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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.

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!

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 a futurist, I’m often called on by Fortune 1000 organizations to speak at their global leadership meetings, you get a sense as to what CEO’s and senior executives are concentrating on.

Key trend? 10 years ago, the concept of ‘collaboration’ was not. No more – now, it’s speed. And specifically, agility in the executive offices and leadership team. That’s why this is my 3rd trend for 2019 is “The Era of Agility.”

Organizations must now deal with the emergence of new issues, challenges and opportunities faster than ever before. Shortly after I spoke at a retail conference in Las Vegas, I was interviewed on the issue of leadership agility.

It’s a frequent topic on stage – here’s a clip in which I spin the story as to how the concept of ‘agile’ has transitioned from the world of software to the boardroom.

If you’re an IT person, you get it. CEO’s are getting it too.

“Reinvent. Relentlessly!” – #Futurist Jim Carroll

You always need to try to be a new you, because today is a different day. Maybe yesterday’s you won’t be good enough for the you that you need to be today!

Crazy message? Not really – as a species, we have never lived through a more dramatic period of fast paced change.

This stage shot? I’m at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which celebrates the science, insight and inventions of one of the greatest minds of our time, Benjamin Franklin. What a fabulous setting for a dinner keynote a few months ago!

I was actually speaking at an innovation dinner awards celebration for Chemours, a leading global chemicals company. Called the 2018 Chemours Plunkett Awards, the evening celebrated key customers who had achieved breakthrough results through a focus on innovative and creative thinking.

I love awards dinners, and I’ve done quite a few over my 25 year speaking career! Let’s celebrate those who have done great things!

Part of my message to the audience was that continual reinvention though innovation is critical in today’s world. Products go out of date faster than ever before as product lifecycles collapse; fickle consumers can send a brand from hero to zero in moments; there is always a potential competitor around who is eager to ‘steal your lunch.’

So – reinvent!

Fun fact: it was the discovery of one single new chemical substance that permitted Apple to miniaturize the hard drive for the original Apple iPod, leading to the birth of a multi-billion market. Guess how many new chemical substances will be discovered in next 50 years? Billions!

Opportunity abounds in such a reality! This requires a mindset in which the ability to come up with new products is critical, and that is why we celebrate innovation heroes – like those who were in the room this particular evening.

Past glories won’t define your future success – so change yourself. Your track record from the past is irrelevant for the future if you don’t align yourself quickly to new realities. Your old success will not define your new success.

Your ability to reinvent yourself is the essence of your future being. Do it now!

#motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #speakerlife🎙 #innovation

This September, I’ll headline what must be the longest running conference in the energy industry – let alone the event industry.

I’ll focus on the themes found in my energy keynote topic, “Accelerating Energy: Why Science & Technology Are Accelerating the Future Faster Than You Think!”

I put together this promotional event video for them, and recycled another one previously done.

For more insight on these rends, watch this one:

My clients are in love with these promotional event videos … learn how you can arrange for one.

Read the context of this quote.

Then ask yourself this question: when will it happen? I get asked the question a lot; in fact, again yesterday while in the middle of a golf round.

Here’s how I explained the fact that I think it will happen sooner than people think:

  • EV’s involve enormous simplicity compared to carbon/gas cars. Let’s say, a few thousand parts compared to 40-50,000. Anyone can and will get involved.
  • it involves battery storage, and that is a science that is evolving at a furious pace
  • the entire form factor of a car changes once you get rid of a gasoline engine. They’re smaller, more compact, easier to design and build. We’ll be 3d printing them before you know it.
  • cars are essentially becoming hyperconnected computers. Simply put, that speeds up a slow industry to a fast industry. Detroit is no longer in charge – Silicon Valley is.
  • it’s all about the data. Cars didn’t have data. Now they do. And they generate and process lots of data – upwards of 7 gigabytes an hour for self-driving vehicles.

As I explained in one recent keynote: cars and trucks are essentially hyperconnected intelligent-aware computers, being data-gathering and analysis platforms, that become an overall part of a massive new energy grid.

They aren’t really vehicles anymore, but essentially, something that is brand new. When something is new, it turns on the imagination and creativity machine of people world-wide, and that is happening at hyper speed today.

This is why organizations like Mercedes Benz, Chrysler, Volvo, Mac Trucks and others have had me in for my insight on the most transformative industry change occurring in our world today. Learn more from my keynote, “Accelerating the Auto Industry in the Era of Self-Driving Vehicles

Just over 18 months ago, I opened the annual meeting of the United Soybean Board in St. Louis, a group that represents most of the US soybean industry. I was on stage with a message for over 300 soybean farmers about opportunities for future growth. In addition, I spent 2 hours in a private session with the Board of Directors talking about opportunity. To see what I covered, read my blog post from my keynote “Accelerating Innovation: My Time With the United Soybean Board.”

We talked a lot about China and global markets as a big opportunity. Today, the industry is struggling with the fact that they while they spent a lot of time developing China a key market, the country has now targeted their beans with tariffs. They are in the front line of the new global trade war.

Who would have thought? Well, people vote, and votes matter.

With that in mind, watch this video from my good friend Jim Carroll – he’s the head of the Arkansas Soybean Board. Jim and I met when I spoke to this group. It’s a video message with his most recent update to his members – soybean farmers all of them – on their opportunities for innovation.

He’s talking about the same opportunities that I focused on in my keynote: new markets, using soybeans for new products and new opportunities (i.e. meal for fish farming in Egypt), sustainability – the whole idea of not selling ‘beans by the bushel’,’ but selling soybeans for use in different ways for different purposes. Did you know that Ford uses soybeans in seat cushions for cars? That’s an example of the type of innovative thinking occurring in the industry. Continue Reading

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!

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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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