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Future Trends

There’s a lot of big ideas out there, and each one can spark massive industry change — because big ideas increasingly make sense. The result — they aren’t just big ideas anymore, they are the foundation for significant transformation in every industry. A transformation that is now underway -- Jim Carroll



A clip from a conference for hundreds of health care executives in Orlando in December 2010 – I’m speaking to the issue of the rapid emergence of new careers – including the “location intelligence professional.”

Stretch your mind a little – location aware dashboards, health care alerts as to looming health care issues, and new forms of business analytics all of which provide real time insight based on location sensitive knowledge. This is a huge trend unfolding before our very eyes!

For more insight, read my post “Location is the new intelligence” which I wrote last April.

 

Hundreds of thousands have seen Jim Carroll on stage with a keynote focused on future trends, innovation & creativity….with a focus on the trends that will drive their future.

What are the major trends that will shape our world in the future? Here’s what you need to be thinking about now!

How SMALL is your world? Are you thinking BIG enough in terms of just how many big trends are going to impact your future?

Many people ask me how I spend my time in nailing many of the trends that will redefine society, industries, markets and nations into the future….

It involves a lot of research and a great deal of listening to other experts. But it also comes from the fact that I spend my time as a speaker at corporate meetings, massive association events and board retreats, with the resultant opportunity of seeing what many of the most innovative organizations in the world are focused upon. Just take a look at my client list, and you’ll get a sense that I have a constant stream of global executive level insight that drives my view of the future. Take a look at the track record of what I’ve been up to. There’s some pretty solid and significant insight happening here. Take a look at what world class innovators do that others don’t do.

My trending observations also involves a lot of common sense. Take the “expectation gap” which I outline below. This is a pretty significant trend, and it’s pretty well blindingly obvious when you think about it,

So what comes next? Here’s a quick list of 10 trends that you could be thinking about as we go into 2011. I’ve got dozens — no, hundreds — more. Hang out on this blog, track my thoughts, jump in, and let’s continue to innovate our way into the future!

