What Is It?


Rather than outlining the trends that will define 2024 - as he has done in prior years - Futurist Jim Carroll is outlining his thoughts on how to accelerate, thrive, and survive into this new year.

Why it matters

the future is accelerating

Rather than feeling overwhelmed - feel inspired!

Simple inspiration for complex times

24 strategies

One new post each workday until 1/1/2024

#1 - Avoid the Anti-Future Fanatics Play the long game

#2 - Double down on your values and beliefs Simple decency still matters

#3 - Be furiously focused but gloriously distracted Do new stuff

#4 - Be respectful of complexity Stop chasing simplicity

#5 - Elevate your enthusiasm Remind yourself of how good things are!

#6 - Develop MANY superpowers Don't just do one thing

#7 - Recommit to your ethics Do the right thing

#8 - Basically, be boring Strategy Dullsville for the Win!

#9 - Study more science Learn more stuff

#10 - Become known for what really matters Be your better self

#11 - Reinforce a realistic reputation Get things right

#12 - Don't forget the obvious The future is all around you

#13- Be prepared to launch Too many great ideas fail to move forward

#14- Keep an eye on the edges Today and tomorrow is collaboratvie

#15- Shatter some norms It's Taylor Swift's world, and we just live in it

#16- Fail at fewer failed first impressions People are more complex than you think!

#17- Invest in kindness The benefit of being your better self!

#18 - “Be bold in your thinking, and daring in your actions” Soda pop, or tomorrow?

#19 - “Be less ‘artificial’ with your intelligence”” It might kill your creativity

#20 - “Honor every learning curve” Manage the disparity of knowledge

#21 - “Take responsibility” Enough with the excuses already!

#22 - “Stay focused on the ’BIG’ future” Think BIG. Your future will thank you for it!

#23 - “Cast a more skeptical eye towards many trends, forecasts and predictions” Volatility is the new normal in the prediction business!

#24 - “Stop waiting. Start doing.” Get stuff done!

About Jim Carroll


Jim is the world’s leading global futurist, keynote speaker, business trends, and transformation expert, recognized worldwide for his compelling motivational style. He's been booked by Disney, NASA, the World Bank and hundreds more.You probably don't know of him. You should.You can learn more at his Websites.jimcarroll.com

about the series

24 strategies

Starting November 27, one focused idea each day on strategies for moving forward into 2024.Posted each workday until the series is complete on January 1, 2024.You'll find the posts here, and on his main Website at inspiration.jimcarroll.com

about the keynote

Your world in 2024 and the future of everything!

Companies that do not yet exist will build products not yet conceived, with materials not yet in existence, using methodologies not yet developed - and these will be sold to consumers who do not yet know that these new products and services will become a critical part of their lives!
That's the perspective that Futurist Jim Carroll brings to his keynote presentation at association events and corporate leadership meetings - and with that theme in mind, will provide you with a customized, concise overview of the trends that matter into 2024.


"Ignore the prattle of the anti-futurists!"

Negativity doesn't become thee, and yet you are surrounded by it.Ignore it.

Think about it - all of us are surrounded by those who are determined that our belief in a better future is a false hope; that the technologies, trends, and disruptive ideas that we see as opportunities are nothing but a sham of misplaced optimism; that our belief in the trends of tomorrow is misguided and wrong. I learned a long time ago to ignore much of what they say and have usually been right in my decision.And yet as their voices get louder and their ranks steadily increase, it is more important than ever to simply tune them out.If you listen to them, you would think that electric cars are dead, renewables are a hoax, and science is but a plot. They pounce gleefully on any small item or a study that might justify their viewpoint or give them the narrative they want; in doing so betraying their ignorance of the fact that the future is not linear - that goes forward in an uneven path with spikes and twists. And more often than not, in the long run, they are proven to be dead wrong in their predictions.

I first clued into their existence in 1999 when I read the book, The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress. The description of the book on Amazon says it all:Today we have greater wealth, health, opportunity, and choice than at any time in history. Yet a chorus of intellectuals and politicians laments our current condition -- as slaves to technology, coarsened by popular culture, and insecure in the face of economic change. The future, they tell us, is dangerously out of control, and unless we precisely govern the forces of change, we risk disaster.We find ourselves in the midst of the reality of the prediction of this book today, and if you take a look at what is happening, it is a story of dueling headlines.Consider, for example, electric cars. Apparently, the demand for such vehicles is both collapsing and growing at the same time, a pretty remarkable feat!Wheels come off green revolution as demand for electric cars stalls
The Sunday Times, 12 November 2023
Car sales accelerate, with electric vehicles in slow lane
thetimes.co.uk, 6 November 2023
Electric car sales continue to falter: Demand last month dwindled and manufacturers risk falling short of costly EV targets
Mail Online, 7 November 2023
Surge in sales of electric vehicles
The Sun, 17 October 2023
Electric Vehicles Account for a Fifth of California Auto Sales
OPIS News Alerts, 3 November 2023
Volkswagen increases sales of electric vehicles by 45% in January-September
CE NAFTA 2.0-USMCA, 25 October 2023
The anti-futurists seize upon any sign of slowing demand for electric cars to provide proof that it is a failed initiative; what they don't realize is that, as with many trends, the shift to a new transportation platform built on batteries and the elimination is a trend that in the long term is a basic reality. The technology, economics, transformative investments, and climate significance are far too advanced at this point to turn the trend around, let alone eliminate it.Similarly, we are told that renewable energy is but a folly, a disastrous choice, a fool's errand - that it will never be able to provide the reliability of supply demanded by a modern functioning economy. The headlines and reality betray that storyline though; I can pick just a few that are indicative of what is really happening.Renewables meet 67% of Portugal's power demand in Oct
Renewables Now, 6 November 2023
Georgia Power seeks to add 10 GW of renewables by 2035 amid soaring demand
Platts Energy Trader, 30 October 2023
Investments in renewables need to triple to meet demand sustainably: Report
Northeast Now, 27 October 2023
And yes, I am cherrypicking my own optimistic future-oriented narrative. Yet such numbers also lay bare the dramatic economic impact of this trend: renewables have created more jobs than the fossil fuel industry in the US from 2016 to 2019, as it has become cheaper to build and maintain this new infrastructure instead of fossil fuel power plants.Some simple facts:

  • from 2016 to 2019, renewables added 207,000 jobs, double that of oil and gas.

  • in 2019, 3.36 million people worked in renewables, compared to 1.19 million in fossil fuels.

  • Only eight states, including Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, have more fossil fuel jobs than renewable ones.

As for unreliability?

  • The highest percentage of renewable energy generation in Texas was 23.7% in a single day

  • California achieved a record of 97% renewable energy generation on its power grid for a brief period

  • several countries, especially in Africa, have high percentages of renewable energy use in general. For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo uses 96.24% renewable energy and the Central African Republic uses 91.26%.

Of course, not everyone who expresses negatively about the future is agenda-oriented.Some people are uncomfortable with change, especially rapid or unfamiliar changes. The future often is a great unknown, and for some, the unknown is frightening. This leads to a desire to cling to the familiar or the past. Others are caught up in a nostalgia dream, clinging to a past that no longer exists. Others have very real technology anxiety - the rapid advancements in technology around us today can be absolutely overwhelming. For others, it is actual technological fear, where they are doomstering to the beat of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and genetic engineering. And yes, there are economic concerns, where changes in the economy, driven by technological advancements and globalization, are leading to job losses in certain sectors.I certainly take my time to listen to and understand the concerns, worries, and viewpoints of these many disparate groups.But where I have learned to close my mind is to those who are agenda-driven, guided by a political viewpoint that is not grounded in reality, or in other cases, with those who have gone down the rabbit hole of madness, lost in the swirling delusions of what were once brilliant minds. As a futurist - someone who simply studies obvious future trends and interprets them for people around me - I dub this group the 'anti-futurists.' They are caught in the trap of being anti-future as predicted in Virginia Postrel's book of more than 30 years ago.It's in your best interest to ignore them, rather than fight them, and save your energies for the trends, opportunities, and optimism that tomorrow represents, and for the action that matters.Ignore their prattle and their babble, and carry on.


"Double down on your values and beliefs"

2024 is going to be wild. Do your best to navigate it with what is true to your heart.

2024 is going to be wild.It would seem to be a fair statement that most people who have an optimistic view of the future align themselves with actions that might help to build that better future. More often than not, that future involves one that is equitable, fair, caring, and devoid of hate.Hence, our world has been defined by actions around climate change as found within the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) framework, initiatives with respect to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), battles against racism and hate, the rights of individuals to live their life peacefully according to their own sexual identity, the right of a woman to choose, and so much more. Many organizations have established very specific actions elevating the role of women and marginalized racial groups within leadership and in the workforce, boosting opportunities for marginalized populations, reducing their carbon footprint, and more.And of course, all this stuff has been very much under attack in the last few years.Going forward, your values and beliefs are going to be tested mightily in the coming year. That's why strategy #2 in my 24 Strategies 2024 is to "double down on your values and beliefs."I won't bother diving into the politics that define the angry backlash against a caring society, other than to say that, as well know, 2024 is going to be much, much worse than what we've seen in the last few years. And yet, even as people and organizations have found their initiatives under relentless attack, they've continued to push back on these efforts, and indeed, seem to be doubling down on their commitment to the cause.You should too.Consider a few recent observations. No doubt, companies are feeling the heat:U.S. companies' diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are losing momentum this year after the Supreme Court's June affirmative action ruling, per a consulting firm's new report.Why it matters: The slowdown is a reversal from the explosion in corporate DEI after George Floyd's killing pushed companies to act to address racial inequality.* "2023 has undeniably shifted the DEI landscape for years to come," write the authors of a report out Monday from DEI consulting firm Paradigm.* "External forces are no longer pushing companies to invest in DEI; instead, in some cases, external forces are pushing back on companies' investment in DEI."The DEI backlash is here
27 November 2023, Axios
Even so, in the face of the attacks, a pushback is underway.Reality check: A backlash is rising, possibly because the DEI efforts made in 2020 had a real impact.* 94% of the headcount increase at large firms in 2021, from the previous year, stemmed from hiring people of color, according to a Bloomberg analysis of 88 S&P 100 firms.* Many companies, for their part, still say they're committed to diversity, equity and inclusion.Even so, they are pushing backThe DEI backlash is here
27 November 2023, Axios
Many of my keynotes will include references by the client to their DEI and ESG initiatives; indeed, for a talk in Bosotn last month for a vast number of Fortune 500 executives, it was stressed to me that my talk on AI must include some context and reference to the overall goals of ESG. Interesting!What is also interesting is that while pushback against investment firms has been pronounced, it would seem that they too are staying the course, because, well, for them, it's simply good business!The vast majority of senior investors and business executives are planning to increase ESG investment over the next 5 years, with each group anticipating a range of benefits from a greater ESG focus, including 90% of investors expecting enhanced returns, and executives seeing improved access to capital and corporate reputation, according to a new survey released by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI).One of the report’s key findings was that the trend of increasing focus on ESG by both businesses and investors over the past few years appears to remain intact, despite various backlash headlines, with around three quarters of executives reporting that the benefits of ESG are worth the increased risk of greenwashing scrutiny, and more than half of investors saying that the political pushback on ESG in the U.S. has actually led them to focus on ESG more than ever before, and another 31% reporting that it has not affected their ESG strategy. A large majority of both groups, including 90% of investors and 67% of executives acknowledged that ESG has entered the mainstream.Investors, Businesses to Increase ESG Investment Despite Greenwashing Scrutiny & Political Pushback: Bloomberg Survey
13 November 2023, ESG Today
The result is that investments in such initiatives are actually increasing in the face of hostile opposition:Even so, the first quarter of this year saw a return to growth in Australia, with $US11.9 billion ($18.3 billion) of issuance across sustainability, social and green bonds and loans, up from $US8.4 billion in the last quarter of 2022 – but below 2022’s record first quarter of $US16.4 billion – according to Westpac’s quarterly sustainable finance update. Global issuance of $US338.4 billion was down just 1 per cent on the last quarter of 2022 (and 14 per cent on 2022’s first quarter).As ESG defies pushback, we should embrace it to define future markets
3 June 2023, AFR Online
At the same time, organizations continue to staff up:More than half of US asset managers see ESG as a high priority, and many are adding staff to support that.It’s a tough time to be sustainable funds shop, as political backlash and performance drags have put the sector in an unwanted spotlight.Yet asset managers are sticking to their guns — or at least their gun-free investment strategies.According to reports this week from Cerulli Associates and ISS, U.S. fund companies continue to see potential in ESG, with many expanding their product range and staffing up to support it.Fund shops focused on ESG despite pushback, reports show
18 May 2023, Investment News
This is leading to an interesting situation, in that 2024 will involve more examination of the bottom-line impact of a caring, forward-oriented society:Adeline Diab, Global ESG Research and Strategy Director at Bloomberg Intelligence, said:“ESG has moved from a fringe concern, to mainstream and finally, to a mandated necessity. We expect 2024 to be about ESG accountability and an era where investor-corporate dialogue will be vital, 60% of investors hold companies answerable on ESG, while 40% of executives face ESG questions on over half their investor calls. I firmly believe that scrutiny will help shape a more credible ESG market overtime.”Investors, Businesses to Increase ESG Investment Despite Greenwashing Scrutiny & Political Pushback: Bloomberg Survey
13 November 2023, ESG Today
Strategies for 2024?In my own case, I'm going to spend more time committing to my beliefs and values. I expect the year to be one full of emotional turmoil as we have to navigate the wild ride that has become living in the 21st century. My core values were defined early in my life, and I have no intention of abandoning them any time soon, even in the face of relentless and withering opposition.I am hopeful, as always, for the long game, believing in my heart that perhaps basic human decency will eventually win out.


"Be furiously focused but gloriously distracted"

There’s a lot of new stuff. You should try to be as involved with as much of it as you can.

Be the dog from the movie Up!

That’s why strategy #3 of my “24 Strategies for 2024” is to be focused but distracted!

What? Think of it this way – do what you need to do in your ‘day job,’ but keep busy at your ‘future job!’ Spend time in your current life, but actively explore your future life! The basis for this thinking is that there is going to be more new stuff, coming at us faster than ever before. Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to understand it faster?Last year, I ran my series “23 Trends for 2023”, and it continues to draw a lot of interest to this day. Statistics show me that the most heavily visited post is this one: #8 – Knowledge Velocity.My opening comment in that post is prescient:It used to be about what you know. Now it’s not only about what you know, but how fast you need to know it!To recap, the post puts into perspective the rapid acceleration of knowledge. In 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years; by the end of 1945, the rate had come down to every 25 years; by 1982, every 13 months; and today, with the arrival of the Internet and AI, some suggest it is now doubling every 12 hours. As I often say, I don’t know about you, but to me…Think about it another way. It’s taken the entirety of human history to reach the zettabyte era, and in less than 10 years we’re expecting that number to multiply by 175. (What’s a zettabyte? A ridiculously big number. Look it up!)That’s the velocity of information growth. Now keep in mind that the rapid growth of new knowledge leads to the arrival of a lot more new stuff.You need to continuously explore that stuff. What is that stuff?

  • the continued arrival of new products and services that didn’t previously exist

  • new careers, new jobs, new skills

  • new business models and concepts

  • new methodologies by which people organizations can collaborate and share knowledge

  • new ways of doing things

  • new knowledge and creativity tools (hello AI!)

  • new ways of tackling old problems.

Jon Erlichman, the tech, stocks & business history analyst on BNNBloomberg, takes delight in posting about “things that didn’t exist on Thanksgiving 20 years ago:”An iPhone, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Reddit, Gmail, WhatsApp, Bitcoin, Uber, Airbnb, Instacart, DoorDash, Netflix streaming, Amazon Prime, Google Maps, Tesla cars, iPads, Fitbits, Zoom, FaceTime and SpaceX Falcon 1.Consider what wasn’t around in 2007, but is now such a big part of so many lives.

What might yet be invented or brought to life that we can not yet imagine? When this fellow predicted the eventual all-in-one iPhone eight years previous to its release, he was subjected to a bit of ridicule.

In essence, the arrival of the iPhone meant that this fellow didn’t have to carry around any of these devices anymore:

A few weeks ago, in a local community Facebook group, someone asked a simple question – did anyone have a 3d printer they could use to ‘print’ a broken leg for a Christmas tree stand?

Such a question might have been imaginable 10 years ago – except to those aware of the revolution that was coming with 3d printing technology. Today, this type of thing is routine. (They didn’t find a solution and ended up having to buy a new base. I do know someone suggested the local library, but that 3d printer was booked up till mid-January! But the fact that the question was asked tells me where we are today.)Remember all that drama at OpenAI a few weeks ago? Some folks think that it might be related to this moment. from a few days prior:

That’s Sam Altman, announcing the arrival of custom GPTs and plans for a new GPT store. What’s that? Basically, are about to see the arrival of a massive flood of new AI-based apps, doing specific things on specific subjects and specific knowledge that we might not yet even be able to imagine.Imagine living without Google Maps or the other tools that are now a part of our lives – and now to think about what might still come with such new tools. As I stated to an audience in Hawaii a few weeks ago, just a few years from now, we will be walking around with new ‘AI apps’ on our phones, in our cars, and in everyday devices, that will seem indispensable, and yet are unimaginable at this very moment in time.Tomorrow’s inconceivable idea is being invented right now. I know I repeat this phrase a lot, but it bears repeating again:Companies that do not yet exist will build products not yet conceived using materials not yet invented, with methodologies not yet in existence, based on ideas and innovations yet to be pursued, with knowledge that has not yet been generated.So back to my strategy for 2024. Immerse yourself in tomorrow – find the tools – understand what’s happening – explore more! It is your job to get involved with those things as soon as you can. Test them, work with them, play with them, think about them.They will probably be a part of your life and career tomorrow. Wouldn’t it make sense to understand them sooner?


