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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!

Take a look at my client list. I’ve developed a worldwide reputation for keynotes and talks at Fortune 1000 leadership meetings that go beyond customization – they go to the heart of the transformative issues that need to be discussed in the room.

What’s my secret sauce? Read about how I work with you in this little video clip!

Let’s face it – your annual event, conference or leadership meeting is critically important. The last thing you need is a speaker in the opening or closing keynote slot who is going to give you perfunctory attention, deliver a canned talk, take your money, and leave you wondering, ‘what was that all about?’

Not me! I take the approach that I’m going to have to work hard to have the right to take your money!

Consider a recent project I worked on with the Trapeze Group, a software company in the urban transit space. After some back and forth, they decided I was the right guy to open their annual conference in Nashville this June. What helped to convince them was the level of customization I do in terms of the topic — something that has earned me a global reputation with a massive A-list set of clients.

But it wasn’t just that – it was the fact that fact I would go the extra mile for them with ‘event collateral’ – material they could use to drive interest in and attendance at the event. After all, that’s one of the most important up front goals.

We’re not even 2 months away from the event, and here’s what the Trapeze Group has already!

A customized video, focusing on the rapid trends impacting the urban transpiration sector, and encouraging people to attend. Learn more about how I put these highly polished, professional event videos here.

In addition, the organization did an interview with me, involving a fair bit of back and forth, which result in a lengthy Q&A article on the types of issues which would be covered at the conference — and why people in the industry should be in attendance. You can read the full article here:

Then there was the press release which went out, in order to continue stirring up the buzz.

Of course, then there is all the social media that goes with this material.

The conference isn’t till June, and we’ve already got same great buzz underway!

Some speakers will show up, do their keynote, and take your money.

Not me! I will do more before I even show up – I will work hard to take your money!

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?

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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.

I’m very sad to learn that Canadian PGA Professional, Jerry Anderson, who was a fixture around my home club of Credit Valley in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, passed away at the age of 62.

A slide from my 2016 keynote for the PGA of America – in which I paid tribute to the impact Jerry had on my game. See my video clip below.

As reported in the news, Jerry was “the first Canadian to win on the European Tour when he shot a 27-under par at the Ebel European Masters – Swiss Open in 1984. That 72-hole score was a record on the European Tour until Ernie Els shot a 29 under par score at the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic.

I spoke about Jerry Anderson in my opening keynote at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando; the theme that year was that we should recognize and give thanks to the PGA Professionals who had an impact on my our golfing life. Jerry certainly had an impact on mine; he had the remarkable patience to try to teach me over 3 seasons.

Jerry was a fixture around our club in so many remarkable ways. He was a PGA teaching professional; a regular participant in Mens Day, where he would go and shoot the lights out with an incredible short game; and in the latter years, a regular fixture on the lawn cutting equipment, constantly watching me duff my shots into the river!

And when you would pull up to the bag drop, there he was, as started, getting your bags and schlepping them to the start. I always felt bad to have a guy who was a European tour pro take my bags like that, but he would insist.

A remarkable man, and the golfing world will miss him.

The life of a speaker is always kind of interesting, because you get approached by all kinds of people who try to convince you to fly to the other side of the world and share your insight – barely for the price of a cup of coffee!

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but over 25 years on the stage I’ve seen it all. The most common approach is when you get a client who tries you to convince you that the mere opportunity of allowing you to speak to *them* will be great for your “exposure.” Um, exposure? Excuse me, have you seen my global client list? I don’t need exposure.

It does happen all the time though. Yesterday a global luxury brand approached me ; they were having a critical leadership meeting, and wanted my insight into fast moving trends in their industry. But they couldn’t meet my fee requirements; as in many cases, I was out of fee range.

And of course, I said no. At this point in my career,I seem to be turning away 5 to 10 keynote requests *per week*. If you are a luxury brand, you stick with your value proposition!

Is this a gripe? Not at all – the situation often seems kind fo funny to me. Here you have a brand whose entire value proposition is based on the quality of the brand image, and the value of the product they deliver. High-end stuff.

So it is too with some of the leading futurists in the world. We know what’s coming next, and we can share our insight with you, but it will take an investment! (-;

 

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!

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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.

“Inaction in the face of opportunity is but an excuse!” – #Futurist Jim Carroll

Part of the role of a futurist is to provide people insight into the trends that will be a part of their future, but also to put into perspective the opportunities these trends present. A lot of people get excited when they see what I can offer in that regard.

But people are funny – and here’s a good story you can think about to see if you are suffering from a culture of inaction.

I recently had a call from a senior VP of a major company in the retail industry. She thought that it would be extremely helpful to bring me in to their upcoming corporate leadership meeting – with so much change in retail they need to be challenged in their thinking. With clients like Disney, The GAP, Pepsi, Godiva, and more, I certainly have a track record for doing just that – I spend a lot of time speaking to the massive and fast trends sweeping the world of retail. I even have separate keynote topics on retail and the Amazon effect.

Fast forward. She wrote back last week, indicating that their CEO didn’t think it was a good time to be doing this. As in, stay the course. Stick with the status quo. They didn’t need to be challenged right now ; they had a strategy and needed to see it through. They might think about doing a deep-dive future session next year. Something like that.

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Next month, I’ll keynote the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Technology conference. It’s an unprecedented 5th repeat booking by this organization.

The energy industry is in the midst of fast hyper-disruption.

Here’s a quick little video that I put together for them to outline some of what I’ll cover.