  • the expectation gap: it’s one of the most obvious, most significant, and most challenging trends going forward into the future. Quite simply, Western society is defined by an increasing divergence between what people expect, and what they will get. People expect the world’s greatest health care services; with the aging of society, it is dramatically clear that the system won’t be able to deliver what they expect. Boomers expect that they will have a comfortable retirement pensions; the economic reset and collapsing home values have made it increasingly clear that their hopes will likely have been dashed. People expect that they can live longer, but the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases due to obesity and other factors means that in some areas of the Western world, 60 is the new 70. People expect that they can reduce the size of “big government” but have no sense of just how to go about doing this without a great deal of pain. Whatever the case may be, our future is increasingly defined by this gap, and it is going to have huge ramifications for just about everything around us. And here’s the reality: a lot of organizations are going to make a lot of money in helping to close the gap! Take health care and what is really going to happen in terms of future trends. Huge opportunities for growth!
  • industries blur: In the past, we’ve have “industries” which have focused on particular products and markets. Increasingly, the concept of an “industry” is going to blur as fascinating new trends provide interesting new opportunities. Consider this: the world of fashion and healthcare are going to merge. We are going to see an increasing number of bio-connectivity health care devices that will be used for the remote monitoring of health care conditions. Quite simply, people will increasingly wear small “smart appliances” that will monitor their compliance with exercise programs or that will keep their doctors up to date with key health indicators. But people won’t want to wear medical appliances though: they’ll want to wear fashion! Health-care jewelry anyone?
  • energy gets smart: Clearly we’re going to see continued high-speed innovation with renewable energy sources, and velocity with grid-parity: the point in time at which the cost of producing renewable energy equals that of carbon based sources. Much of this is coming about as Silicon Valley gets aggressively involved in the energy sector Taiwan Semiconductor, one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world, has invested $193 million in solar-cell maker Motech Industries. That’s but a small example of a major trend in which hi-tech companies are getting aggressively involved in every single aspect of the renewable energy marketplace. Just look at what Google is up to with wind-farms off the Eastern Seaboard!
  • the collapse of attention spans: Everything changes when people lose their ability to focus: sports, shopping, living…..the numbers with the next generation of consumers are simply staggering. The average teen sent 435 text messages per month in 2007; it’s now 2899! That’s 97 messages per day, an increase of 566% in just a few years. It’s estimated that they now spend 7.5 hours a day engaged with some type of media screen; if you add in the fact they are multitasking, it comes out to 11 hours of screen time per day — or 53 hours a week. Thats’ more time than involved in a full time job, and more time than their parents spend at work. What’s the impact? Continued hyper-speed in the evolution of branding and advertising; surreal rates of change involving products and services; unbelievable rates of change in how decisions are made and people are influenced. If you don’t know how to think, market and promote at nano-speeds, you’re not ready for the future!
  • faster market evolution: If we’re thinking faster, than we are innovating faster! New products flood the market at ever increasing speeds, and fast-consumers snap them up in a moment and evolve their lifestyles quicker. We’re all going to begin moving at Apple-speed as Silicon Valley increasingly comes to control the pace of innovation in many industries. Put it this way: it took two years for Apple to sell two million iPhones, but only 2 months for them to sell 2 million iPads! And just about a month to sell 1 million iPhone 4’s! We’re seeing the same trend in many other industries and product lines: the business of outsourcing the manufacturing LCD TV’s exploded from $9.4 billion in 2009 to over $21 billion in 2010, and an estimated $30 billion in 2011. Some products are obsolete before they are released: Lenovo learned this fact when they cancelled their planned “tablet computer” this June due to the unbelievably fast success of the iPod with market domination.
  • innovation partnerships. Given this rate of change, companies are quickly learning that in this fast paced world, they can’t innovate on their own; it is simply too difficult to keep up. And they’ve realized that they can enjoy greater success through open innovation and other external innovation partnerships. A great example of what happens when innovation “opens up” is seen with the partnership between consumer appliance maker Phillips and Sarah Lee on the single-serving coffee machines. It’s a market that grew from nothing to 12 million machines and 7 billion coffee “pods” in just 5 short years! Everywhere I go, I see organizations focused on challenging the core concepts of how they do “new things.” There’s a new mindset, and this is going to drive a big part of the growth for organizations going into the future.
  • the fight against workplace boredom. When there’s so much fun and fast change in the world, a job can be a mind-numbing experience. That’s why one survey suggested that 67% of Gen-Y admitted on their very first day on a new job, they were already thinking about another job. Organizations are fighting back against boredom by trying to keep staff engaged. At IBM’s Bromont Canada plant, the “3×10” program aims to combat workplace boredom by changing employees full set of responsibilities 3 times every 10 years. The program is managed by someone who has worked in 10 different jobs within the plant over the last 28 years. Expect within a few years the likelihood that a 3×10 program will have shifted to a 2×1 program….
  • American-Idolatry : People love competition, they love winners, and they relish the battle! Everyone is learning that if they are to succeed in the future, they have to appeal to the new base of hero-worship that comes from our new awards driven society. Everywhere I go, I see companies who are far more willing to celebrate and elevate heroes. DHL holds an annual innovation day which includes an award ceremony with partners who have worked with them on innovative ideas. Deloitte South Africa hosts an annual “Best Company To Work For’ survey and combines into it an elaborate awards ceremony. The future of workplace and partner renumeration is all about the red-carpet, the spotlight, and the celebration of success!
  • the big impact of small incrementalism. Everyone is learning that one way to win the future is by having a lot of small wins that add up to big gains. The oil industry currently retrieves only 1 out of 3 barrels per well on average, yet a 1% improvement represents huge revenue gains! 7% of power on transmission and distribution lines are lost as heat, yet reduce that loss by 10% – and that would equal all the new wind power installed in the US in 2006. Todays’ typical automotive system uses only 25% of the energy in the tank — the balance is lost to waste, heat, inefficiency. Work on increasing that on a year over year basis, and there are some pretty solid gains through innovation. .At DuPont, the savings add up: globally, they now produce 40% more material as a global company using the same amount of energy they used in 1990. Up to 30% of the energy used in a typical industrial or commercial building today is wasted, but new, incremental improvements in green building design and other eco-principles are fixing this fast. Every industry I am dealing with sees small marginal wins adding up to huge tactical advantage! Small is the new winner…
  • communities redefined: there were 37 million senior citizens in the US in 2006, or about 12% of the population. By 2030, there will be 71.5 million of them, representing 20% of the population. Other nations in the Western world are seeing the same trend: we’re all about to become like Japan! And the reality of funding issues means it will be impossible to have the same seniors-housing or assisted living type of infrastructure that we’ve had in the past. The next generation of retirees are going to live at home longer; they’ll live with each other more; the hippies of the 60’s are going to find themselves in the seniors communes of 2015! Community-bliss: far out, man! What does it mean? Communities are going to have to be rethought, re-designed and reconstructed – community ergonomics is going to be a massive growth industry! Overall, we’ll see a lot more growth in high density, compact, mixed-use communities – and a lot of innovative thinking as to just what the concept of ‘community’ means.

