration. 

Partners in Building, Houston, Texas

This company is one fo the most successful, established luxury home builders in the Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee markets. The CEO wanted to find someone to come in to speak to their team — 100 strong – with a focus on the future of homes, neighbourhoods, construction methodologies, materials and more. And, he found me!

Since I didn’t have a photo from this event, Ill take another approach: the photo above is from my daily quote, which I put together just before going to spend my time with them.  I had shared with some of their team in advance some of the trends I would cover – in my  combined keynote and workshop spanning 3 hours.- and the comment was made that it was pretty scary.

No, it’s not – unless you make it scary. Some people see the future and see a threat – innovators see the same future and see an opportunity!

Macola Software, Chicago, Illinois

They are a company in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) space in the manufacturing, consumer products and other industries, and invited me in to speak at their annual user group meeting.

My keynote took a look at the disruptive trends impacting the world of manufacturing and products, as noted in my keynote description on the talk: “Collapsing product lifecycles. Mass customization. Digitization, robotics and the cloud. Design based on crowd thinking. Build to demand, as opposed to build to inventory, business models. The role of the Internet of Things in product innovation as well as manufacturing process innovation. Spatial-innovation with advanced manufacturing robotics. New materials and substances that allow for change in product development. Rapid prototyping, sketch to scale, and agility-based business models…. are you ready for the new world of manufacturing?”

Global Financial Firm (private), San Francisco, California

This one was fun – a dinner talk for CEO’s and senior executives from major financial, energy and infrastructure firms worldwide. The name of the organization is private; suffice it to say I had several hundred billions of dollars of equity represented in the room.

 

It was late – I didn’t start till 845pm San Francisco time, and the crowd was obviously tired (and ‘refreshed’), but I kicked up the energy a notch and kept them entertained with a keynote that took at look at the disruptive trends of our time – energy, automative, highways, building construction and more.

Ontario Road Builders Association, Toronto, Canada

This event had a similar theme to the one above – with a more specific look at what is happening with the future of highways, vehicles and infrastructure.

The quote in the photo captures the essence of my keynote. Over the last 5 years, I’ve done numerous talks on just how quickly the concept of transportation is changing, as well as the methods involved. My goal with this group was to get them thinking on how the very concept of a ‘road’ and a ‘highway’ is changing in the era of acceleration.

If we are all sitting in electric vehicles that drive themselves, that’s a pretty big change. Innovators align themselves to these trends in order to turn them into opportunity! Want more insight? Read my post, 54 Things About Self-Driving Cars You Didn’t Know!

Admiral Beverage, Albuquerque

What do you do when you have a room full of Pepsi and Coors distributors, and are asked to challenge them on the future? You put into perspective the changes occurring in the world of retail, consumer behaviour, product development, and more.

Such as, the collapse of attention spans! This sector is also be “Amazon’d” as an increasing number of consumers take to shopping online – Amazon has over 100 million Amazon Prime member. And so while we live in an era in which know-nothing politicians rail against the future, savvy organizations are working hard to align themselves to the trends. Read more in my specific Amazon keynote topic, and take a look at the customized pre-event video  (“The Future of Retail? It’s Fast“) I filmed for Admiral Beverage.

Town of Blue Mountains Chamber of Commerce, Ontario

Last but not least – this one was a huge amount of fun – it’s the community where my ski chalet is located, 2 hours north of Toronto, Ontario!

They were having their AGM – I wasn’t booked that particular date – and agreed to come in and speak about the global trends that will somehow shape their future!

What a huge amount of fun, with a number of friends, ski buddies and neighbours in the room. They finally had a chance to see the truly odd job that their friend Jim has.

—–

All in all, it was a wonderful spring, with a continued emphasis on highly customized keynotes in a wide variety of different industries.

And stay tuned – the next few months feature an equal number of fascinating events!

 

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

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

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

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

Fore!

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

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

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!

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“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!

 

Are you tired of booking a keynote for your event – having a perfunctory phone call with your selected speaker – and having them show up at the last minute, only to deliver a  canned message that doesn’t relate to anything that is important to your participants?

So am I. They give the industry, and folks like me who work hard for your event, a bad name. And that’s not me. I really go the extra mile in working with you on material that goes beyond the event date.

Here’s a good example – I was recently booked to headline the annual summit for the Trapeze Group known as Think Transit – a company that provides software for the urban transit industry. It’s coming up this June in Nashville.

Beyond several planning conference calls to talk about content, and how I can best align my message to their overall event gaols, I took on a number of other projects to give them some extra benefits:

  • a full Q&A interview about the future of their industry, which they ran as a blog post

  • and a highly customized event promotional video, that they have been using to heighten interest in the event

In addition, I’ve been doing extensive research in my go-to tool, Dow Jones Factiva, which lets me access thousands of newsletters, newspapers, magazine, research reports and more information, so I can zone in on the specific industry issues at hand. I describe that in this short video here.

So if you are bored with the typical keynote speaker who does little to pay attention to your needs, give me a call! I’ll even pick up the phone!

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