"Be respectful of complexity"

The future takes hard work. Stop chasing simplicity.

The future isn’t easy. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work.Nowhere is that fact more relevant right now than with what is happening with AI. As the number of events I take on in the space and the number of inquiries I get for senior executive corporate events on the topic, it’s pretty clear that for many, AI has become some sort of wonderful easy thing that you simply drop in – and magic happens. AAnd as most of us know, nothing could be further from the truth.It’s the latest shiny object in a long list of such objects.Don’t get me wrong – there is something wonderfully significant here that is going to have massive implications, both good and bad. And yet, I know three things are true. First, most people tend to overestimate the impact of any technology or trend in the short term but underestimate it in the long term. Second, AI is not ‘one’ thing – it’s just a phrase that has been applied to a whole series of fast-evolving technologies, including large language models, machine learning, machine vision, and so much more, all of which are at different stages of maturity and sophistication. Third, while ChatGPT and other large-language-model systems are all the rage, they are but a small part of what is going on – the real magic is happening with robots and cobots and machine vision and machine intelligence and beyond.That’s why Strategy #4 in my series of 24 Strategies for 2024 is straightforward: appreciate complexity – with respect to AI and everything else.

The future isn’t easy. In fact, it takes a lot of hard work.Nowhere is that fact more relevant right now than with what is happening with AI. As the number of events I take on in the space and the number of inquiries I get for senior executive corporate events on the topic, it’s pretty clear that for many, AI has become some sort of wonderful easy thing that you simply drop in – and magic happens. AAnd as most of us know, nothing could be further from the truth.It’s the latest shiny object in a long list of such objects.Don’t get me wrong – there is something wonderfully significant here that is going to have massive implications, both good and bad. And yet, I know three things are true. First, most people tend to overestimate the impact of any technology or trend in the short term but underestimate it in the long term. Second, AI is not ‘one’ thing – it’s just a phrase that has been applied to a whole series of fast-evolving technologies, including large language models, machine learning, machine vision, and so much more, all of which are at different stages of maturity and sophistication. Third, while ChatGPT and other large-language-model systems are all the rage, they are but a small part of what is going on – the real magic is happening with robots and cobots and machine vision and machine intelligence and beyond.That’s why Strategy #4 in my series of 24 Strategies for 2024 is straightforward: appreciate complexity – with respect to AI and everything else.

Where are we today? It’s early days yet. Earlier this week, I had a long conversation with one of the main authorities on AI at SAP, one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world. Essentially, SAP is behind much of the technology that powers a vast number of organizations – the stuff that helps them manage supply chains, inventory, manufacturing, financial and HR systems and so much more. Think of such systems as being the nervous system of today’s modern corporation.Here’s what they told me, shared with permission.Between Oct 1 and November 15, we collected data from about 430 companies on their AI journey, their AI interest, and the different “AI use cases” they were bringing to us. This was largely from CTO, CFO, and CIO audiences. See below a few facts.

  • 21% brought us use cases that required generative AI, 44% required more traditional machine learning/predictive analysis type solutions, and nearly 1/3 of all requests could be solved without any AI at all!

  • Only 3% (12) had a live use case of Generative AI that had resulted in a return on investment.

  • Of those 12, 10 were using the exact same use case: Level 1 ticketing responses either for customer call centers or internal IT.

  • 43% had officially funded GenerativeAI projects, while 96% were experimenting with genAI in some form.

  • Of the CTO/CIO audience, only 16% are planning to build & train their own ML models or LLMs.

  • the rest are looking to technology vendors like SAP, Salesforce, etc. to provide ‘out of the box’ pre-trained AI.

Let me parse this for you.

  • first and foremost, AI is complex!

  • second, fewer than one in five projects today involve technologies such as the type of thing you are working with such as ChatGPT; the majority involve predictive technologies which have already been available to us for quite some time

  • third, the benefits of actually using things like ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing in a corporate form are pretty elusive so far

  • fourth, most of those actual applications are simply to provide the ability for people to ‘talk’ to a customer support system using AI. You can do the exact same thing on my Website right now – go click the little ‘Ask AI’ button you see at the top right. I’m thrilled that my main AI implementation so far echoes what most big companies have done. (-;

  • most major companies are at the point right now of just playing around with AI, trying to figure out its strategic impact and purpose

  • few are trying to ‘do’ AI on their own – most plan on using their existing technology partners to help them get there, once they figure out where ‘there’ is


"Elevate your enthusiasm!”

For all the whining and complaining of those around you, it’s a great time to be alive!

For all the whining and complaining of those around you, it’s a great time to be alive!Focus on that.It’s strategy #5 on my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

Think about where we find ourselves in the world today – we are seeing massive advancements and progress with medicine and healthcare, business models and strategic thinking, technological progress and new inventions, sociological and cultural conditions, and more.Here’s a list of 101 reasons why it is a great time to be alive ‘today,’ compared to previous years, decades, and centuries – the basis for why you should ‘elevate your enthusiasm!’

  1. Telemedicine: Access to healthcare from remote locations – with the trend accelerated as a result of the pandemic

  2. Civic Engagement Platforms: Easier involvement in governance.

  3. Digital Banking and Online Transactions: Easier and faster financial transactions, saving you time and effort.

  4. Sustainable Business Practices: Increasing corporate responsibility and accountability despite pushback

  5. Renewable Energy: Massive acceleration of the technologies behind solar, wind, and other sustainable sources.

  6. More Space Exploration: Commercial spaceflight, leading to new discoveries, technologies, and space-based innovation platforms, as well as new forms of thinking about space tourism

  7. Mental Health Awareness: A greater understanding throughout society, and destigmatization of multiple conditions.

  8. Cultural Diversity: Increased awareness and appreciation for different values and ideas.

  9. Music Streaming: Access to global music libraries through multiple devices.

  10. Recycling and Upcycling Movements: Reduced waste with the arrival of the ‘Circular Economy’

  11. Podcasting: A new era of storytelling with access to a vast range of different ideas, topics, and concepts

  12. Electric Vehicles: Reducing dependency on fossil fuels as a result of the acceleration of multiple trends.

  13. Blockchain: Enhanced security in digital transactions, despite the collapse of cryptocurrency ideas.

  14. Artificial Organs and Prosthetics: Enhancing quality of life, coming at us at a furious speed

  15. AI in Diagnosis: More accurate and faster disease detection, reducing cost and improving diagnosis

  16. Internet of Things (IoT): Smart, interconnected devices that lead to the smart home and smart factory

  17. Nanotechnology: Pioneering minute, impactful innovations as a result of the miniaturization of science

  18. Water Purification Technologies: Access to clean water for a great portion of the global population

  19. Stem Cell Research: Potential for regenerative medicine and other new forms of medical science

  20. Vaccines and Immunization: Eradication and control of many diseases for mature societies and individuals

  21. Online Education: Accessible learning for all on a vast number of subjects and topics

  22. Antimatter Research: Exploring the fundamentals of matter, leading to the potential for unimaginable discoveries

  23. Human Rights Advances: Progress in equality and freedom, albeit not in a linear way as hate still rears its ugly head

  24. Green Economy: Growth in environmentally sustainable jobs, companies, and opportunities

  25. Urban Green Spaces: Improving city living environments through new architectural ideas

  26. Biodiversity Studies: Understanding ecosystem intricacies to try to save critical species

  27. Meteorological Advances: Better weather prediction models that impact our everyday lives

  28. E-Commerce: Revolutionized shopping experiences and instant access to new products

  29. Gig Economy: Flexible, independent work opportunities that create new jobs and awesome lifestyle opportunities

  30. Sustainable Agriculture: Environmentally friendly farming methods that are respectful of climate science

  31. Smartphones: Unprecedented connectivity and resources – little magical ‘do-everything’ machines

  32. Gene Editing (CRISPR): Potential cures for genetic disorders and disease

  33. Public Transport Innovations: Eco-friendly urban mobility based on small form factors and more

  34. Crowdfunding: Democratizing funding for ideas and products through global connectivity

  35. Independent Film Making: More voices in cinema, with a reduction to the cost of entry of storytelling and fact-telling

  36. Global Health Initiatives: Reducing disparities in healthcare access through new thinking

  37. Community Gardens: Urban greening and local produce, providing people with a greater connection to their world

  38. Wearable Health Monitors: Empowering personal health management.

  39. Vertical and Urban Farming: solving food problems by ‘going up’ and ‘going in’

  40. Quantum Computing: Potential for extraordinary computing power and new forms of technology

  41. Global Connectivity: Bringing the world closer through the Internet and platforms built on top of it

  42. Green Architecture: Sustainable and energy-efficient building designs.

  43. Advanced Surgical Techniques: Less invasive, more effective surgeries through new devices, technologies, and virtualization concepts

  44. Social Media: Platforms for expression and activism, as well as information sharing

  45. Hubble and James Webb Telescopes: Unveiling cosmic mysteries.

  46. Carbon Neutrality Goals: Commitments to reduce carbon footprints through significant infrastructure and other investments

  47. Deep Sea Exploration: Discovering new marine species and ecosystems as well as more insight into environmental risk

  48. Cultural Festivals: Celebrating diversity and heritage to try to advance our societies

  49. Personalized Medicine: Treatments tailored to individual genetic profiles.

  50. Environmental Education: Growing emphasis in curriculums and business programs

  51. Street and Digital Art Movements: Urban landscapes as art canvases, accelerating creativity.

  52. 3D Printing: Revolutionizing manufacturing and customization, allowing people to solve new problems and invent new ideas

  53. Global Supply Chains: Efficient and wide-reaching systems that allow any product from anywhere on the plant to get anywhere else in less than 72 hours

  54. Social Entrepreneurship: More businesses tackling social and environmental issues.

  55. Remote Work: Flexibility and global collaboration, as well as lifestyle enhancement

  56. Diversity in Media Representation: More inclusive storytelling.

  57. Eco-tourism: Travel that respects nature and communities, and increases our appreciation for environmental fragility

  58. Virtual Reality (VR): New realms of experience and interaction with both real and mystical worlds

  59. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Large Language Models: Transforming industries and daily life through new forms of knowledge and interaction such as ChatGPT

  60. Globalized Cuisine: Culinary diversity and fusion trends – think about the idea of food trucks!

  61. Advanced Communication Technologies: Continued breakthroughs in how we connect globally.

  62. Robotics in Industry: Automation improving efficiency and safety while providing opportunities to take advantage of advances in AI

  63. Open Source Software Movement: Democratizing access to technology through global collaborative efforts

  64. Technology Miniaturization: Fastincaitng little devices that surround you in your daily life, doing things unimaginable just a few years ago

  65. Growth of Renewable Energy Jobs: Career opportunities in the fast emerging green energy economy.

  66. Augmented Reality (AR) Applications: Enhancing real-world experiences; bringing the idea of a ‘heads-up’ display to everyday jobs and careers

  67. Breakthroughs in Battery Technology: Longer-lasting, sustainable energy storage leading to the reinvention of the automotive, energy and other industries

  68. Expansion of Wildlife Corridors: Protecting natural animal habitats through innovative thinking

  69. Innovative Education Methods: Personalized and interactive learning experiences

  70. Advances in Food Technology: Creating sustainable and nutritious options by the accelerating of food science.

  71. Progress in Gender Equality: Strides in balancing rights and opportunities for everyone.

  72. Developments in Transportation Safety: Making travel safer through advanced ideas and technologies

  73. Global Literacy Improvements: More access to education throughout the world

  74. Youth Empowerment Movements: Young voices shaping the future and getting involved in democracy. (We’re hopeful!)

  75. Growth in Microfinance: Supporting small businesses in developing regions with technology, mobile devices, and new business models

  76. Advancements in Emergency Response: Faster, more efficient disaster relief based on targeted thinking

  77. Increased Access to Libraries and Information: Knowledge for everyone, particularly through digitization

  78. Cultural Preservation Efforts: Safeguarding diverse traditions and languages, with AI suddenly accelerating the opportunities

  79. Expansion of Clean Energy: Innovations in solar, wind, and hydropower.

  80. The YouTube Education Degree: the emergence of a generation that builds their knowledge online

  81. Growth of Eco-Friendly Products: More options for sustainable living.

  82. Improvements in Emergency Medicine: Faster, more effective responses based on advanced medical science and new forms of medical collaboration

  83. Expansion of Mental Health Services: More resources and support for those who struggle

  84. Enhanced Internet Access Worldwide: Bridging the digital divide through satelitte and other technologies

  85. Developments in Non-Invasive Medical Procedures: Safer diagnostic methods through ‘microdevices.

  86. Innovations in Public Health: Better disease prevention and control, particularly through ‘big data’

  87. Advances in Agricultural Efficiency: More sustainable food production through concepts of ‘precision farming’

  88. Growth of Fitness and Wellness Culture: Emphasis on healthy living for those who choose to participate

  89. Progress in Animal Rights and Welfare: Better conditions for animals through eco-sensitivity

  90. Innovations in Home Automation: Making homes smarter and more efficient with new ideas, technologies and connectivity

  91. Advancements in Biodegradable Materials: Reducing environmental impact with innovations in science and packaging

  92. Improvements in Air Quality: Efforts to reduce pollution world

  93. Advances in Neurotechnology: Understanding and enhancing brain function, with brain science being the next major medical frontier

  94. Accelerating Science: through new forms of global collaboration and accelerated discovery

  95. New Business Ideas and Business Models:

  96. Generational Diversity: a younger generation that is more open to new ideas

  97. Working at Speed: organizations that can work faster

  98. Accelerated Innovation: Faster production invention and reinvention with the

  99. Longer Life Expectancy: for some, 100 is the new 80

  100. New Entertainment Options: Netflix, Spotify, streaming and more!

  101. Inspiration and Motivation: the existence of regular posts such as Jim Carroll’s Daily Inspiration series

What am I missing? And yes, there might be some duplication, but it’s 5:42 AM as I write this!Bottom line? Lighten up! It’s a great time to be alive.Accelerate your enthusiasm for this fact every moment that you can!


"Develop MANY superpowers!”

You shouldn’t excel at one thing – you should be capable of many things!

At least that’s my thinking, and it’s strategy #6 on my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

Where am I going with this strategy? Let's start with this observation - if you spend any time on LinkedIn, you'll have noticed that it has become tremendously busy as of late, a consequence of the meltdown of another once-popular social media platform. It's also kind of a weird place, as people tend to use it to share their key ideas for success and the future or to boast about their success. Spend too much time there and you can easily deflate your ego, thinking that you are not accomplishing as much as other people!

This is particularly true if you follow motivational speakers, leadership experts, or ... trends forecasters. If you are like me, you will have noticed an increasing tendency in which many of these people are suggesting that you should focus on 'finding your superpower,' the idea seems to be that if you can just double down your efforts at mastering just one thing, you will have found a secret path to success.

What is ‘superpower’ thinking all about? Wikipedia weighs in:The concept of developing a “superpower” in the areas of leadership, speaking, human resources, and motivation seems to be a trend. This idea involves identifying and enhancing a specific skill or quality that can set an individual apart in their professional role. For example, some of the suggested leadership superpowers include compassionate curiosity, the ability to articulate and clarify one’s own wants and needs, sustainability, and the ability to motivate for short-term goals.The industry in which I work regularly promotes the idea of superpowers, with many motivational speakers building an entire keynote around their own ‘superpower,’ and using the stage to inspire and motivate others to find their own. They suggest that you should just show passion for a topic or skill to master it; or enhance your internal confidence, with the idea that the simple process of believing in yourself will excel you to excellence, or that mastering communication skills is all you need to get by. Success – it’s simple! Find your superpower and exploit it! Focus on your superpower, and you will master it tomorrow!I’m not a big fan of this type of thinking, particularly given the complexity of the world around us; indeed, I think you should focus on having many ‘superpowers,’ or even many ‘super-micro-powers,’ as it were. Indeed, I wrote about this some months back when I suggested that “You should always have too many interests and not enough time!”

Sure, “superpowers’ might exist in some particular skill niches – piano virtuosos for example, or other artistic, sports, or niche areas of knowledge. But developing superpowers through a concentrated effort? The idea might be supported by anecdotal evidence or observations of successful leaders and managers who have demonstrated exceptional abilities – but to be honest, there’s no real evidence that if you just concentrate enough you can find and develop your own superpower.I believe that you either have it or you don’t, and you could spend a lot of time chasing a superpower while you could be more wisely investing that time in developing many different skills – and hence, many different ‘superpowers.’ That means focusing on the idea of multipotentiality. Once again, Wikipedia weighs in:A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no one true calling the way specialists do.Or, as my wife said, “a jack of all trades, a master of none.”What is common to multipotentiality? Going back to my earlier post:It seems they are relentless in learning — new knowledge is the process, and new experience is the goal. They have excessive levels of creativity, often combined with a lack of focus. Exploration and curiosity are the foundation for a new world — today is just a stepping stone into a different tomorrow. They are often told by others that they should conform, align to expectations, not deviate from a path, and be like everyone else — but the simple fact is — they cannot. They often suffer from a deficit of attention and focus that is sometimes diagnosed. They believe that learning new skills is more important than mastering one skill. They don’t usually fit well into existing careers and structures! The boredom of routine is deadly, and there is little patience for structure.Think about the world around you today and into 2024. We are surrounded by the acceleration of new knowledge and new ideas; new trends and opportunities; new business models and radical forms of thinking; and new technologies and concepts. There is so much to learn, so much to explore, and so much to master. Immerse yourself in many different things to figure out how to get by, rather than spending your time trying to master one thing – because our world is too complex to narrow and limit our thinking!Don’t chase your superpower – chase many superpowers, even if you master none of them. That’s been my strategy in the past and will continue to drive what I do through and into 2024.