These are but a few trends that I’m thinking about. I’ve got HUNDREDS more.

Think about these trends from this perspective: there is a lot of transformative change that is underway.

This is no time to think “small.” This is the time in which you need to be thinking “big.” How “small” is your world: do you have a narrow view of opportunity? The reality is that right now, thinking BIG in terms of opportunity and the future will be crucial to your future success.

What does that does it mean for your future? In the old days, companies had “industries” that they worked within, “markets” that they sold into, and “business models” that they pursued. Assumptions that drove their decisions.

Every single assumption that you might have about your future could be wrong. Challenge those assumptions, think about the rapidity of future trends, innovate — and you’ll find the growth opportunities that seem to elude so many others.

Each year, Deloitte South Africa presents their annual “Best Companies to Work For In South Africa” survey, and coincident with that, they honour companies that show the best talent management practices.

The companies are selected through a diligent process ; the entire event is built around the theme of world class HR and talent management practices.

This year, Deloitte engaged me to provide a “video keynote” that would touch upon the key themes from this years research into the best practices around talent management. The result is the video that you see below. It captures the essence of what makes for successful innovation in todays’ global high velocity economy.

The video was an international effort, with film production /editing done by David Mitchell of RiverBank Pictures of Canada and  further editing/production by FogHound Studios of Johannesburg. It was a true international project. Filmed on location in Toronto, Mississauga, Collingwood, Craigleith and Thornbury, Canada

What happens when Silicon Valley takes over the innovation agenda within an industry? In this video clip from a recent keynote, Jim challenges his audience to think about what happens in the world of banking, particularly with the likely fast paced emergence of contact-less payment technology based on mobile devices.

Innovative organizations need to make sure that they understand the external factors that will influence their future, and need to react appropriately. And as we enter the era of hyper-connected intelligent devices, with the impact of location-intelligence technology and the rapid adoption of mobile technologies, we’re likely to see every industry — even beyond financial services — impacted.

New business models, disruptive competition, a shift in control, customer churn — everything is up for grabs once Silicon Valley seizes control and defines your future!

It’s big, and its’ getting bigger!

That’s the location intelligence industry, which is resulting from the rapid dominance of location-aware mobile devices, the rapid emergence of massive sources of spatial (geographic oriented information, i.e. Google Maps), the rapid user adoption of location-based applications (i.e. iPhone Apps), and a significant amount of innovative thinking as to how to capitalize on these very fast paced trends.