 

 

Being on stage in front of some of some of the world’s leading organizations and senior executives, you get the opportunity to address a lot of unique topics.

And with 25 years of doing this, I believe that I’ve highlighted trends from just about every perspective possible! Including, for example, issues involving understanding, managing and minimizing a world of accelerated risk.

So it was that I found myself on stage in front of senior corporate legal counsel for a good portion of the global Fortune 500 at two events in Chicago and Dallas last month, as the opening keynote speaker for the annual Baker McKenzie client conference.

Baker McKenzie is big – it is one of the top global legal firms, with 13,000 employees, of who 4,700 are lawyers, in 77 offices across 47 countries. The client list is simply unparalleled: I had folks from AT&T, Intel, 7-11, Citi, Bell Helicopter, BP, Ericsson, JCPenney, Allstate, JPMorgan Chase, McDonalds, GM, Hyatt, Oracle, Pizza Hut, Southwest Airlines and a few hundred more others in the rooms. (Fun fact: many of the companies at the events are included in my own client base.)

If you are going to speak to a few hundred corporate legal counsel, you’ve got to bring your “A-game.'” With that, my talk focused on 2 key issues: what comes next, and what risks come with that?

To start out, my keynote took a look at ‘25 disruptive trends,’ (a topic which has quickly became one of my most in demand speaking topics through the last year.) I took 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.

Want some of this insight? Read this post on disruption – it started out as a list of ’10 Drivers of Disruption’ but has grown from there. Or book me and bring me into your organization!

I then spun these trends into the question of : what new risk is emerging in this fast paced world? The thing is, as all this change comes about, we are in an era in which organizations are faced with new risk, unforeseen risk, faster risk, more complex risk, extended risk, and the acceleration of risk!

With that, my keynote on disruption spun into these future issues of risk, such as:

  • accelerated risk: simply put, as everything speeds up, risk happens faster, which leads to:
  • the rapid emergence of new risk: we are in an era in which organizations are now subjected to the sudden arrival of new forms of risk which did not exist before. How do you develop a legal culture to cope with that?
  • hyper-connectivity risk: the connectivity of the Internet of Things (IOT) leads to new forms of shared and hyperconnected risk.
  • partnership risk: organizations are struggling with skills issues, and need to partner faster. This leads to more complex – and faster – partnerships, which leads to new forms of partnership risk
  • IP risk everywhere: because everyone is becoming a software company, intellectual property (IP) issues go through the roof!
  • speed risk: organizations are focused on speed – agile is the new leadership focus. But moving faster requires that they take on more risk that must be managed in new and different ways.
  • role risk: the issue of speed and agility is quite contrary to the risk minimization role that most corporate counsel must manage, so there is a significant change in their role.
  • regulatory risk: and then there is a regulatory mismatch – organizations are innovating in such a way that is becoming more difficult for regulatory organizations (such as the FDA and others) to understand, manage, or provide a structure for that future risk.

There was much more than I spun into the talk, but it leads to one simple conclusion – we are headed for a world of what I could call “fast legal!” Simply put, both legal firms and corporate legal counsel need to work harder to get faster. (Are they good at this? Not often. Small example: I’m frequently booked by many of the Fortune 500 companies that were in the room. Fun fact – many of them have turned my simple little 3 page speaking contract into epic legal documents that are, I suppose, legal works of art. The record is 42 pages! I refuse to sign such contracts, and they eventually come around and sign mine. Also, most can’t cut a check quick enough for my contract terms, and end up paying me by credit card!)

It was a wonderful event, and met with a great response – there was a lot of this:

But here’s a key point: this is but one example of where I’ve looked at the future of risk.

Over the years, I’ve done numerous talks that have examined the concept of the “future of risk from a variety of different perspectives:

  • I led a session for a major global construction/infrastructure company that took a look at new risk issues with such things as smart highways, self-driving cars and other issue, and the risks that unfold in this new era
  • I did a talk for Towers Perrin way on accelerating insurance risk, and a similar talk for the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America
  • I took a look at emerging healthcare risks as the headliner for the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management
  • I was the opening keynote for a customer event for FMGlobal, a leading underwriter of insurance risk in the commercial real estate space. My talk took a look at a broad range of trends that will impact the future structure of buildings, architecture, manufacturing facilities and more – and of course, the new risk unfolding!
  • I even opened the National Firefighter Apparatus Manufacturing Association annual event, which took a look at the rapid emergence of new fire risk, and how we need to plan for that in the design process of future firetrucks. Read more here!

There have been a lot more, too numerous to mention. Gosh, I even wrote an article in 2004 entitled “The Future of Risk”!

One more thing: I love Baker McKenzie, because they are an organization that walks the talk.

As a legal firm, their entire essence and core of being is to a degree, around the issue of risk. How to manage it, guard against it, follow up on it, mitigate it, and litigate it when it goes wrong. With that, what a pleasant surprise to discover that they had a fairly significant social media team — at both events. They blog, tweet, and share insight about the firm, what it is doing and what it is seeing. They obviously have to this very carefully in the context of managing the risk of the message — you live in a unique world in a professional services firm.

The fact that Baker McKenzie does this in such a substantial way blows me away. I’ve never met a professional services firm – and I’ve been booked by virtually all fo the major global ones over the last 25 years — that has such an open mindset to aligning to this fast new world.

Bottom line! Think now about the context of risk — in a world in which the future belongs to those who are fast!

 

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