"Recommit to your ethics"

With AI, we are on the edge of an era of mass misinformation at scale.Will you do the right thing?

With AI, we are on the edge of an era of mass misinformation at scale.Will you do the right thing?I’m presuming that you’ve already got a firm ethical grounding in place, so that’s not a question. But given what’s coming, our ability to skirt the lines of ethical behavior might be challenged like never before. The world we are going into with AI is going to be wild.Look, we all know that we can already generate images that bear no resemblance to reality – you’ve seen me doing this with the various face-swap images I’ve been posting of myself in various settings. Here’s me in the greaseball stage of my life.

I’m doing this mostly for fun, and simply to point out that we are witnessing fascinating technological advancements at a furious speed.And yet it’s also pretty obvious that we are only moments away from being able to do the same type of thing with full-motion video and audio – we’re headed to a world in which anyone will have the capability to, generate completely realistic clips of anyone saying anything in their own voice. Have you seen the video of Leonardo DiCaprio addressing the UN in multiple different voices, all AI-generated?

This clip is already 9 months old, which is a lifetime in AI years It’s already actually kind of trivial to do this type of thing – but what is coming at us is the ability to generate completely fake images and video that purport to show anything. The 2024 election in the US? It’s going to be wild. Did I mention that already?Through all this, will you commit to always doing the right ethical thing – in essence, recommitting to the ethical grounding that has guided you so far? That’s strategy #7 in my 24 Strategies for 2024, and it’s an important one.

One of the things I’m talking about at my corporate AI leadership sessions – based on my AI for Leadership Teams topic track – is the importance of what we are calling “AI Governance.” Essentially, it’s a phrase that describes the framework that an organization should have in place concerning issues such as bias mitigation in an AI model, as well as around security and privacy issues involving AI (such as making sure that corporate information isn’t injected into a large-language model by someone using an AI tool.) But it also has to do with the ethics, morality, and integrity of the various actions that should guide the use of AI by the organization.In other words, always doing the right thing when it comes to AI – you know, issues involving stuff like corporate ethics, responsibility, and integrity.You probably need a personal AI governance framework as well – because we are headed for absolutely wild times! (Did I mention that?)Think about where we are already. There certainly has been a fair share of recent egregious examples where organizations are skirting what should be clearly defined corporate bounds. You might have seen two recent new challenges that have emerged just in the last – one of which has to do with AI, and the other of which does not, but which is worth sharing because it is simply such an unbelievable situation.First, Sports Illustrated got caught generating AI-based articles using entirely fictitious writers. It was easily confirmed by the folks at Futurism; for example, they suspected that some articles were bogus, and did a simple reverse image search on one of the purported writers to find that their image was available for sale on a stock footage site. It’s a crazy story and an example of what happens when AI governance issues are not properly respected.

The second story involves a tech conference that featured an impressive number of female speakers on the agenda – until someone discovered that all of them were entirely fake, falsified, and simply made up. You can read the story here – actually, just search and you’ll find hundreds of articles related to the bizarre situation – and a pretty extreme example of a pretty major ethical lapse.

Marsh Mclennan, a risk management firm, has an excellent overview of corporate AI governance issues:To mitigate risks and realize the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), businesses need to have a governance framework that is based on intent, fairness, transparency, safety, and accountability.The explosion in AI usage by businesses over the past few years has driven an unmistakable inflection in innovation, efficiency, and profitability. However, as the technology grows in sophistication and ubiquity, it becomes increasingly difficult both to monitor and understand how the algorithms derive outputs and to anticipate downstream ramifications for a firm’s business processes as well as society at large.This opacity can expose businesses—and those individuals and communities dependent on them—to undesirable consequences in the absence of appropriate risk management mechanisms. A poorly deployed AI solution may result in suboptimal decisions based upon flawed outputs and diminished returns on technology investments. Enduring reputational damage may arise if businesses sell or otherwise capitalize on sensitive data and analytical or behavioural insights obtained in inappropriate ways.This type of AI governance has to do with the integrity of the algorithm we have in place – there should not be bias built into the algorithm. But responsible AI use goes far beyond that, to always ensuring that we are always doing the right thing.The same type of thinking should guide our use of AI and other technologies. We always need to be thinking – particularly in the era of social media and fast-moving information – about issues involving our own reputational risk, personal integrity, and more.I mentioned months ago that way back in 2001, after the Enron scandals and dot.com collapse, I started writing a book with the working title Integrity: How to Get It. How to Keep It. I abandoned it, several chapters in, because I realized it wasn’t my topic to chase – but it was reflective of my mindset at the time; I was particularly in shock not only at Enron but the ethical collapses that occurred during those infamous ‘dot-com years.’

The “How to Get It” phrase was a play on words, specifically challenging the reader to rethink the issue of ethics – how to ‘get it’ again, in light of the Enron scandal and so much more that was going on at the time.I think with the arrival of AI and other issues, it’s time that we try to ‘get it’ again. Consider what I wrote way back in 2002:*A recent survey by the Pew Center for the People and the Press found that 73% those polled believe that people aren’t as “moral and honest” as they used to be. The Washington Post, in a study undertaken in 1995 with Harvard University and the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that two out of three Americans believe that generally, “people can’t be trusted.”Not only that, the survey showed that most people believe that if someone had the chance, they would cheat someone else. In the face of such stunning general mistrust, it is not surprising that another conclusion of the study was that most people believe that everyone out there is only looking out for themselves.
In an environment such as this, the public trust that has driven our society has been shredded, and the problem of ethics has existed long before the era of recent corporate scandal.
Here we are, 20 years later, and AI is on our doorstep. Whoah!I believe that with the arrival of AI and other issues, it’s time that we try to ‘get it’ again – integrity, that is – and so the strategy for 2024 is to recommit to our moral grounding and our ethical compass. I’m not trying to be preachy, just observant, because as I have said – our future is going to be wild.


“Basically, be boring”

Strategy Dullsville for the Win!

Sometimes, you need to be boring.That time is right now. Boring is often better – you know, boring stuff like real business strategy.Are you getting caught up in the hype, or the reality? Our world today is full of grandiose statements. “If your company doesn’t have an AI strategy, it won’t exist in 5 years.” “If you don’t adapt to AI at this very moment in time, your career will be at risk.” “Millions of jobs are going to disappear in the next year because of AI.”This is all a bit of hogwash, and those of us who have been here before know better. We went through the early days of the Web, the arrival of the dot.com opportunities, the emergence of social media, and countless other trends. Every time, the hype machine geared up, people and companies were told that if they did not fully immerse themself in the trend right away, they were doomed.Right.We were boring because we told the truth – the future takes hard work.So sorry, but let me be boring by going back to that boring thing – business strategy.My operative phase with any new technology has long been that ‘we tend to overestimate the rate of change on a two-year basis, and underestimate the rate of change on a ten-year basis.’ That’s what’s happening right now with AI – something profound is happening, and yet, it is very early days – and if we don’t stick to the strategy, it’s pretty likely we’ll go off the rails.With that in mind, let me walk you through a series of slides I used in the latter part of my keynote yesterday for the East Penn Manufacturing Company. You’ve likely never heard of them – they like it that way. And yet, there is a good chance that the batteries that you use in your everyday life – in your car, lawn mower, or other small home, factory, or workplace machine were made by them. They’re a pretty massive organization.East Penn was hosting a two-day meeting of their entire leadership team – from Board members down through every functional department – and needed a realistic overview of what is going on with AI and manufacturing. Not the hype, not the extremely unrealistic promise, not the science-fiction crazy stuff. Real insight, real trends, real strategy. You know. the boring stuff – the type of stuff that would help them to ground both short-term actions and long-term strategies into realistic opportunities.Somehow, they found me, and my AI for Leadership Teams overview caught their interest. It’s drawing a lot of interest these days, actually, indicating a real need in the market.

While my keynote was pretty darned exciting – I love a great stage! – some of the insight I offered to them consisted of this ‘boring’ business stately stuff. You know, business strategy.

And that made me realize that this is a key strategy we should take with us into 2024. We should be more boring!

With that in mind, let me walk you through a series of slides I used yesterday.First, I like to explain that Innovation can be considered in two ways – the invention of cool new stuff (that’s exciting!), or the ‘boring’ stuff of introducing new ideas, new ways of working, and new ways of doing things.

What matters right now is the ‘boring’ stuff – thinking strategically.

All of this goes back to an appearance years ago when I was on CNBC – observing that innovation is so much more than just the development and introduction of new products. Often, it’s just basically boring business ideas.

What is that boring stuff? For close to 40 years, I’ve been stressing that any innovation strategy must fit into one of four key strategies: how can we use this new idea or ‘thing’ to help us run the business better, grow the business, transform the business, or maybe help us invent a new business.

If a technology or idea doesn’t fit one of those boxes, then it shouldn’t be pursued. What is happening right now is that many companies and individuals are chasing corporate AI projects without really thinking through this strategic purpose, and that’s where things go off the rails. They are too focused on the hype, the excitement, and the exciting stuff.They’ve forgotten that boring is better.Running the business better? Right now, there are a lot of strategic opportunities with AI, such as building custom AI-based support bots to answer customer service questions or let them search product manuals; streamlining day-to-day workflow to shave costs and introduce efficiency, or implementing a private corporate ChatGPT-like system for internal knowledge access. There are many other such activities already in place in many industries; for example, in the insurance industry, there is a lot of AI-based fraud detection happening.

Growing the business? This involves the analytical and data-mining capabilities of AI, with such things as insight into sales trends and customer activities and sentiments. To a degree, these strategic opportunities have been available to us for quite some time in the guise of ‘big data,’ and really won’t go anywhere unless you’ve got easy access to the data in the first place. For many organizations, that is a project in and of itself.

The potentially exciting stuff comes with transforming the business – how can we embed AI in an existing product to redefine its function, purpose, role, and value? I spoke about that yesterday in the context of the idea of a ‘smart battery’.’ Basically, a device that is fundamentally changed by giving information about its operation, health, performance, and more – exactly like my Tesla does. This can include building in ‘real-time prognostic diagnostics’ – that’s a mouthful, but it involves building into a product the AI-based technology that will predict when it is going to break down, thereby giving the product more overall value. It might involve embedding AI into a personal medical device to let it take on a new and exciting role in personal healthcare. All of which can be pretty exciting to explore, but is far more complex to implement. (Implementation = boring!)

Finally, there is the opportunity for real disruption – inventing a new business or new product altogether based on AI technologies.

This is the exciting stuff that so many seem to be focused on today with the hype machine in overdrive.

This thinking goes to the main point I often make about disruption. (Repeat after me…” Companies that do not yet exist…”)

Boring. It’s better. Because it means you are chasing strategy, not hype!Sorry to be boring today!


“Study More Science"

Learn more stuff.

If science is going to define much of your tomorrow, wouldn’t it make sense to know more about it?By the time you read this post, I will be undergoing what is known as a Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) surgery on my right at the world-renowned Herzig Eye Institute in downtown Toronto. It’s a relatively minor procedure for a small eyesight correction; it’s an update to the original vision improvement that I saw from a Refractive Lens Exchange surgery back in 2013. That permitted me to finally abandon contact lenses after 34 years of use. Along the way, there have been a couple of Lasik touchups to that procedure, plus another small procedure to deal with a bit of Posterior Capsule Opacification!That’s a lot of vision correction procedures, but Herzig stands behind their lifetime guarantee of quality vision.Yes, for some people it can take a lot to trust the science of this type of surgical eye care – I know MANY people who have been very nervous about LASIK or other procedures, and who later confess to me that they should never have waited so long. Yet in my case, I have complete trust in Sheldon Herzig, the surgeon who will undertake the procedure tomorrow. That’s because I live a life in which I trust science, and I try to immerse myself in science as much as I can.I was thinking about all this in the context of my day job – I study tomorrow and interpret that for other people. And so for me, science isn’t just something that involves a matter of trust – I also know that science defines the future of just about everything. With that in mind, I spend a lot of time studying a LOT of science for the many keynotes I undertake. Science helps me to interpret the trends of our fast-moving world. That matters.Maybe you should also consider studying more science to better deal with your fast-moving world, both personally and professionally. It will inform your ability to make the decisions that are necessary along the way, whether for your business, industry, career, or personal life.That’s why this is strategy number 9 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

In my case, the deep study of scientific literature and trends informs many of my keynotes, with several recent deep dives involving a wide variety of disparate topics.These have included:

  • research into trends involving pharmaceutical development and clinical trials;

  • the transition of ammonia into a potential energy source involving what is referred to as ‘blue ammonia’ and ‘green ammonia’, and the transitional steps on this particular scientific voyage;

  • the acceleration and transition of battery science and the impact not only on the vehicle industry but also on the utility and energy supply industry;

  • artificial intelligence (of course); the acceleration of genomic medicine and the impact on personalized medicine concepts;

  • the decline of the traditional carbon economy and opportunities for innovation in the petrochemical sector;

  • new materials that allow for the creation of solar cells that permit plants to grow underneath, providing for dual-purpose energy/food farms;

  • new scientific materials that permit new advances with 3d printing; and so much more.

That’s a lot of science!The fact is, it used to be extremely difficult to do this type of research, but it is becoming easier with more sophisticated knowledge research tools becoming available all the time. In my case, it’s not uncommon for me to use my various research tools to grab several hundred, if not thousands, of articles on a particular topic that I am immersed in. I don’t consider it my job to walk on stage and give fluffy, generic keynotes full of fluffy thoughts; it’s my job to immerse myself in the trends and issues that the client has engaged me for, and to do that, I study the science. It’s my job to give hard data based on well-researched conclusions and basic facts, promulgated into specific probable trends.You don’t have to go that far, but wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to go further with the science in your life to better understand what is going on all around you?The challenge today, of course, is there is a lot more science happening at a far faster pace. According to a study published in Nature, the overall annual growth rate of science amounts to 4.10% with a doubling time of 17.3 years; another study indicates a growth rate of about 5.6% per year and a doubling time of 13 years. That’s a lot of new science. Think about how much new science there is by considering some older data. Years ago, I put into perspective the reality of the acceleration of scientific information, by outlining the acceleration of medical knowledge and research into just one field of medical science: heart disease. Simple fact: there were 3,672 scholarly articles about adult coronary heart disease in 2004. If a doctor or medical professional spent 15 minutes per article, it would take about 115 eight-hour days to read them all. Now think about the fact that back then, coronary artery disease was but one of 12,000 “known diseases.”The thing — all this new knowledge leads to a new and different future, full of discovery and opportunity. When doing a healthcare or pharma industry keynote, for example, I will often note that we live in an era that is seeing an acceleration of medical procedures and treatments, the emergence of pharmaceuticals and bio-materials, fascinating new medical technologies and devices, as well as the discovery of new diagnostics and methodologies for treatment. To name but a few areas!In that context, think about your world – your job, career, profession, company, or industry. What new ideas, products, services, and disruptive trends should you be aware of that are emerging at a fast pace? Study the science – take on the job of tracking more science as it unfolds.Becoming a science tracker. That’s a key strategy for 2024.Why does scientific insight – even if you are not a scientist – matter? Because it informs you on what comes next, and what you might do about it. It helps you better interpret and understand the trends around you. It helps you to assess the ongoing flood of new information that crosses through your life every day. It helps you to cut through to the real trends, balancing reality against the hype. It helps you stay on top of a world that is otherwise overwhelming.It helps you to determine what to do next!


Become known for what REALLY matters

Become known as the person who does the right thing, rather than just someone who does something.

Your reputation matters. Your personal brand counts. How others perceive you determines so much of what will drive your success going forward. You will define your tomorrow not only through the hard work you put toward your success but how you do the right thing for others.All of these reasons and more are why 'becoming known for what matters' is strategy #10 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

With that in mind, why not spend a good part of the next year - and beyond - on turning things around and upside down, so that you become known as the person who does the right thing, rather than just someone who does something?Since I seem to like lists of '101 Things,' here's my list of 101 things you might try to achieve the goal of becoming known for what matters.

  1. Make sure other people don't see you as a barrier to tomorrow - they should see you as a gateway.

  2. Don't be the person who never has ideas - accelerate your imagination instead.

  3. Instead of saying it can't be done, be the one to suggest how it can be done.

  4. Rather than being frustrated at a team that can't come together, try to be the individual who helps them to find a common cause.