There’s a lot of people building a lot of new businesses around these trends. And it’s happening extremely quickly:

    • in a just-announced test of location based advertising in Finland, MacDonalds’ has reported that location-relevant mobile ads resulted in a 7.0% click-through rate. Of those who clicked through, 39% then used the click-to-navigate option to find the closest restaurant. These are significant numbers
    • one if 4 American’s uses location based mobile services, and half of those who noticed an ad while using such services too some action
  • there has been a 68% increase in the use of mobile mapping and direction services in Europe in ONE YEAR according to comScore
  • MarketResearch.com predicts increases of 37% compound annual growth for mobile advertising and 65% for mobile commerce, influenced by the speed of adoption of location-based services
  • Juniper Research suggests that location based service revenues will top $12.7 billion by 2014, up from $3 billion last year
  • another survey by RCNOS suggested that the mobile locations technologies market will grow at annual compound rates of 20%, reaching $70 billion by 2013, which includes both consumer and business intelligence/application (survey, mapping etc) applications
  • it’s estimated that 1 billion people will access social networks by 2014. Most of them will use some form of location based application as they do so.
  • GPS-enabled mobile phone devices will dominate the technology space, comprising 66% of all GPS devices by 2013

This is pretty significant stuff. Actually, its more than significant – it’s huge. Location is set to lead to significant industry transformation; some pretty dramatic business model disruption (think real estate); changes in consumer behaviour (product promotion and uplift); new business models (mobile, text message based banking which starts out via a proximity relationship.). There’s a huge amount of velocity out there!

There are two angles to the emerging market: consumer (i.e. iPhone) driven applications which will involve marketing, branding, product promotion, customer loyalty, point-of-purchase and a huge variety of other opportunities. The second involves corporate applications such as risk-minimization (i.e. mortgage risk analysis based on spatial data).

Regardless of how you look at, the overall impact of location intelligence is going to be dramatic.

It’s even going to come to impact sports. Here’s a clip from a keynote I gave for 4,000 individuals as the recent National Recreation & Parks Association: “Location intelligence and the future of recreation,” and spoke about the concept of a location intelligence professional.

Location is the new intelligence. And its’ happening faster than you think!

And an increasing number of my keynotes and clients are asking me to focus upon the business opportunities that are emerging in this world. Stay tuned.

Related posts:

  • Location intelligence, financial industries and business model change 
  • Location intelligence and the conference industry
  • Extract from Jim’s book, Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast 

Here’s an interesting clip about the emerging era of “personal energy infrastructure management.” It was filmed at my ski club back in January.


We put the clip together for the folks at CNBC Fast Money; they called expressing interest in the possibility of having a series of future trends vignettes that could be used to spark some discussion on the show. Hence, the reference in the clip as to “what does the Fast Money panel think?”

There’s been no progress yet on a go-ahead, but I thought it was a great clip anyways!

The clip was produced by David Mitchell, who is a long time snowbaord/skiing video professional; he’s currently the producer of the Disney XD show, Shreducation.

Rethinking long term care
February 16th, 2010

Bill Gates once observed that “most people overestimate the amount of change that will occur in two years and underestimate the change that will occur over ten years.”

In this video, I challenge an audience to think longer term, and utilize a 10 to 20 year trend perspective to really understand how a particular industry might change. In this case, the health care transformation, as we move from a world of reactive to preventative health care.

The New Workforce!
December 14th, 2009

A brief video clip on just how different our workforce is set to become ; from a keynote in Salt Lake City in the autumn.


I’ve been speaking about the new challenges of the new workforce for some time; some previous blog posts and articles are below.

  • Blog post: Here We are Now, Entertain Us
  • Related article: Don’t Mess with My Powder, Dude!
  • Keynote topic: What’s Happening with Our Workforce: Achieving Competitive Advantage Through Skills Agility
  • Critical Trends Analysis: 10 Unique Characteristics of 21st Century Skills
Pervasive Connectivity!
December 7th, 2009

I still believe the defining trend of the next decade will involve “pervasive connectivity,” as everything around us “plugs into the cloud” — aka the Internet of Things (#IoT) Here’s a brief video clip from a recent keynote.

Five Big Trends!
November 5th, 2009

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