Innovative organizations create a compelling sense of urgency!

Home > Archives

Tagged Work



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.

Continue Reading

#6 – The Gaming Generation Redefines the Future of Work

Farmville redefines farming. Fortnite leads to virtual welding. League of Legends leads to digital twin virtual surgery. These kids accelerate virtual tech, because the skills they have picked up within the gaming world come into the workplace, and redefine the world of work. Gaming and virtual reality collide with robotics and more.

In many of my events, I talk about the real significance of the gaming generation while on stage. You see them playing Fortnite – I see them developing skills for our virtual world and the virtualization of industries.

In your life, you discover real magic when you share the stage with a special needs child who knows nothing but love and joy – and who gives you a fist bump with a huge smile on his face.

That’s what happened on the weekend, when a 26 year young adult with Down syndrome ran up to join me near the stage while I was offering up a few words at the annual Christmas dinner for Events for Life. Thomas Butler, my good friend with the fist bump, unexpectedly came to join me! It made for a moment in a short talk that I won’t soon forget. Watch it now – and listen to my message!

Events for Life is a charitable initiative for special needs young adults in Thornbury, Ontario, near our ski chalet. My wife Christa Carroll is on the Board of Directors; I’m their techie-geek, doing behind the scenes work with their Web site, IT stuff and more. My son Willie Carroll is also fully involved with additional IT support. My other son Tom spends time on the ski hill with both Thomas and the young fellow Michael Simon also mentioned in my talk.

We as a family are fully engaged in this initiative; it is teaching us much about the role that we can play in helping those who might be considered to be less fortunate.

Thomas is a member at my ski club; I’ve experienced the magic of watching and going with him as he snowplows down the hill in his own unique style. He spent 3 hours with me on the hill one day – that meant a lot to me, since I seemed to have broken through. I’ve learned lots!

EFL has had a profound impact on my life, and my understanding of the world around me. If you do anything today, invest some time with some special needs children and adults. They can teach you more about the world than you might ever know.

Visit us at https://eventsfor.life

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

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.

Continue Reading

Last week, in Las Vegas, I was the opening keynote for 3,000 people at the National Fire Protection Association annual conference.

I was asked to limit my remarks to 20 minutes. I don’t do TED talks – it’s difficult to fit in all the trends involving a fast future into a short time span! But I did some work, and cut myself back – and you can see the full (21 minute) talk here….

My unique career today has me providing advice and guidance on the future to organizations all over the world – such as NASA, Disney, Nikon, Johnson & Johnson, Volvo, Mercedes Benz. I find myself on stage in Las Vegas in front of 7,000 people, or in Dubai in front of global executives and government leaders.

Where did it start? I’m not quite sure, but I can repeat verbatim the opening lines of a talk I did in about 1970: “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.

Continue Reading

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know I’ve been doing a series of customized event videos which serve as promos for various client events. They’re short, to the point, and effective. 2-4 minutes in length.

Do they work? I’m headed to Houston right now, and the client reported that after they sent oft the video teaser, attendance registrations went up by 75%

Learn more about how I make them in this clip. The magic comes in two forms – I film in my home green screen studio, and then the magic is added by my awesome overseas video producer in Russia! Armine is actually from Armenia, and works in her day job in the TV scene in Moscow. In her spare time, she helps me out! The result is amazing! Literally. Give this a watch now.

Kick your event up a notch with your own customized video. Watch them here – and contact me for more information.

And stay tuned – we will soon be launching an opportunity for a cool video keynote summary! More details to come.

Send this to a friend