  5. Instead of complaining to someone, try to find the thing that can lead you to a compliment.

  6. Don't let the anger inside you get out - take a deep breath and find your better self.

  7. Be someone who provides others hope, not doubt.

  8. Share your thoughts about possibilities, rather than keeping them to yourself

  9. Transform obstacles that are in the way into pathways for success.

  10. Be someone who unites, not divides.

  11. Give comforting words that heal, not hateful words that wound.

  12. Turn your challenges into opportunities for others.

  13. Be that someone who can offer a voice of reason amid all the chaos.

  14. Encourage, don't discourage, whenever you can.

  15. Try to find the seeds of agreement rather than being the harvester of discord

  16. Lead by example, instead of looking to others for guidance

  17. Find the opportunities in disruptive trends, instead of focusing on just the threats

  18. Become known as someone who embraces creativity, rather than one who actively shuts down ideas

  19. Be the person who champions teamwork, not the person who works in isolation.

  20. Get a reputation as someone who listens carefully, not the one who shouts everyone down

  21. Give praise when warranted rather than criticism when not

  22. Actively solicit opinions, instead of being the person who ignores feedback.

  23. Be someone who thinks outside the box, not the person who is confined by it

  24. Build people up, not the one who tears them down

  25. Be the person who spreads creativity, not the person who contains it.

  26. Inspire others with hope rather than discouraging them with fear

  27. Don't be known for being average - be seen as the one who pushes beyond limitations

  28. Be an engine of offbeat ideas rather than being known as an unimaginative mind

  29. Be the person who thinks differently, not the person who follows the crowd.

  30. If you have any power in a situation, use it to empower others

  31. Be that someone who redefines the future, not the one who dwells on the past.

  32. Get known as being the one who champions meaningful change, not the person who resists it

  33. Make sure you are known as a thoughtful risk taker rather than a destructive, impulse-oriented taker of risk

  34. Make sure your enthusiasm for tomorrow is always alive rather than actively dormant

  35. Try to achieve the biggest goals instead of being known as the one who settles for mediocrity.

  36. Gain a reputation as being one who constantly improves, not the person who stagnates.

  37. Find opportunities in relentless uncertainty rather than bemoaning about the state of regular volatility

  38. Be the person who works towards a common vision, not the person who loses sight of the goal.

  39. Be the person who is barely noticed but greatly impactful, not the person who seeks the spotlight without impact.

  40. Help others unlock their potential rather than undertaking actions that might stifle their growth.

  41. Be the person who combines ideas creatively, not the person who keeps ideas separate

  42. Be unconventional, not boring

  43. Be the person who values team intelligence, not the person who underestimates it.

  44. Get recognition for being someone who can translate vision into reality, not the person who loses sight of the vision.

  45. Be the person who dreams boldly, not the person who dreams small.

  46. Write new stories of success rather than sticking to the old scripts

  47. Use your imagination to connect unconnected dots rather than drawing straight lines

  48. Build trust instead of eroding it

  49. Invest in the potential for unleashed energy, rather than suppressing it

  50. Be the person who sees change as progress, not the person who sees it as a threat.

  51. Be the person who seeds new worlds, not the person who dwells in the old ones.

  52. Find the possibilities rather than obsessing over the impossibilities.

  53. Be the person who builds trust, not the person who breeds mistrust.

  54. Be the person who creates more leaders, not the person who creates followers.

  55. Don't be that someone who holds up the status quo - break it

  56. Don't settle for the usual results - find the extraordinary ones

  57. Be the person who has a disciplined eye, not the person who overlooks details.

  58. Be that someone who embraces disruptive ideas rather than running from them

  59. Don't give up on the failed idea 0m use it as the springboard to the next one

  60. Get the reputation of being someone who knows how to go through uncertainty, rather than clinging to certainty

  61. Be the one who can focus while everyone else is distracted

  62. Find the potential in those around you, rather than trying to confine it

  63. Be a ray of sunshine on someone's cloudy day

  64. Celebrate the success of others rather than focusing on your own

  65. Be able to see beyond the obvious rather than being blinded by the ordinary

  66. Chase the new paradigms rather than clinging to the old ideas

  67. Become known as the one who can bring ideas to life rather than the one who dismisses them

  68. Be the person who brings something new into being, not the person who resists new beginnings.

  69. Be known for new ideas, not old ones

  70. Be recognized for building up teams rather than tearing them down

  71. Get known for embracing innovative ideas, not fighting them

  72. can define the trends of tomorrow and what to do about them, rather than suggesting that what worked yesterday

  73. Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.

  74. Be the person who nurtures and enhances, not the person who diminishes and degrades.

  75. Establish a goal of leading with inspiration, not fear.

  76. Be the tide that lifts  all boats, not the storm that sinks them

  77. Be someone people can count on when times are troubled, rather than the person who runs away and hides

  78. Cultivate a culture of generosity, not selfishness.

  79. Be an architect of dreams, not a demolisher of hope.

  80. Set a mindset in which you will try to spread positivity, not negativity.

  81. Be a warrior of kindness, not a soldier of bitterness.

  82. Foster understanding, not misunderstanding.

  83. Be a beacon of inspiration, not desperation.

  84. Make it your mission to promote healing, not hurting.

  85. Be the person who reflects quality leadership, not the person who neglects responsibility.

  86. Encourage laughter, not tears.

  87. Be the person who achieves uncommon results, not the person who settles for the ordinary.

  88. Be the person who sees the future, not the person who is stuck in the past.

  89. At any given moment of difficulty, try to offer hope, not despair.

  90. Be a builder of bridges, not walls.

  91. Be a creator of opportunities, not a creator of obstacles.

  92. When it comes to knowledge and exploration of new things, encourage growth, not stagnation.

  93. Be the person who thinks 'we', not the person who thinks 'I'.

  94. In the face of relentless change, encourage resilience, not resignation

  95. Be a champion of the possible, not a critic of the impossible.

  96. When confusion abounds, be that someone who is a beacon of clarity, not ambiguity.

  97. Be a beacon of optimism, not pessimism.

  98. Encourage enthusiasm, not lethargy.

  99. Be a source of vitality, not fatigue.

  100. Offer a smile, not a frown

  101. Be that one who, in 2024, takes the initiative to be a better version of your better self.

Be a person who matters for who you are.If you can do only a few of these things in 2024, you are going to have a fantastic year!


Reinforce a realistic reputation

Remember - it’s what we do that matters, not what we say we will do.

People see through hype. No one likes a blowhard. Reputations that don’t deliver always end up crashing and burning.And ultimately, deceit fails.2023 saw the bizarre situation of the ultimate defeat of the strange case of George Santos, an entirely fictional and embellished persona if there ever was one.! What was fascinating to many was not just the length of time in which he got away with it, but the ability of an entire group of people who seemed to be willing to either forgive him for his sins or let him get away with it. Think about how far we have come in our culture of normalizing deceit and fraud!With this story dominating a lot of news throughout the year, it seems a good time to remind ourselves to double down on grounding ourselves when it comes to success. While the situation of the embellishment of personal background has always been true, the emergence of social media and our strange world of politics has made the situation of embellishment far worse – 2023 has made that clear. And after all, as you know, this is not just the ‘Santosization’ of deceit; in the last few years, there has been an ever-increasing number of news stories where someone has been caught padding, enhancing, or outright lying about their resume and background.Indeed, social media, celebrity, influencer culture, and our world of bizarre politics seem to have made the situation worse. They have all had a pretty significant impact on how individuals present themselves – including this ongoing increase in the embellishment of facts. This is coming about because of an acceleration of the peer pressure that comes with these trends, and the instantaneity of information sharing. Peer connectivity drives deceit – it is all too easy to compare yourself to others, and in doing so, can enhance a feeling of ‘resume and skills inadequacy.’ The simple fact is that the emergence of the ‘influencer’ culture has led to the arrival of ‘personality superstars’ who seem to do everything right and absolutely nothing wrong, which certainly doesn’t match up to reality. And bottom line – you can certainly always feel inadequate when comparing yourself to these people!How bad is the situation? A 2022 study from ResumeLab surveyed over 1,000 people and found that 36% of respondents admitted to lying on their resumes, and 93% said that they knew someone who lied. The most common areas of lying were job experience, skills, and job duties. Another survey reported that 70% of workers confess they have lied on their resumes, with 37% of those admitting that they lie frequently. The top lies told on resumes? Often, relatively ‘minor’ things such as embellishing job titles and responsibilities, exaggerating the number of people managed, and overstating the length of employment.We live in the era of the viral success story, and everyone wants to achieve this goal. And yet invariably, if you go too, the inevitable crash and burn takes place.There is nothing new here – except the fact that this embellishment and deceit culture seemed to come to a head in 2023. That’s why strategy #11 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 is to always reinforce a realistic reputation.

Essentially, given heightened expectations and accelerated peer pressure, wouldn’t it be a good time to reinforce a commitment to authenticity, honesty, reliability, and trustworthiness? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to double down on a personal or professional reputation that is grounded in reality?This isn’t just a question of ethics and responsibility. You want to be seen as someone who can deliver, not boast. This involves being known as someone who can set realistic goals and expectations – that person who can clearly define what you can deliver and when you can deliver it. This involves developing a reputation for ensuring that your promises always align with your capabilities. It’s by consciously deciding to avoid the dreaded personal error of being known as that person who is always overpromising and underdelivering.Honesty in communication is also critical; trust is paramount; transparency is key; owning up to mistakes at the moment things go wrong is critical. People will appreciate you more if you admit to your mistakes and failures when they happen – not long after the fact. Your ability to work with others to build that trust through action, not words, is what matters! You want to be known as someone dependable, honest, and who will always ‘do the right thing.’Limiting self-promotion is also key – which can be particularly challenging in our new world of social-media-driven success judgment. Sometimes, modesty is the best course of action and can earn better results. Let people judge you on what you do – not what you tell them you do.This might all come about as rather preachy – after all, we all try to live exemplary lives. But the bizarre situation that ultimately unfolded in 2023 showed the folly of our current success-driven culture, which made me think that going into this new year, a great strategy will be to double down on what we already know – it’s what we do that matters, not what we say we will do.


Don't forget the obvious

Many people like to chase the hot trends. In doing so, they forget all about the obvious ones,

I’ve long noticed that many people like to chase the hot trends. In doing so, they forget all about the obvious ones, with the result that they miss out on so many opportunities. Busy chasing the shiny new toy, they fail to find the joy in the old, well-used toy that is right next to them.When I began my speaking career, most of my events were in my home country of Canada. I often shared the agenda and the stage with a University of Toronto demography professor by the name of David Foot. The book he co-authored, Boom, Bust and Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift, was at the time a national bestseller (as was one of mine!). The book took a look at understanding the past and forecasting the future through the lens of demographics.The book cover said it all:Demographics is the key to understanding the past and forecasting the future. From financial planning to urban planning, David Foot shows us how to track the trends that will have a profound impact upon our lives.The boomers, the busters, and the echo generation: discover the nation’s future – and yours – in demographics, the simple but highly potent tool for understanding the past and foretelling the future, by Canada’s foremost expert. What are the best investments? Where are the new business opportunities? What will become of our cities? What are the prospects for real estate? The job market? Education? Health care? Foot and Stoffman provide answers in a book full of arresting insights and practical ideas.The boom? Baby boomers. The bust? Gen-X. And the echo? Today’s 35-and-under generation is the technology-weaned, social media-driven generation. The numbers for this demographic breakdown are staggering – 78, 46, and 76 million strong. (Today? I will often share the statistic on stage that half of the global population is under the age of 25 – they’re wired, collaborative, changed oriented, and that is one of the most significant trends defining our tomorrow, today. I shared this slide just last week!)

So much of what David predicted in his book and on the stage turned out to be correct – because it was so blindingly obvious. I often had the chance to listen to his words of wisdom while waiting offstage for my follow-up keynote on the impact of the Internet, connectivity, and accelerating technology. To me, so much of what I was sharing at the time was blindingly obvious – big things will happen when we plug together everyone around the world.People often forget about the obvious stuff – and shouldn’t – because that is so often the crucible of much opportunity. That’s why this is strategy #12 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

For me, much of our future is defined by the ‘obvious’ stuff.People often ask me about how I figure out my predictions for tomorrow, and I will simply explain that I take a look at what is going on in the world around me today, and figure out what it means for tomorrow. It’s not rocket science – take a simple trend and extrapolate it into the future, figuring out what it means and its implications.Here’s a good example – many years ago, I began to share my thoughts on the implications of what I call ‘‘bio-connectivity‘.’ The world was beginning to see the arrival of Internet-connected, intelligent, home-based medical devices – think blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, fitness trackers, and such. I quickly understood that once we empowered people to measure key healthcare metrics at home, we had massive opportunities in front of us – the virtualization of healthcare through realistic telehealth technologies, the sharping of clinical pharmaceutical trials through access to larger population sets that could share real-time analytics, and acceleration of wellness through a more direct connection that people have with their healthcare conditions. To me, all blindingly obvious. Today, this trend has profound implications as AI technologies mature, because we have huge opportunities to reach more patients for pharmaceutical clinical trials, measuring the impact of particular new drug candidates directly, in real-time.Similarly, at the same time, I began to despair at what eventually became my post on ‘The Emerging Healthcare Reality Crisis.‘My observation – and trend prediction – was simple and to the point.Clearly there are vast sections of the population today who do not believe in science. They don’t believe in facts. They don’t believe in much other than what they want to believe in.Their belief system will increasingly drive their attitude and understanding of their healthcare circumstances.Going forward, this new reality will prove to be a tremendous challenge for the healthcare system.Post-pandemic, it’s pretty clear that vast sections of the population have opted out of reality, and the strain and challenge for the healthcare system going forward is severe. In the face of massive demand, our healthcare system is likely to break down because we’ve got a bunch of wing-nuts around us. Sad, but true. Once again, an obvious trend that was all around us, and yet simply needed some interpretation.Obvious trends are everywhere and are, well, obvious.Every once in a while, I go and tackle an ‘obvious’ trend in my Big Future series, capturing the reality of some of the obvious trends of our time that people often forget. So far, I’ve covered such things as the acceleration of ‘‘regenerative medicine‘,’ the idea of ‘‘connected energy‘,’‘* vertical farming,‘* and what I call ‘‘methodology modification‘.’ (I’ve also got ‘‘The Longevity Divide‘’ in there – which takes a further look at the impact of the healthcare reality crisis on our future.) Read the series at https://bigfuture.jimcarroll.com

One of the trends that I’ve been meaning to add to that series has to do with ‘massive urbanization‘ – the simple fact that around the world, more people are moving to urban centers and away from rural communities.Closely tied to this trend is the fact that by 2030, the world could have 43 so-called megacities (up from 31 today, according to reports). These trends have profound implications, in that many new ideas, concepts, methodologies, and inventions will come about as we deal with the new challenges of megacity living and infrastructure.Did I mention that to me, obvious trends are, well, obvious?Take farming – we know that we are seeing the arrival of smart farming technologies, such as autonomous,self-driving tractors. That’s a given. But what is also obvious is that today’s kid playing Farmville will help to define the farm of the future that utilizes such technology. Today, they’re busy managing a virtual farm in a video game such as Farmville or SimCity – tomorrow, they’ll be busy managing a virtual farm in reality, managing and operating all this autonomous stuff. That helps to take us to the trend in which we won’t just be farming when the sun is up – we’ll be farming 24 hours a day.

That, for me, helps to define one of the most significant trends having to do with one of the world’s oldest professions.Trend prediction? It’s simple really! The future is all around you – you just need to know where to look. And in many cases, that simply involves looking at the obvious stuff, not the hot stuff!


Be prepared to launch

Become known as the person who does the right thing, rather than just someone who does something.

Too many great ideas fail to launch. There are lots of bold new initiatives that are never implemented. Many organizations identify wonderful new strategic opportunities but never pursue them. People develop fascinating new skills and capabilities but never get to the step of actually using them. There are many leadership commitments to a new future that fail to go forward. Concepts that fail to gain traction, and initiatives that fail to initiate.Our world is one of failed initiatives.If you do anything in 2024, try to avoid letting that happen to you – make sure that any idea is followed up with actual initiative and action. That’s strategy #13 in my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Innovation!

One of the slides that worked its way into the closing moments of my talk this year suggested that organizations should ‘Build an innovation runway.’

It carried the subtitle ‘Don’t let old people kill new opportunities.’ Sad, but true – and t it’s based on a recent real story I witness all too often.Imagine that a company has identified a fascinating new technology that provides better insight, and far more qualitative information, and does so at about 1/10th of the cost of traditional methods It decides to make the necessary investment to bring the concept, opportunity, and benefits to the organization – the future is too good to pass up! Immediately, though, the long-established career staff view the technology as a threat that should be battled against, not a significant new transformative opportunity that should be pursued. They perceive that it might take their jobs away, and yet refuse to undertake the steps to learn how to use it. The result is that they battle back against its implementation, refuse to advance it forward, and do everything they can to disparage what it represents.Stubbornly, they cling to the old ways of doing things, ensuring that old, irrelevant, and high-cost methodologies remain in existence. Often, this group consists of change-adverse baby boomers, a group that has developed a reputation among the younger crowd of simply being anti-anything, a cohort that does everything it can to stifle the progress and opportunity of tomorrow.In the face of this determined pushback, the leadership team does … nothing. They choose not to get involved, never promulgating any new policies or direction that would mandate the use of this new technology in light of obvious current and future benefits. They do nothing to set the tone of progress that it brings, nor a message of advancement that would give the new initiative the solid foundation of action that is required. They never actually really communicate why the new technology is being pursued and the benefits that would come about. And worse – they never empower the younger generation who fully understand the potential of the tool to fully take the reins and run with it.They fail to launch – they never build a runway for it to go forward. The idea is left in the hanger, gathering dust next to an entire fleet of failed initiatives. Old wins out over new; a significant financial investment in a new opportunity is wasted, and the future is lost.Way back in 2003, a fellow named Lloyd Adams saw me speak at one of the customer-oriented events of the company for whom he worked, SAP. He was inspired by my message of action from the stage and ended up booking me about 30 or 40 more times through the next few years to share this message further. Today, he is the CEO of SAP North America, and recently wrote this article which gets to the heart of the matter of the implementation of tomorrow.The most important ingredient of any successful technology implementation is this: internal and external business alignment. You must start with a well-documented set of tangible business outcomes, and every single person involved in the project must be able to answer, “Why are we doing this?”The people you put on the project are so important. The tech is integral, obviously, but if there’s a lack of buy-in or understanding, you’ll essentially be left holding a hunk of metal you can’t drive.If only a fraction of your frontline employees are visibly engaged in transformation initiatives, you’ll be destined to fail. It can’t be all about c-suite directives. Staffing well and cultivating winning resources are the best ways to counter pitfalls in this area.More so, you must give your employees the time and space to succeed. Don’t allow an “illusion of staffing” to occur, where you divide your team between tactical, day-to-day operations and the overall transformation initiative. You must have your best people dedicated to your evolution full time.In short, they must know why they’re doing it, and they must be given time to do so. Next up is determining how they will go about it.Tech transformation stalled? 4 tactics to make them stick
14 June 2023, Quartz
I couldn’t have said it better myself.Yet I am mystified by why this happens so often – and by the fact that so often, the approach of an organization to innovation and the future makes absolutely no sense in light of obvious realities.Years ago, I was booked to speak on the concept of innovation and transformation at a major global printing company – an industry facing a difficult future given the digitization of so many of its products and markets. The leadership team – right up to the CEO – was adamant that a bold transformation was necessary, and that I should help them deliver this message as part of the kick-off of a two-day meeting for their entire leadership team. I spent a lot of time with the organization in advance to understand the uniqueness of their business, their goals for tomorrow, and some of the action plans that innovation-oriented staff were ready to pursue.I delivered my message with aplomb as I was engaged to do – and then, the CEO, in his follow-up message. deflated any bubble of enthusiasm that I had managed to share with a contradictory message that was the opposite of anything he had said earlier. He noted that innovation and transformation would be a difficult and complex voyage and that it would be best if everyone would stay focused on their core mission of squeezing as much profit as possible out of existing lines of business. There was little time, he suggested, to waste on frivolous, difficult-to-achieve ideas – and that a slow and cautious approach was warranted. However, to ensure the organization is moving forward, he announced a rather small ‘innovation fund,’ and the establishment of an ‘innovation team‘, that would study the necessary steps to move towards tomorrow, and would report back in 6 months.Welp! Although my keynote ended up receiving rave reviews, inside I knew that I had accomplished nothing. Today, I look at the state of the organization and can see that it is in its final active throes of death. I always wonder what might have been.I’ve seen this type of thing unfold in real time more often than you can imagine – my unique job has me privy to the deep dark leadership failures of many a major organization. And here’s what I know – a failure to address the necessary ingredients for the launch of any new initiative, idea, technology, or action plan will guarantee its failure to launch. Without a runway, you are simply guaranteeing that your future will crash and burn.Many challenges can get in the way of the initiatives that will take you to tomorrow. But that’s to say it should not be done!That’s why one of the most important strategies you can chase this year is to launch – build a runway, line up the initiatives, and make sure they get off the ground!


Keep an eye on the edges

Most of the future is being built in global cooperative communities. You need to watch them.

Increasingly, the future is created out in the crowd, out on the edges, and it’s in your interest to watch the crowd and live at the edge.No doubt you are aware of the open source movement – the collective initiative responsible for Linux, the dominant computer operating system in the world. Developed in the open through close collaboration and cooperative goals and ideas, the system is the foundation of much of our technology-based world of today. In my own home, I’ve got 5 computers that run variations of Linux to undertake various tasks; and yet, it’s also embedded within many of the smart devices in my home. It’s probably in your home too, and you might not even be aware of this fact! That little Roku device you use to watch TV? It’s built on top of a variation of Linux – the future of our media and entertainment world came from out on the edges.If you want to understand the future, you need to understand both the history and future of ideas and concepts like this. That’s why should keep your eye on what’s happening with concepts such as open science, open data, open innovation, open collaboration, and of course, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. While the popular belief is that many new products, ideas, solutions, and concepts are developed by corporations in sophisticated research labs, equally more occurs in global collaborative communities that share common goals, beliefs, values – passion, and purpose. Those initiatives then actually become the foundation for what much eventually transpires in those research labs!The whole idea is that ‘open’ development will help to eliminate errors, improve quality, remove hidden agendas, demolish the idea of ‘control’ of platforms and technologies, and much more. As many will like to point out – the future is open. Or at least, it should be open. – and should happen within global, collaborative communities that have nothing to hide. Keeping an eye on – and even participating – in these collaborative communities and open initiatives will help you to understand so much more about how the future will evolve, and that’s why this is strategy #14 in my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Innovation!

What is the idea of ‘open.’ and why is it important? I asked ChatGPT for a definition:The open source movement is a multifaceted and evolving philosophy that advocates for the open exchange of information, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, and community-oriented development. It extends beyond the realm of software to encompass a broad range of industries and disciplines. This movement champions the idea that by sharing knowledge, resources, and expertise openly, a diverse community of contributors can drive innovation, enhance quality, and accelerate problem-solving in various fields. It embodies a commitment to the principles of free access, open collaboration, and shared improvement of products, services, and ideas, fostering an inclusive environment where collective efforts lead to greater advancements and accessibility for all.In essence, let’s all build tomorrow, together!It’s critical to keep in mind that this idea of open collaboration and innovation goes far beyond technology and software; indeed, there are ‘open’ movements in many industries, all of which are helping to define the future of how that industry will evolve.Consider agriculture – these are initiatives by which farmers, researchers, and companies are using ‘open’ concepts to share data on crop patterns, weather, and soil health to improve farming practices and develop better crop varieties. In manufacturing, open innovation concepts are driving faster product development and concepts such as rapid prototyping, where companies are collaborating with suppliers, customers, and even competitors to accelerate product development and improve manufacturing processes. 3D printing technology has led to a massive acceleration of new manufacturing concepts as people come to freely share their models and methodologies under ‘open’ philosophies. In healthcare, we are seeing massive initiatives that support the open sharing of information related to drug discovery and treatment strategies as well as open data initiatives for better disease tracking and public health responses. In energy, the concept is exploding with initiatives in connected energy, a trend I covered in my Big Future series, wherein we see a new smart, intelligent, and connected energy grid emerging that provides for a local community-oriented energy grid.What are the implications of these types of initiatives? The future happens faster because ideas about the future are shared faster!I spoke of this at my recent keynote in Hawaii on the impact of AI in agriculture, outlining the many open-data initiatives that are based on data that allows for object detection, size, and color determination in plant phenotyping, and other initiatives that will help to identify the ripening stages of fruit and determining chlorophyll content as an indicator of plant health. Both of these are and will be used in fast-evolving AI initiatives in the industry.

Healthcare? A really good example is happening within the “looper community” of type 1 diabetes; it’s a global initiative to support and develop open-source automated insulin delivery systems to bypass the monopolies of commercial device manufacturers. Essentially, it’s a group of people impacted by a common disease, busy sharing their insight and knowledge to develop themselves better alternatives for the future;What is looping? An article over at BCDiabetes outlines the initiative.The three hottest words in Type 1 diabetes these days are “loop”, “looper” & “looping”. These refer to the groundbreaking revolutionary open source software implementation of the Artificial Pancreas, the technological cure of Type 1 diabetes. Loopers are Type 1s who use the Loop app running on an iPhone to control their insulin pump based on the results of their continuous glucose monitor (CGM): when they do so they “looping”.

Then there are the ‘farmer tinkerers’ – young, technology-focused farmers who share their ideas on ‘hacking’ tractors and such to give them more capabilities, or who are busy developing the automated weed-zapping agricultural robots of tomorrow. ; This is seeing the development of autonomous tractor and farm technology, where farmers are sharing designs for farming equipment or irrigation systems to accelerate the opportunities that they see for tomorrow.

All of these groups share their ideas at speed – and understanding what they do and why they do it is extremely helpful in understanding tomorrow, and today.Of course, many people have many different views on such concepts and activities. There has long been an often healthy – and frequently unhealthy – tension between open source development and private R&D that goes back as long as there have been collaborative efforts. Famously, the computer industry split when Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not see eye to eye on the future of software, with the former prompting closed concepts with MS-DOS. Today, those viewpoints have shifted diametrically, with Apple being a massively closed system and Microsoft embracing as much of the open-source movement as it can.Tomorrow? One of the most important trends of our time, of course, is artificial intelligence, and so much of AI development is occurring out on the edges. Initiatives like Hugging Face – an AI platform that helps users build, deploy, and train machine learning models — allow for the development of new AI models to occur in the ‘open,’ collaborative world. Other initiatives like MIstral promote the idea of utilizing major open-source concepts in the development of AI models, as an alternative to systems like ChatGPT and others; and what is significant is that as of late, Mistral AI’s open-source AI model is outperforming many of these proprietary models. The fact is, the fast-emerging world of AI all around you is happening so fast because so much of it is happening in the open.Why do I explain all this? Because I presume that by following this series, you want to understand how the future evolves, and how to innovate with it as it develops to discover opportunities.And to do that, you should be fully immersed in and understanding of where it develops – out on the edges!



It's Taylor Swift's world, and we just happen to live in it.

Let’s talk about Taylor Swift, and what you can learn from her stunning success as you go forward into 2024.

Being named Time’s Person of the Year was just the fitting conclusion to a stunning year of success, well earned over an era of far more than a decade of performing, innovating, and disrupting.As someone who speaks about innovating and disrupting, I admit that this year, I came close to being a ‘Swiftie,’ as her fans are known, fascinated by her ability to shatter some norms. I first watched her Netflix documentary when it came out a few years ago, and came away fascinated by her business acumen. This year, watching the story unfold, I realized that not only is she a stunning performer at the peak of her career, but she is also one of the most brilliant business executives of our time. Her ability to completely shake things up in terms of how things should be done offers striking lessons in how to succeed on your terms. Like many, I watched the twists and turns of her Eras tour throughout the year; you can’t be on social media and NOT encounter posts from Swifties. I was fascinated by how suddenly, the NFL belonged to her; and was equally stunned by the speed with which she demolished established entertainment business models by bringing her concert tour to the theater and then almost instantly to streaming services.Check Amazon Prime today – it’s there. I will probably watch it in the next few days.But first, a story!I will admit that this year, I twice tried to succeed in the limited concert ticket availability game, signing up for the lottery for concerts in Toronto and Vancouver. I planned to take my two daughters-in-law to the event – one is certainly a Swiftie, and the other is most definitely not. Secretly, I suspect they were quietly horrified at the thought of attending such a concert with this old man, but they did not need to worry – I was, as were many millions of others, unsuccessful in my quest.That process provided a bit of bit of entertainment, but the most amount of fun came later.I overheard my Swiftie daughter-in-law speak of going to the Eras theater experience shortly after it was announced. Quitely, one evening over dinner, I asked her what time I should meet them, and where.For what?” she asked.For the Taylor Swift concert movie,” I said. “We’re all going to watch it, aren’t we?”The look on her face at that moment in time was one I will never forget; I suppose she was immediately thinking about how she might politely tell me that I was not allowed to attend, or how she might explain to her girlfriends why her father-in-law was in attendance, singing and dancing in the aisles. (What a vision!) What a magical bit of fun I had for a few moments until I told her I was joking and that I had no plans to go.I digress. Yes, learning from Taylor Swift’s 2023 is strategy #15 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Shatter some norms!

First, a recap of her success; I’m sure you’ve seen all the news and all the numbers, but they are worth repeating:

  • Eras Tour: The Eras Tour, which kicked off in March 2023, is projected to become the biggest tour of all time, with a projected gross of perhaps $2.2 billion by the time it is all done; this includes over $200 million in merchandise sales. If you own a friendship bracelet, you’ll know.

  • Economic Impact: The total economic impact of Swift’s tour is estimated to be close to $5 billion, including ticket sales, travel, outfits, food, and drink. Each Era show generates around $36 million in direct and indirect spending for the local economy, supporting more than 300 jobs per show. Entire national governments – Presidents and Prime Ministers have publically pleaded with her to bring her show to town

  • Revenue Generation: Data indicates that the average revenue generated per room in US states during Swift’s visits exceeded the national benchmark by over 4 percentage points. In these states, the revenue per room increased by approximately 7% on average during the months of her visits compared to the same periods the previous year. That’s just hotels – the same thing happened with air travel, local restaurants and transportation, and just about everything else.

  • Streaming Impact: Swift’s tour has driven up the demand for streaming services, with her online catalog seeing a nearly 80% spike in streams in the weeks after the tour kicked off. This has also had a positive spillover effect on other artists, as her fans discover new songs and genres through her curated playlists and collaborations.

  • Contribution to GDP: Bloomberg Economics estimated that the tours from Swift (and Beyoncé, another innovation superstar), combined would add an estimated $5.4 billion to the US gross domestic product.

Let’s not forget that suddenly, she singlehandedly redefined the concept of social media during the year, and pretty much established the story of the year for the NFL. Countless new fans were drawn to the Kansas City Chiefs to spot her in the stands, watching her new romantic interest.Here’s a photo of her with some guy.

Indeed, some of the best social media moments of the year – a year driven by awful posts as the right-wing took over major platforms – came from women trolling the men in their lives as to how Taylor had suddenly elevated to prominence this unknown NFL guy by the name of Travis Kelce. LOL!That the tour and her success were profound will certainly be studied in business courses for years to come, and rightly so, because if she has taught us anything, it’s to shatter some norms.

  • refuse to accept the status quo: her effort to re-record her old albums as an innovative way to regain control of her music masters is a stunning example of brilliant strategic thinking. When the ownership rights to her songs were transferred in one of those circumstances that pervades the entertainment industry, she didn’t simply accept that she would have to accept it – she set out to completely re-record all of those songs in a bold move to reassert her ownership, the first artist to ever do so.

  • refuse to follow existing business models: she didn’t follow the traditional entertainment model of releasing a concert tour video a few years after the tour ended – she recorded and released said video while the tour was still underway. Even better, she didn’t wait until years after the theater release was finished for the streaming version to come out – she released that almost immediately.

  • don’t back down: she refused to back down in the face of a withering campaign from the right-wing world to back away from the social and diversity issue she supports, and indeed, during the year, seemed to double down on her vocal support for LGBTQ+ rights and other issues.

  • continually reinvent: the entire tour was an overview of her music career; at the age of 34, she demonstrated an amazing ability to consistently reinvent her image and musical style, pivoting effortlessly from persona to persona and genre to genre, an example that could be followed by so many as the theme of career and personal reinvention becomes increasingly critical as a success factor

  • fuse leadership and emotional intelligence: Swift’s ability to connect with her fans on a deep emotional level through her music demonstrates a stunning level of emotional intelligence. She writes about complex emotions and personal experiences, allowing her fans to relate to her in a way that defines the Swifie experience. This shows the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership – if only today’s CEO or another leadership group could display a similar realistic connection

  • authenticity, always: I’ll admit I’ve been caught up in watching Instagram, TikTok, and other video sources of her Eras tour moments, and one thing is clear – she is authentic and genuine, which is a fact that resonates with her fans. Business leaders today could learn a lot from her as to how to achieve authenticity in leadership style, and how to play to one’s strengths as a leader.

  • double down on resilience: if you watch the Netflix documentary on her story, or have followed her career in any way, you will see a story of resilience in the face of determined hostility, aggression, and controversy. (Kanye, anyone?). She’s faced numerous challenges and controversies throughout her career but has consistently demonstrated an ability to overcome them – with the result that her ability to bounce back from setbacks and maintain her artistic integrity is an inspiring story for all of us.

  • philanthropy and kidnness. She shattered the norms of typical tour kindness, donating significant sums to local foodbanks and charities. Not only that, she didn’t give her trucking tour crew a few thousand dolalrs a tthe end of the tour – she game each of them $100,000 or more, chaing their entire life trajectory in doing so.

Look, my thoughts here aren’t the gushing emotions of a Swiftie, but I will admit that I am close to becoming one, particularly as someone who studies and speaks about innovation and business.Taylor Swift offers up a stunning example of the right type of leadership qualities for today – she’s a role model, innovator, disruptor, bold thinker, and transformative thinker. There is so much to earn from what she has done that others can adopt.Above all, it’s to shatter the norms.Try and do the same into 2024.Shake off your past, and shake it into a new future. (-;


“Fail at fewer first impression failures”

We all suffer from stereotypes, bias, and quick judgment. We should do less of that.

The people you meet are often not who you think – we all suffer from stereotypes, bias, and quick judgment.In doing so, we often miss out on the opportunity to meet some truly remarkable people, discover fascinating trends, or get in touch with new opportunities for innovative thinking. That’s why I will often spend time striking up conversations with people working away in the world around me – an agronomist working at a golf course, by which I can learn more about agricultural science; a ‘liftie’ at the ski resort, where I can discover someone who is doing advanced graphics design work in the summer season; or a young lady doing advanced AI research with her Master’s degree while working part-time with the AV crew that manages one of my events.Through this process, I’ve discovered much of what drives the world around us. Consider my video clip, Farmers and Truckers – where I tell the story of how I’ve learned these are two of the most innovative industries in our world today. We can learn much about how industries evolve and change over time, particularly when we consider to be rather unskilled professions are managing quite well with the rapid introduction of new technologies, ideas, and concepts. Much of what I have learned by preparing for keynotes in these industries has come from …. spending a lot of time talking with farmers and truckers, and in doing so, I have learned a LOT.

People never are who you think they are, and over the years, I’ve managed to use this type of thinking to learn more about the world around me.With that in mind, here’s a wonderful story. During the year, I had the chance to meet one Lawi Sultan Njeremani, a groundskeeper working at my home golf club Cutten Fields in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Remember that phrase “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” – meeting Lawi reminded me of the corollary to this phrase: “We always have a second chance to fix a failed first impression!With that in mind, that’s strategy #16 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Fail at fewer failed first impressions!

Here’s the story – I’m an early morning golfer, often heading out for the first tee time of 7 am during the summer months, right after sending out my Daily Inspiration post. It’s the best time of the day to do a round – moving fast, with no one in the way, with most days involving the glorious days of sunshine as the day begins. There are a few playing partners who will join me on these days; my son Tom, a retired lawyer John, and a retired chemical engineer, Gary. Some might call us the ‘rabbits.When you golf this early, you are often running up against or hitting into the grounds crew – the folks who take care of the course and keep it in top shape. They start their day a few hours before you do, cutting the grass, raking the bunkers, cleaning the course, and doing the daily maintenance. I and my playing partners try to be very respectful to them; they’ve got a job to do, and we need not be idiots by interfering with their process. They will often wave us through, knowing that on many days, there are few other of us ‘rabbits’ eager to chase the first round of the day.Thursdays are ‘Men’s Day’ at my club – I’m not a participant, playing on Seniors Day instead. But on Mens’ Day, many other young fellows might join me on the front for a fast 9-hole round – they can get their score into the ranking for that day and then head off to work. This often means that I end up playing the back 9 holes on my own since I don’t have to rush off to work. And it’s on these days that I will often strike up a longer conversation with the various grounds crew working on the course.One day, I was teeing off one hole when I saw this young fellow working away in the distance.

I’d often see him out there, working away on his own, watering, moving, doing repairs.

On this particular day, I struck up a conversation and introduced myself. Since no one was golfing with me on this day and no one was following close behind, a longer-than-normal conversation ensued.I quizzed him on his daily responsibilities, and quickly learned that he was a student in the Guelph Turfgrass Management Program at our local university; it’s a world-renowned program providing education in the science, technology, management, and best practices of golf course maintenance. You might not think about such university degree programs much as you make your way around your local course, but it’s a very complex degree program – your local golf course superintendent and staff do so much more than just ‘mowing the lawn.’ I will often tell the story as to what I’ve learned about what is going in the industry of golf and what it can teach us about other industries and the future; here’s a clip in advance of a keynote I was doing at Torrey Pines:

As these things go, our discussion inevitably got around to the question as to what I do for a living, and I mentioned that in addition to often speaking at events and meetings around the world, I also happened to be a bit of an author, having penned some 39 titles during my careers.Lawi’s eyes lit up at that comment.I’m an author,” he said, “and I am trying to get published.I will often get comments like this, only to learn that in most cases, this is merely an aspirational idea, not a fact.This certainly proved not to be the case with Lawi – I quickly learned that he had actually already written not just one book but two – and to go with these books, he had also put together a short cartoon version. He was merely looking for a way to get them into print. And with that, we were off – I explained to him the unique process of self-publishing, which has been the path for the last four of my books. I described what was involved, how long it can take, the intricacies of cover design and interior formatting, how to go about getting an ISBN, and the basics of listing on Amazon (which is just about all that matters in todays’ world of publishing.)I offered to line him up with some of the folks in India who did some of this work for me; he indicated that he had a digital team in his home country of Kenya that he wanted to get involved in the process. (Much of the rest of the technical work on my books is done by my wife and business partner Christa – she is my digital publishing expert!)Over the next few weeks and months, I continued to provide him guidance on the intricacies of the process, answering his questions along the way. And one day, just a matter of a few weeks ago, Lawi let me know that the books were in print, and available on Amazon.

Not just volumes 1 and 2, but also the comic.

It turns out that the books he had already written by the time I met him out on the golf course early that morning weren’t merely abstract ideas – they are deep, rich, and complex tomes on a complex topic, coming in at 532 and 470 pages each. And he literally managed to get them into print just about 3 months after we first met on the course. To say I was impressed is a bit of an understatement.The story also reinforces for a powerful lesson I have always tried to follow – we should always go beyond our first impressions because we can learn so much more about the world around us. It would have been so easy for me to dismiss Lawi as just another person on the grounds crew at my course – instead, I’ve discovered a rather fascinating individual.Consider the topic of the book – from the cover. i have yet to read the book, but it is certainly a topic!The Trouble with Kenya is a microcosm of any given country’s social and justice pillars. These pillars have been subordinated to the political and economic pillars in many societies with politics and the economy being deified as the all-encompassing enablers of the advancement of Nations. With the world becoming more connected, happenings in far-flung places are increasingly becoming risk factors locally, precipitating issues of local concern and increasing the impediments to collective human development. All these may appear to be abstract concepts in daily life where making the next pay check, putting food on the table or securing a comfortable future for oneself and family is an exhausting endeavour but those who ignore the harbinger flicks subject themselves to ongoing or future succumb.The story of the founding of Kenya as a country and the continuous strides towards nationhood is similar to many countries globally that have had a monarchy in their founding DNA. Indeed, some countries have excelled in building institutions that ensure an equitable society, while some continue to struggle with cartelization and usurpation of independence of institutions and commensurately experience unjust societal confluence where only a few enjoy the benefits of a nation-wide toil.The symbols on the cover? They too tell a story, told in the opening section of the books, where he proposes a link between what he is learning about the link between the science of turf grass management and global geopolitical and economic challenges!Those who study pedology and agriculture know that one of the cultural means of lowering soil pH and increasing soil nutrition is turn over the soil through tilling and cultivation. This exposes the soil to air (aeration) and moves immobile macronutrients and micronutrients like calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, boron and molybdenum nearer the surface where they are likely to be available to plants.The Preface of this book’s Volume One may be considered a strong rebuke of the Kenyan psyche but is founded on the principle above-to elevate the consciousness of a critical mass of not only the Kenyan citizenry but of all nations of the world through the cultural practise of tilling through heavily compacted anomalies in the respective societies and allowing for enabling environments for all human beings to thrive and live dignified lives.Talk about a complex mind!Motivational author Dale Carnegie once observed that one of our most important traits is to spend more time discovering other people: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.With that in mind, here’s my spin on it – you can learn more about the world around you by taking the time to learn about other people and spending less time trying to learn about yourself. What I have learned this year, by meeting Lawi, is a re-emphasis of that lesson, something that I have long tried to do in understanding the future, creativity and innovation.And that’s why this is strategy #16 of my 24 Strategies for 2024!Learn more at 2024.jimcarroll.com


"Invest in kindness"

Become known for how you lift people up

If you follow me, you might get a sense that I tend to have a rather compassionate soul.After all, last year, my 23 Trends for 2023 series identified the trend wherein people were ‘doubling down on dignity.’ I try, as much as I can, to live a life that is rooted in kindness towards others.

In that post, shared my despair with our current reality:Sometimes it does seem like the world has gone mad – extremely divisive politics, a rise in hate crimes, absolute emotional terrorism on social networks, attacks on public institutions, and increasing violence. Everyone has a feeling that things are getting out of hand. That’s why trend #12 on my “23 Trends for 2023” is the issue of “Doubling Down on Dignity.”Looking back at that post, you can also sense the depths of that despair -which certainly became even more challenging throughout 2023.The world around us is a terrifying place. Politics has become so divisive that it is destructive. All of us have lost friends to the insanity of Covid-denial and other conspiracy theories. We wake up to the news of hate crimes, violent assaults, and attacks on marginalized populations. We witness major court actions and political efforts that have the ultimate goal of stripping away fundamental human rights from marginalized populations. We watch wars in far-off lands and wonder how quickly the hate that drove those wars might come to our own world.And yet, within the despair, I always seem to find an opportunity for hope:I believe in 2023, both people and organizations will find they are spending more time doing so – focusing more on lifting people up rather than tearing them down.This year, I found my opportunities for hope by watching individuals who were doing good in the world. Despite all the madness, rage, and hate, I did manage to find the decency and humanity within some people. In particular, I want to tell you the story of someone I never met and who do not personally know, but who I drew much strength and inspiration through the year. Meet Cheri Garcia, ex-meth addict and alcoholic, someone who now gives ex-convicts second chances and a new life through her Dallas-based company, Cornbread Hustle.

Her story is the basis for strategy #17 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. Invest in kindness.

As with many people, I first came across this remarkable young woman via LinkedIn; someone shared one of her posts one day – a story about her helping an ‘ex-con’ get a job – and it touched me deeply. I seem to be someone who is always searching for the light amidst the dark. Her inspirational story is best told through a cover story that ran in Dallas Magazine earlier this year.

By the time this article appeared several months ago, I had already been following Cheri for several years.Cheri Garcia was a high school cheerleader in The Colony when she got addicted to meth. “I tried it one time,” she says. That was all it took. She began dealing drugs to support her habit and got into trouble for minor things like warrants and petty theft. But after about two years, she became “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and quit—cold turkey. Then, she discovered another addiction: being a business owner.“It filled the void of chasing the highs and lows,” Garcia says. “Entrepreneurship essentially saved my life. But it wasn’t going to fix me.” She invented a water float for tanning called Luminous Envy. “I always tell people my college tuition was my manufacturing costs, and my degree is my patent,” Garcia says. She began volunteering for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, teaching those who were incarcerated how to develop business plans and marketing strategies. When some of the people she met got out of jail and reached out to her via Facebook, she started helping them get jobs.The first was a man who was a skilled artist but had been imprisoned for 20 years. She taught him how to use Google, and they reached out to a Dallas mural company. “I called the owner and said, ‘Hey, I have this guy who is willing to work. He’ll take $10 an hour. He’s eager. He’s hungry. His work is amazing,’” Garcia recalls. “The owner said, ‘What’s the catch?’ I said, ‘Well, he just got out of prison for attempted murder, but he’s a nice guy.’” She accompanied him on the interview, sitting a few tables over at a restaurant. The ex-con was hired on the spot.That was the start of Cornbread Hustle, an employment agency she started for second-chance individuals, whether they are justice-impacted or coming out of recovery. Garcia herself has been sober for four-and-a-half years. She shared her story on LinkedIn; it blew up, and today, she has more than 145,000 followers. When COVID hit, the entrepreneur worried that the pandemic would kill her fledgling company. Instead, she bought some hazmat suits and launched a service to disinfect essential businesses. “That was my first six-figure month,” Garcia says. “Our phone started ringing off the hook.”While many traditional workers were home collecting pandemic unemployment, companies that had previously eschewed hiring second-chance employees gave it a try. “We became a million-dollar agency, and we quadrupled the next year,” Garcia says. Cornbread Hustle places a lot of skilled trades workers, from HVAC technicians to data analysts. Despite the pickup in business, she has “way more” applicants than employers.To help prepare people for success, Garcia developed a 12-week Starting Over Program, a video series that’s available for about $100. Topics span everything from codependency and learning about triggers to getting and keeping a job and becoming a productive employee.She encourages businesses to expand their minds when it comes to looking at job candidates. She has been encouraged by some to move away from focusing on second-chance employees, but Garcia is holding firm. “It’s hard for me to turn a blind eye, but I’m not sorry for it,” she says. “I feel that this company is being taken care of by a higher power because we’re trying to make an impact.”You cannot follow her posts on LinkedIn and not be touched by her passion for helping other people; to live a life and build a successful business in which she essentially spends time to lift people. Out on that social network – and indeed, in most of the online world – people tend to post more about their success and accomplishments, rather than posting about what they do.What Cheri does is lift the marginalized, provide them with opportunities, and change lives. She tells the story of how she found her Cornbread Hustle business opportunity in another article:So one organization I heard about was called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program, where volunteers teach entrepreneurship. I was like, “This is heaven.” For someone like me, who bounced back and had to become resilient from addiction and alcoholism, I felt like, “I bet I could find some savvy entrepreneurs in prison and help them hone in on their ideas.”So, what I did was reverse engineer what their ultimate goals were, empower them, and help them find a job that would accept them, and help them hone in on their intrapreneurship, so they could learn more about the industry they wanted to be in. … I learned what helps people coming out of prison, is putting a bigger goal that is their passion, attached to the small milestones.And so, I did that; and it was so much fun for me. I’d hang out in the halfway houses, and I’d help them get jobs. And one day, I woke up, and I was like, “Well, I guess I need to make this my job if this is what I want to do every day.” And I’m just not a nonprofit type of gal; it’s not for me. I’m not the type of person that has the courage to stand up in front of people and say, “Hey, give me money, and I’ll make a difference.”I’m an entrepreneur, and I want to know that I provided some value to earn your money. … I Googled “how to start a staffing agency.” And the rest is history from there. And at the end of the day, I don’t eat or pay my bills unless I’m helping others eat and pay bills.Cheri Garcia pays second chances forward at Cornbread Hustle staffing agency
30 December 2021, Austin Business Journal Online
Every day, it would seem that she proves that it is possible to build both a personal and business future in which you invest in kindness.The interesting thing, as a Canadian, it would seem that many of those she is helping have spent their time in prison due to what are minor drug offenses; the US incarceration infrastructure does seem designed to destroy lives rather than helping them. And so while in Canada cannabis is legal – and can be purchased everywhere and anywhere – many of those who Cornbread Hustle is helping to place into productive, working jobs had originally been sent to prison for a minor drug offense. They are not ‘bad people’ – they are just caught up in a system that has yet to catch up to many other parts of the modern world. (Fast forward a decade – cannabis certainly will be legal throughout the US.)And yet, Cornbread Hustle does not limit itself in those it lifts up – anyone is eligible for a second chance. Re-read the story above about how her first job placement involved someone convicted of a murder. Everyone deserves an opportunity.Today, Cornbread Hustle and Cheri continue to accelerate their efforts, most notably through significant corporate outreach programs where the idea of hiring those who were previously institutionalized is formalized through corporate action. She tells the story briefly in another article with an effort that continues after a discovery during the pandemic of what could be accomplished through formalized programs:What opportunity for your company over the next year has you most excited? Why?We have partnered with Lennox Industries and expanded to Arkansas to help create a second-chance hiring plan for one of their warehouses. Within a couple of months, we’ve already hired about 100 employees for that location. We are excited to continue the journey with Lennox and other companies that have hired us to do the same thing in other locations.For her staffing company Cornbread Hustle, 2020 meant pivoting — then pivoting back to explosive growth
21 July 2021, Dallas Business Journal
There are many other individuals like Cheri that I follow online for inspirational and personal guidance, but suffice it to say, what she has demonstrated to the world is that you can build an actual business that is based on the concept. And to me, that is unique – you CAN invest in kindness.Kindness? Watch this:

That’s why I provide this as a key strategy for going forward into a new year, particularly as the curtain of societal madness continues to accelerate.In 2024, you can define your success by what you do – but keep in mind, you can also define that success by what you do for others.


“Be bold in your thinking, and daring in your actions”

Ask yourself – soda pop, or tomorrow?

Do you want to spend 2024 doing marginal things, or do you want to change your life?Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” said Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, to John Sculley, then an executive at Pepsi; Jobs was offering him the job. It’s one of the most famous – and apt – comments made in the history of business, as Apple went on to change the world (although much of it didn’t happen under Sculley’s watch, later upon Jobs’s return to the organization.)So what’s your plan for 2024?Soda pop? Or the future?People who talk about the future are often full of big and bold statements. Things like: “We are going to see more change in the next ten years than we have seen in the last 100.” “People tend to overestimate the rate of change on a two-year basis but underestimate the rate of change over ten years.” We stand on the brink of a time that will forever change how we live, learn, work, and play.” “If you are feeling overwhelmed today, just wait a moment until tomorrow.” “There is so much change happening that in just ten years, you will barely recognize the world you will live in.”Much of it is true – it’s just a matter of getting the timing right.If that is the case, what’s your plan? That’s why this idea of being bold in your thinking and daring in your actions, is strategy #18 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

One of the most popular pages on my Website continues to be the long-term trend piece, “20 Trends into 2030: Are You Ready for the Massive Transformation of Just About Everything?” – you can find it over at https://2030.jimcarroll.comI open the page with this observation:It’s time to get your future on! In the era of acceleration, when everything is speeding up, it’s difficult to imagine where we might be in 10 years. But I can do that – that’s my job. I advise clients around the world like NASA, Disney, the PGA, the World Bank, Volvo, Nikon, Mercedes Benz, Blackrock – on issues related to the future. So let me tell you where we are likely to be in 2030.”I don’t have any hesitation about any of the long-term trends I predict on that page; I am just uncertain about the timing.In my mind, it’s pretty clear that we are moving to a world of 24-hour farming; a time of healthcare that is more focused on fixing you before you are sick rather than after; one in which we underwrite insurance based on real-time analytics rather than looking back in time. A time in which most cars and trucks are electric, rather than being based on gas and diesel; one in which most of the world’s population lives in cities, not urban areas; a time when we do more construction offsite instead of onsite; in which more of our energy is coming from small, local community energy microgrids instead of big centralized energy utilities, with the majority of that energy coming from renewables instead of gas, coal and nuclear; a world in which more and more of our food is grown in vertical farms instead of traditional farms.To me, these trends are inequitable and unassailable, although it is fashionable in the anti-futurist futurist set to try to discount them to satisfy their rage against change. To me, their ramblings are mostly noise, the incoherent madness of individuals who cannot admit their hatred of progress.With that in mind, I keep going back to my favorite phrase about the future, and ask you – what is your goal within the context of this phrase? (And you might know this phrase by now since I use it so much!)Companies that do not yet exist will build products not yet conceived using methodologies not yet in existence with materials not yet invented based on ideas not yet imagined by people who do not yet know they are inventing tomorrow, today.”What are you going to do to turn the trends of tomorrow into the opportunities of today?Are you going to keep selling soda pop? Or take a bold step into tomorrow?Throughout our careers and working lives, we are always faced with the big questions of change, transformation, and opportunity. At times, we might become stuck, unable, and unwilling to move, trapped in our circumstances of indecision and fear. That was my position from 1982 onwards – I knew that something big was happening in the looming world of massive technological connectivity. I wanted to be a part of it, and through the next few years began following a career path that led me further into this new and exciting world, and away from my traditional financial career background – despite being told by those around me that I was making a mistake. By 1989, I’d had enough – I quit my job, took the leap, started my consulting firm, and abandoned my past for a new exciting future.From that decision unfolded a career story that to me, in retrospect, was simply magical. Years later, I have ZERO regrets, though I now recognize the scope and the complexity of the decision I undertook; and wish I might have become even bolder in my goals.I’d encourage you to over over and read my 2030 trends page.Ask yourself – soda pop, or tomorrow?The time to confront the question is now – not later.Choose wisely.Act now.


“Be less ‘artificial’ with your intelligence”

AI is exciting.And yet, when it’s being used, it’s also often pretty obvious.

AI is exciting.And right now, when it’s being used, it’s also often pretty obvious.That’s why, as we step further into the age of artificial intelligence, it’s crucial to remember the irreplaceable value of human creativity. While AI offers efficiency and analytical precision, it often falls short of capturing the nuanced warmth and emotional depth inherent in human expression. A paragraph penned by AI might tick all the technical boxes, but it lacks the spontaneous sparks of inspiration, the personal touch of lived experiences, and the subtle, yet profound, understanding of human emotions that come naturally to a human writer. This gap reminds us to embrace our unique human abilities – to think, feel, and create in ways that machines cannot replicate. In a world increasingly intertwined with AI, let’s not overlook the beauty and power of our creative minds, ensuring that the essence of artistry and emotional depth remains a distinctly human endeavor.Written by me, or an AI? ChatGPT.When you read it, it seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? To my mind, it does. This is the prompt I fed the machine:I am writing an article on how people should be cautious in their use of AI, trying to make the point that they should rely on their own creativity. The point is that at this point in time, a paragraph written by an AI might lack the creativity, warm, and human emotion that might come when written by a human. Can you write a paragraph that makes this point?I really can’t disagree with the nuance of what the AI offered up – and I can certainly agree that the paragraph seems to lack the spark of inspiration, personal touch, and subtle, profound clues of human thought. To me, it seems sterile, flat, dull.

You will know of the Turing test- that’s the famous test proposed many years ago that suggests that we will know when the future of AI has truly arrived – it’s when a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior is equivalent to or indistinguishable from, that of a human. Talk of the test is all the rage right now, as we know we have witnessed stunning advances with AI in the last year. Some believe we are there with the Turing test, and others would argue the opposite. We know that large-language models are displaying amazing things – excelling at medical tests and other forms of human knowledge scoring; in the generation of stunning works of art, both images and video; the ability to proper computer code without error.But are they creative? Do they display a human soul?To me, what’s missing in all these discussions is – is the warmth there? More importantly – will using these tools help you to enhance your top ‘soft skills’ – the critical set of capabilities that you need to get by in today’s complex world? Maybe not – and that’s why this is strategy #19 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. It seems like a worthy point of debate.

Think about it: if you spend any time speaking, writing, or thinking about issues of leadership, inspiration, and HR management you’ll be familiar with the idea of ‘soft skills.’ There are millions of pages devoted to the topic online, as people work to emphasize that it’s not just your technical and career skills that are important – it’s all the other stuff that is equally critical, if not more so. You can find these lists in any shape, form, or derivation; such as this list of soft skills for those who work in the world of technology

These lists share a commonality – what is important is collaboration, teamwork, learning ability, curiosity, and … creativity. Even the World Economic Forum weighs into the topic, publishing a list of core skills. Check #2 – creativity.

These skills aren’t the type of thing you can easily learn or pick up – these are skills that are developed through learning, making mistakes, trying new ideas, and applying yourself. And yet, they are critically important.Enter AI. On any list of soft skills, the issue of ‘creative thinking‘ is paramount – and yet we have to wonder if we risk diluting our creative skills through its overuse; if we might hold back our core creativity capabilities while we explore new ones based on AI; or whether we might short circuit our development of this and other critical soft skills as we become overly reliant on the ‘machine.’ I think I’ve already developed the skills to instantly spot AI-generated content; a resume that has been crafted through ChatGPT; or a LinkedIn post that is obviously from the machine. I believe overreliance on AI does more disservice to the author than they realize – more importantly, it might hinder our creativity. Finding the balance will become critical – and that’s a strategy for 2024. Be less artificial in your use of the intelligence – because the artificiality is so, so evident.Our time today echoes the early days of the arrival of other new forms of technology – we are excited to learn about them, share what we have learned, and figure out how we can introduce them into our lives. And yet, we often fail to think as to whether we really should be doing this. (I am just as guilty as many in this regard!)Consider this: when Microsoft first released Windows, it came with MSPaint, a marvelous little program that let people generate creative works of art. While primitive in its capabilities, it offered potential and promise with a new form of creativity; it was a stunning new idea that for many, opened up tomorrow. And yet, a lot of people (including me) used it to create some horrid designs. It didn’t help us to do anything creative at all – it merely helped us to accelerate our inability to do anything creative at all with the graphic arts. It was so stunningly anti-creative that today, there are entire online communities that have fun using it to point out how stunningly anti-creative it was.

We risk repeating the same mistakesBecause, as we know, as contemporary entities engage with the burgeoning influx of AI-driven creative instruments – encompassing AI art, textual composition, conceptual ideation, collaborative frameworks, and temporal organization – it becomes evident that these tools are imbued with formidable potency, captivating intrigue, and an abundance of latent promise and potential.However, it necessitates a critical self-inquiry: Do these technological advancements augment our integral soft skills, or conversely, do they pose a potential impediment to their development?Oh – sorry! I meant to say: that we run the same risk today as we encounter a flood of new creative tools with AI – art, writing, concept and idea generation, collaboration, time management, and more. They are all extremely powerful, wonderfully fascinating, and full of … promise and potential.Yet I think we need to ask ourselves – are they helping us with our all-important soft skills, or are they a hindrance?

Food for thought.


“Honor every learning curve”

Become known

Everyone is different – respect that fact, and the rest follows.That’s one of the most important things that I have come to learn over the years within my job.Think about it – the diversity of the ability of people to adapt to tomorrow is massive – and if you can’t respect and acknowledge that, your effort to take people there will sputter and fail. The level of knowledge that people might have concerning any particular topic will be vast; their ability to comprehend what it means will vary widely; and their actual ability to learn about and understand the nature of the topic or trend at hand will span the spectrum.That’s why, every time I go on stage in front of an audience with any type of topic, I know I’ve got a vast range of expertise, knowledge, understanding, and experience with the topic in the room. I try to acknowledge that fact upfront.

In effect, I always try to respect the diversity of knowledge within the room (as well as diversity in general.) I know that everyone solves problems in different ways and at a different pace, each having their own learning style., For many, it can be a fast process to move from novice to expert; for others, excruciatingly long. Some people set out to deliberately master tomorrow, today – for others, their process is slow but steady. In addition, I know that the setting matters – some organizations create a culture and environment that encourages learning, adaptation, and change; others feature a leadership style of culture that will stifle any attempt to move away from the current day and the status quo.What I’ve come to learn to do, in over 30 years of shaping and changing the attitude of people toward tomorrow and the trends that will take them there, is to try to honor the many different trains of thought and levels of expertise in the room. That’s why this is strategy #20 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series – honor every learning curve.

I was reminded of this reality yesterday during a planning call with a client that I will spend time with early in the New Year. To address the issue up front, I’ve worked this variation of the slide into my deck.

The topic in the room, of course, will be AI; my role is to be there to open the leadership meeting of this global organization, a role I undertake in many CEO-level events. I detail this within the page on my Web site that describes what I do:I help CEOs achieve their strategic objectives by aligning their organizations to a disruptive, accelerating future. It’s powerful leadership insight based on detailed, specific industry trends – delivered within a fast-paced keynote with a compelling motivational style!That’s my niche – it’s all detailed at https://ceo.jimcarroll.com.

What I have learned over the years is that a part of the art of doing what I do is to be respectful of my audience, mindful of its diversity, and understanding of its vast range of expertise. After all, I am dealing with a touchy and often difficult topic – their very own future – and know that all will react to what I have to say differently. Some will view my message as being one full of opportunity; others will view both me and my message with hostility, angst, worry, and concern. If I did not respect that fact, I wouldn’t be able to do my job.In this particular case, the situation with AI is common. At one end of the extreme, we will have some people (in this case, a minority), who view the topic through the lens of fear, worry, and concern – they are convinced that AI is out to destroy their world, company, and industry. They have been listening intently to the quite wrong media spin that every job is at risk of being lost to AI – and they will be worried about their own. Their entire worldview on the topic is shaped by the idea found in the image above – an article from a 1940s science magazine that “man is doomed by the machine age.” They might view my message with the hostility that shapes their view of tomorrow in general, and their personal fears specifically. They are difficult to reach.At the far other end of the spectrum will be the small, core group of people who are already deeply immersed in all aspects of AI, working with various projects to accelerate the opportunity it presents to the organization. Several weeks ago, as a part of preparatory work, I sat in on a webinar they held for clients on the topic, and it’s pretty evident they are far along the knowledge and experience curve. My message for them? They’ll be of the mindset, ‘but we know that already.’ They will view my message with a dispassionate eye; there is not much I might be able to tell them about the topic itself, but I will attempt to reach them that they must pay attention to so much more than the topic itself – they must honor the learning curve of others.And then in the middle of this spectrum will be the vast number of employees in the audience – they know that something important is happening, that there are strategies to be pursued and knowledge to be gained. Most will be working and playing with technologies like ChatGPT as a necessary part of the investment to get to tomorrow. They will listen eagerly to my message, hoping to accelerate their knowledge.In crafting my talk, I need to be cognizant of all these viewpoints – and must ensure that I honor all the different levels of expertise and variations in core learning within my talk. That’s often not very easy to do – but critical to do if I am to have any form of success. You need to be thinking about the same type of thing, regardless of what you do and your function, role, and responsibility. If you are reading this post, it’s pretty clear that you too are trying to align people to tomorrow – and acknowledging the range of expertise and ability to learn is critical.Part of the challenge is coming up against the popular wisdom that we can take everyone to the same place if enough time is invested; the myth of the 10,000 hours concerning expertise development sets a level of expectations that can often not be met. There are many different reasons why the ability of people to learn and adapt varies, ranging from different educational and skill backgrounds, and different pathways with professional development, Then there are cultural differences – we do not serve our role well if we do not respect the fact that the actual ethnic and national diversity in the room can have an impact on the depth of knowledge and expertise level. And let’s not forget the generational issue – quite simply, today’s young 20-something is far more open to new and radical forms of thinking than the change-adverse baby boomer! Finally, there are different learning styles – some can grasp new ideas and concepts quickly, while others cannot.All of this means that the ability of people to align to fast-paced technological change will vary widely; their ability to think about core issues of creativity that are tightly linked to innovation will differ; as will their entire attitude toward the topic of change. Your job is to motivate them to adapt, engage with them to get involved, and encourage them to change. That’s not easy – at all.So what do you do about this?Honor their learning style; be honest about tomorrow; speak directly about both the opportunities and challenges; acknowledge the worry and concern of some while ensuring that others understand why you are doing so. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the nature of my job is sometimes just … weird. When I am on stage or sharing my insight through blog posts or other methods, I am encouraging change and adaptation. Whether I am trying to change anything – new processes, ways of doing things, ideas, adaptation to new business models – or when trying to introduce new technologies – AI and such – there are always people who have different levels or depths of expertise.I need to be respectful that everyone has a different level of understanding, so some might find any change easy, others hard; some might understand a new technology, while others are fearful.I must honor every learning curve. You should too – and make this a core part of your strategy for 2024.


"Take responsibility"

Stop making excuses - start manufacturing solutions.

I've been emphasizing for years that 'the future belongs to those who are fast' - in fact, it's the title of one of my books. And yet many people fail to gain enough escape velocity to get beyond the challenges of today into the opportunities of tomorrow; they become stuck in a trap of their own making. Why does this happen? Because they spend more time making up excuses for their inaction and not enough initiative for their actions. They never take responsibility for the fact that they are the only ones who can accomplish the 'moving' part of 'moving forward.'What happens when we fail to take responsibility? We tend to blame everyone but ourselves for our inaction and lack of initiative - because it's the easy way out! When we do that, we fail to do what we need to do to move forward. That reality does not serve us well into the next year. 2024 will be full of both massive new opportunities and the potential for small wins - new skills to learn, challenges to pursue, technologies to explore, applications to be implemented, ideas to be chased and innovation concepts to be explored. As I always say, it's what you do with this fact that matters!Many people won't take advantage of this fact, because they live in a world in which innovation killers are rampant - it's a form of organizational sclerosis that clogs up the ability to chase new ideas and a blockage of the personal artery of initiative that clots up any pathway that might lead for a chance for breakthrough performance. The innovation killers? From Las Vegas, 2009:

Think about some of the most common excuses that you might make today - or that you might hear your peers state regularly: "I'm just too busy right now. Maybe later when I have more time…" "I don't have the money." "I don't have the time." "I've never done this before." "I don't have the skills." "The conditions aren't right." "I'm too busy." "It won't work." "I don't have enough money." "I'm not good enough," "I'm going to look dumb." "This doesn't work in my situation."Over the years, I have spent so much time watching the innovation killers at work in so many organizations that I have woven it throughout my stage material and into my website - I've got an entire page devoted to the topic. It's over at - of course - https://innovationkillers.jimcarroll.com

There are so many common excuses that are made by organizations and their leaders that we can often see the death of innovation happening in real-time - and we know that it will lead to a failure to adapt to change, disruption, innovation, and transformation with markets and industries. The result is that organizations often fail or die because their excuses permit them to do so - they never take responsibility.Why does it happen?  it comes about by downplaying disruptive threats - we can delude ourselves into minimizing the impact of significant trends, trying to avoid the new reality they present until it is far too late, Once we do this, we lose all ability to deal with these challenges effectively, and avoid any opportunity to turn those threats into an opportunity. In other cases, we spend too much time chasing perfect data - we get ourselves into the mindset that we need absolutely convincing data to move forward, but might never actually see such information. The result is that we hide our opportunity to take a risk behind the veneer of a lack of courage amplified as an excuse for information. Parse that phrase. I'll wait.And then, by the time we have the data we need, the window of opportunity has shrunk, if not disappeared - we get the timing wrong. In many other situations, we underestimate the need for radical change: we believe that the status quo will suffice. Or, we fall into the trap of thinking that the skills we have, the mindset we possess, the action plans we have in place, and the strategies we have defined will be sufficient - until we realize that they won't be. We might often wait until evidence of the need for change is abundantly clear, by which time the opportunity for action has been missed.I will often point out these reasons by identifying the corporate culture that permits inaction to become the only course of action.

What happens is that many things get in our way, and become the bedrock for the foundation of excuses that bolt us to the realities of today instead of the opportunities of tomorrow. These include:

  • tradition. Some organizations are too caught up with the past, which causes them to lose sight of opportunities for the future.

  • culture. Often corporate culture can be stifling, if not deadening.

  • organizational memory. It causes people to focus on the past instead of the future.

  • bureaucrats. Their job is simply to shut down ideas, get people to fill out forms, and reduce the everyday work experience to a series of mind-numbing tasks.

  • job descriptions. They reduce the role of people to a narrowly defined set of activities and small goals. Few organizations enshrine innovation success into job descriptions, let alone the HR reward system.

  • a failed radar. Too many organizations don’t have an internal future mechanism that helps them to spot future threats and opportunities.

  • arrogance and hubris. As in, we know better than anyone else!

  • mission statements. They can give everyone an overall sense of purpose. On the other hand, most organizations don’t update and refresh them, which means that in many cases, the mission statement has nothing to do with what the organization needs to be doing.

I could go on - the inventory of the inaction that leads to excuses is too long to prepare an exhaustive list. Whatever the case might be, we don't take enough responsibility to do what we need to do to successfully transition into tomorrow. That's why this is strategy #21 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series - take responsibility! Stop it with the excuses already!

Take responsibility. Stop making excuses - start manufacturing solutions!How do you do this?First and foremost - acknowledge the problem. At this very moment, think back to what you did during 2023. Where did you let an excuse hold you back from moving forward? At one moment did you let inaction determine your destiny, indecision hinder your initiative, or a lack of clarity postpone your opportunity?Second, acknowledge these moments as a failure - your ability to confront your past mistakes and previous inaction instead of denying its impact is the only way to move forward.Third, commit to a plan of corrective action - 2024 will be your year of being decisive!You are going to do the things you have postponed, learn that skill you have always thought about, chase the big bold idea that has been in the back of your mind, and undertake the reinvention of your life that you have long been thinking about. That's because committing to action is a critical part of taking responsibility.Fourth, commmit to undertaking a regular inventory of where you might be slipping into old bad habits. Watch for those moments when you are letting a lack of responsibility destroy your chance to chase opportunity. Over on my innovation iller page, I will often suggest that people and organizations go through the list of excuses, and score a point for each one that they tend to use.

Through the year, score your attitude regularly, and if you see yourself slipping - take action!Take responsibility!


“Stay focused on the ’BIG’ future”

Think BIG. Your future will thank you for it!

Are you thinking about the trends that matter? Consider this statement:When it comes to the future, it’s always important to think about a trend from a long-term perspective while acknowledging the short-term issues that occur along the way.But as the future comes at us with greater speed and intensity, it could be that we lose sight of the long-term view of where the future is taking us as short-term issues come to dominate the discussion. With that in mind, it’s a good time to think about The BIG Future.That's how I open my page about what I call the BIG Future - which you can find, of course, over at https://bigfuture.jimcarroll.com.It's a page that I started pulling together last year when AI was becoming all the rage; my thought process was that  while there was something significant happening with accelerating AI technologies, we might see everyone forget about all the other 'stuff.' I believed (and rightly so) that many people would commit the fundamental mistake of focusing mostly on the 'hot' trends (i.e. AI), and ignoring other trends that were equally, if not more, significant. My goal with my 'BIG future' series was to begin to pull together a group of disparate, unrelated but very significant trends that would have a big impact on us going forward, but that was often not covered in the context of everything else.

So far, I’ve covered such issues as vertical farming, the acceleration of brain science, regenerative medicine, “connected” energy, materials science, the longevity divide, and more. Each of these trends is massive in scope, significant in their potential (or risk), and involves a LOT of opportunity. If you haven’t had a look, you might want to make sure you do.In addition to that, I’ve sprinkled throughout the page a variety of images that summarize the major, long-term transformative trends that are redefining entire industries, including healthcare, insurance, agriculture, retail, manufacturing, and others. Each of these bears a mention – and is all a part of what I do within my stage work when I am doing a deep dive into a particular industry. My overall goal? People should think BIG about the BIG transformations occurring within entire industries.

With that in mind, here’s an overview of a bit of what I believe you need to consider, with a variety of industries under the microscope. Each of these BIG trends will take years and perhaps decades to unfold but will have a profound impact. There’s more of this thinking over at another one of my trends series – trends of 2030, which you can find, of course, at https://2030.jimcarroll.com. That’s why this is Strategy #22 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

Automotive and transportation? The BIG trend is that we’re moving from a world in which today, while we mostly drive carbon-based cars – tomorrow, they are essentially becoming big computers with big batteries on wheels, with some big thinking on autonomous technology (although I will admit that I have soured somewhat on the whole ‘self-driving car’ thing.) Despite the short-term noise around the electrification of vehicles, the long-term trend is such that in just over a decade, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a gasoline or diesel vehicle; and the typical vehicle will essentially be like a big iPad on wheels.

Construction? We’re moving from a world in which do much more factory-based manufacturing offsite, with rapid final assembly on-site. Add to that new methodologies and new material science based on 3d printing technology, and the entire process of construction is changing. In numerous construction and infrastructure-oriented keynotes over the last few years, I’ve pointed out that we are implementing new methodologies and new thinking to the entire process of construction, with more and more of the processes undertaken offsite, in large-scale facilities dedicated to the construction process. It’s assembly line thinking coming to the manufacturing sector.

Education? We’re moving to a world of just-in-time knowledge – getting the right knowledge at the right time for the right purpose. Education becomes less about ‘teaching specific knowledge‘ and more about how to ‘find specific knowledge.’ This is going to become particularly relevant as the era of AI is unleashed upon us, and we continue to drown in massive volumes of information. On stage, I speak about the rapid emergence of new knowledge and the fast obsolescence of existing knowledge – and the knowledge industry will increasingly focus on how to navigate this complexity.

Energy? Let’s face it – despite the political machinations at COP28, we all know that carbon is over – even the Saudis and BP and others know that. In the utility sector, the big trend is ‘connected energy‘ – we are moving a world of local energy microgrids based on renewable technologies, carefully balanced and managed through advanced AI technologies. In that context, batteries are the future of just about everything, and production is all about solar, wind, and other new forms of energy generation. Spare me the pushback – the science and economics don’t support the whining.

Food? As new science takes hold and massive urbanization takes place, we are chasing new ideas on how to produce more food with few inputs – and eat healthier. This leads to ideas like vertical farming, cellular agriculture, and customizable, programmable, AI-based, real-time food planning based on instant health assessment! The future of food is all about new ideas, rapid innovation, and bold thinking.

Healthcare, medicine, and pharmaceuticals? In essence, we’re turning the global healthcare system upside-down with precision medicine, targeted therapies, and accelerated science – fixing people before they are sick rather than after! It’s all about DNA-based medicine, connected medical devices, the virtualization of healthcare, and the rapid discovery of new science, methodologies, treatments, and forms of diagnosis.

Insurance? We’re moving from a world in which insurance risk is assessed by actuaries looking back in time, to one that involves real-time predictive risk analysis. As we extend connectivity to every device, we can underwrite insurance risk based on real-time data. We won’t do your health insurance based on a urine or blood test – but based on your current blood pressure, glycemic index, and more. The entire philosophy of insurance is undergoing a massive change, on both the life as well as the property and casualty insurance side of the industry.

Manufacturing? We’re moving from a world of mass production to one of mass customization, accelerated by digitization, and robotics. It leads to build-to-demand as opposed to building-to-inventory business models for many industries, with a LOT of highly intelligent robotics leading the way. New materials science – which I cover within my trends series – leads to the invention of all kinds of new products that can be manufactured in new and different ways.

Retail? We’re moving from a world in which we go out to get all the stuff we need, to one in which more of the stuff comes to us – accelerated, of course, by the global pandemic. The future of the industry is driven by drone technology, robotics, and advanced last-mile logistics methodologies. We will continue to see an ongoing collapse in traditional retail locations and an acceleration of everything involving home delivery – it’s all Amaon-like concepts all the time.

Last but not least? One of my favorites is agriculture. We’re moving from a world in which we only farm when the sun is up – to farming 24 hours a day, based on robotics, autonomous technology, virtualization, and more. I like to emphasize that the kid playing Farmville today is the young adult who will be managing the high-tech, autonomous virutalized farm of tomorrow!

All of these industry transformations involve massive, significant trends, many of which have already been underway for quite some time. These are not necessarily fast trends – they are slowly moving and will take years and decades to unfold. As they do, they will continue to lead to the birth of new companies, entire new sub-industries, new jobs and careers, massive new knowledge sets, and so much more. It’s by delving into and understanding these trends that you will be able to discover and shape so much of your future.The interesting thing is that many of these trends now involve significant pushback by what I referred to in post #1 of this series – what I call the anti-future futurists. I suggested that you ignore their whining, prattle, and political efforts, because ultimately, in the face of the relentless march of tomorrow, most of their compelling will essentially go nowhere.That’s why, throughout 2024, I would encourage you to not only keep involved with today’s hot trends (hello AI!) but also keep your eye on the BIG trends that over the long term matter. Consider what you need to do to understand them, align with them, and align your career, knowledge, and industry path toward them.It’s only by following the first part of my mantra – “Think BIG, start small, scale fast” – that you can capitalize on tomorrow, today.


“Cast a more skeptical eye towards many trends, forecasts and predictions”

Volatility is the new normal in the prediction business.

You need to be a little more skeptical of predictions about tomorrow.Trust me, as a futurist who makes his living advising people of my predictions for tomorrow, it pains me to write that sentence – but I’ve been thinking about this strategy for quite some time.Much of this mindset has come from the rather dismal record of forecasting by economists and financial pundits in the last few years; after all, it was just over 14 months ago that Bloomberg predicted – with 100% certainty — that we would see a recession in 2023.

It never happened, of course.The darned global economy kept chugging along, with month after month and quarter after quarter of continuous growth. Yet at the same time, global economic forecasters and financial pundits kept peddling their forecasts of doom and gloom, almost seeming to will for it to happen – and then seemed apoplectic and angry when it never transpired!This, of course, caused me to work this observation into my Daily Inspiration post some months ago, observing that if you were basing your strategies for the future based on their forecasts, you were making a big mistake.

I long ago concluded that this particular class of tomorrow forecasters often had no real clue in what was happening, taking great delight in this particularly contradictory newspaper cover page, indicating that while economists are busy predicting one thing, an opinion piece suggests that they have no real ability to do that. Perhaps 2023 has proven this latter observation to be correct.

Failed predictions and missed forecasts? I got to thinking about the issue of failed forecasting in the last few days, as I have watched global meteorologists try to make sense of the current weather conditions in North America and increasingly, it seems, fail to do so.Case in point – as I write this, I’m at my ski chalet, enveloped in fog. Everyone who skis in North America knows that it has been a dismal season, full of mud runs, heavy rain, and abnormally high temperatures. Those of us who want to try to understand when this misery might come to an end turn our attention to the long-range weather forecasters. They’re the specialized set of experts who try to interpret the many different weather models to figure out what is happening with the jet stream, ocean temperatures, and more to have a sense of what might transpire two to three weeks out.It’s been challenging watching them this year since the only conclusion I can come to is that many are admitting their confusion about what is going on with the weather. As the forecasted winter arrival keeps getting pushed out, they seem to be busy trying to figure out why their previous predictions were in error – and worse yet, commenting often that ‘the models don’t make sense.’ What does that last bit mean? Our world of meteorology today relies upon several vast supercomputer models – the GFS, NAMS, ECMWF, UKMET, and others. These models undertake specific ‘runs’ – or model forecasts – with forecasted jet stream patterns, high and low-pressure zones, wind speeds, and more. Interpreting these many different models is an art.And it seems the models are simply not making sense anymore. Case in point – these maps are from one particular weather model, predicting North American temperature anomalies one month out. These two maps come from the same computer model run 24 hours apart. The first suggests abnormal cold for all of North America.

But 24 hours later, the same model suggests abnormal heat for a large portion of North America.

The first thing you learn about meteorology is that trying to predict actual temperature trends a month out is nearly impossible. and so these maps have little to no value. Most of these forecasters simply don’t rely on this particular set of data that far out since they know it will be notoriously unreliable. And yet, to see such variation in a computer model is rather stunning. To me, as an untrained observer watching this industry in real-time, it also seems as if their ability to interpret the weather is breaking down, as, the models they rely upon almost seem to be making no sense anymore. That’s worrisome – perhaps our ability to accurately forecast tomorrow is breaking down at the very time that these models are subjected to new risks because of the climate crisis.Back to the future – we all know that the business of predictions and forecasts has long had a rather shady and volatile track record and that history is littered with failed predictions. Let’s reprise just a few:

  • I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that” – Edward J. Smith, captain of the Titanic

  • There is no danger that Titanic will sink” – Phillip Franklin, vice president of the White Star Line

  • X-rays will prove to be a hoax” – Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society

  • “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova” – Robert Metcalfe, 1995

  • The Americans need the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys” – Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878

  • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home” – Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

  • These Google guys, they want to be billionaires and rock stars and go to conferences and all that. Let us see if they still want to run the business in two to three years” – Rob Wrubel, former CEO of Excite, 1999

Oops.What’s going on? I’m increasingly wondering about that, and am coming to several conclusions – I think there is the interplay of many different factors happening all at once.First, there are a greater number of ‘tomorrow’ experts, many of dubious quality, out on social media and within networking circles – social media has permitted so many more people to present their expertise about tomorrow to the world. A flood of insight with few parameters on quality makes it extremely difficult to separate the realistic predictions from the bogus; it makes it complex to separate the noise and the low-quality insight from predictions that might matter.Second, perhaps there is an over-reliance on models that no longer make sense – whether it be with the weather, global economies, demand forecasting, or consumer behaviour. We live in a world in which volatility is the new normal, and it might be the case that models built upon presumptions of clarity no longer fit within our crazy turvy world. That’s worth thinking about.Third, there is the fact that there is simply too much information to figure out what is going on anymore – we are drowning in insight, publications, forecasts, social media posts, and now, AI-generated content. How can we ever figure out clarity if we cannot interpret the lack of insight?Fourth, there is the bias towards ‘relentless doomsterism.’ The impact of failed economic headlines? The interesting thing is that so many people seem to rely on such failed forecasts. Throughout the year, I saw countless organizations pull back, scale back, defer initiative, pause plans, wait for clarity, and put on the brakes. All of them now look rather embarrassed, sheepishly admitting that they were acting like sheep.And yet, some of that mindset remains – in that vein, the Washington Post weighed in on the national mood in the US – despite the current reality that they are in the best financial and economic circumstances in decades, doom and gloom manage the mindset.

So what is my point with all of this? I think in the last few years, something has changed with the entire industry of ‘future forecasting,’ and so in 2024, it might be worth your while to be somewhat more skeptical of what you see.That’s why this is Strategy #23 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series.

Cast a bit more of a jaded eye on the words of wisdom of tomorrow from those you follow!Including, perhaps, me! Or, maybe not. I’m not sure – I can’t predict what might happen!


Stop Waiting.
Start Doing.

Get stuff done.That’s it.That’s all you need to do.

When former US President Barack Obama was asked to share his most important career advice for young people, he replied… “Just learn how to get stuff done.”It’s a simple yet powerful answer. You can talk about things all day; you can talk about all the trends you want; you can suggest all the ideas that you can imagine; but if you can never put into action the pathway they suggest for you, then you are essentially failing. As the description states on the video, “the power lies not in what you say, but in what you do.”

Each year, I summarize my thoughts for the coming year in my list of ’10 Great Words’ – it goes back to 2006 in my original 10 Great Words post, which can be found at https://10greatwords.jimcarroll.com. Go back and read the original document – at that page or within this PDF:

Over the years, this document has proven to be a powerful motivator – it’s often downloaded from my site. I also use the words to close many a keynote – it’s the action oriented part of my final message to my audience. I first began using the list in 2009 with this wonderful keynote I gave in Las Vegas right after the global economic meltdown of 2008:

Check out the 10th and final word: Do.Do. Renew your sense of purpose, and restore your enthusiasm for the future by taking action.
Too many organizations, and the people who work within them, are on autopilot.
They go into work each day, and do the same things they did the day before, with the belief that everything today is the same as it was yesterday.It isn’t.Action is the best reaction!I seem to hammer on this theme of action-oriented action each year. Last year, my 10 Great Words for 2023 – posted on January 1, 2023 – provided this list of great worlds for the coming year:

Check word #9 – Act.Did you?(I will be providing my 10 Great Words for 2024 tomorrow – stay tuned!)What happens if you don’t act, fail to do, and let inaction drive your action? You fail, you fall behind, you fail to move forward! Remember – “power lies not in what you say, but in what you do.” With that in mind, these are executives from the Business Indecision Hall of Shame, ruminating on their lost opportunities as a result of their inability to get stuff done.

Today, they are busy thinking about what might have been if they had only chosen to ‘get stuff done.’ Instead, they are ashamed of their inaction, embarrassed by their loss of momentum, and truly appalled by their indecision.

Get stuff done!It’s the most important thing you need to do – and that’s why this is Strategy #24 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. “Stop Waiting. Start doing.

How can you affirm to yourself that action is your best course of action? Think about what is driving your inaction, or that of the organization that you lead or work within:

  • fear of the unknown – people are hesitant to make decisions due to the potential negative consequences of unforeseen events. Fear is a powerful demotivator. Conquer it.

  • a lousy trends radar and an ineffective tomorrow-implementation capability. Too many organizations continued to suffer from a poor understanding of the future and a realistic perspective of trends. This held many organizations back, unable to move forward.

  • too much of a misfocus on perceived threats, and not enough of a focus on major opportunity also destroyed the ability of organizations for opportunistic opportunity chasing!

  • too many organizations perpetuated a structure and culture that permitted inaction to fester, leading to organizational sclerosis which I talk about all too often.

  • denial of the speed of change held organizations back – the action was simply not possible because they are still structured for slow in a fast world.

  • uncertainty, arrogance, hubris, complacency – the sins of the CEO permeated their way through the organization. Go back and read my post on CEO hubris – it’s at https://hubris.jimcarroll.com – and ask yourself if this drove the inaction of your organization – did your leadership team simply let their ego drive inaction?

  • chasing perfect information to drive decisions was a culprit – I saw too many organizations waiting for clarity on strategy and trends – but we now operate in a world in which fuzziness and volatility can drive the many twists and turns of existing trends, or result in massive news ones.

  • fear of failure held organizations back – the fear of making the wrong decision accelerated aggressive indecision throughout the year, leading to a lack of action and progress.

  • the mindset of “we’ll just wait and see” allowed this culture of inaction and indecision to become embedded – and once that happens, organizations are often unable to take proactive steps toward the future.

  • and last but not least, ‘analysis paralysis‘ and ‘death by committee’ ruled the roost, and became the cancer of corporate inaction.

All of this meant that organizations suffered from missed opportunities, and a failure or reduced ability to respond to emerging competitive threats.Do you know what the worst thing was about 2023? The mindset of potential doom and gloom caused you to freeze! In 2023, ‘corporate nervousness‘ about a potential recession led to a focus on cost-cutting and scaling back – but that was all misplaced because of a recession that never happened! What I saw throughout the year was a a general reluctance among many executives to commit to taking action – allowing a complete state of inertia to dominate all action. I wrote about that in my 23 Trends for 2023 post – #6 Opting Out.

What a lot of time was wasted! More important, that mindset failed to heed the reality that history has taught us that those who keep moving forward despite economic volatility are the ones who win.

Go back and read that post:To opt-out is to choose not to participate in something.Right now, the conventional wisdom – the wisdom of crowds – seems to be that if we are headed for a recession in 2023, we’d better hunker down, scale back, slow down, take it easy, be cautious, reduce spending, defer our actions, wait it out, take things slow, put things on pause.And that is just plain idiotic. History tells us so – because those who choose to opt-out of conventional wisdom are those who win.The trend that will unfold in 2023 has to do with the decision by many to choose not to participate in the current or upcoming recession, economic downturn, or whatever we want to call this period of economic uncertainty. We don’t really know if we are in a recession – one moment we seem to be, the next moment not. Clearly, it’s pretty volatile out there and uncertainty rules our future. In the context of that, it’s important to focus on the long-term goal, not the short-term volatility.Because history tells us so!Take a look at the lessons I identified in that post from what happened with those who chose to act in the face of indecision and uncertainty. They won. Did you?Look, 2024 should be easy for you!Just get stuff done!Start today.It’s not like it’s complicated.