The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast

Futurist Jim Carroll gives AmeriQuest Symposium attendees a sharp dose of reality regarding the future.

Many speakers at the 2014 Symposium spoke about connectivity; how we’re all connected by technology and how those connections seem to grow faster and faster. Renowned futurist Jim Carroll was one of those speakers. He made it clear to those attending the Symposium that a company’s success now and in the future will be decided by its agility, flexibility, and willingness to embrace change. We all know that technology has been expanding at an incredible pace. If you want to know how fast things are changing or will change, here are a few factoids from Carroll:

  • 65% of pre-school children today will work in jobs or careers that do not yet exist
  • ½ of what a student learns in the first year of college is obsolete by graduation
  • Most digital cameras have a 3 – 6 month shelf life before they are obsolete
  • 60% of Apple’s revenue this past year came from products that didn’t exist just four years ago

Carroll kept repeating the phrase that is the title of this posting, “The future belongs to those who are fast.” Many companies suffer from organizational sclerosis. They try to do things the way they’ve always done them, but we’re moving at such speed when it comes to innovation and invention that the old ways just don’t work. Businesses need to understand that fully half of today’s global population is under the age of 25; that most of them are globally wired and connected. These are your customers and your employees, and they’re used to nearly immediate gratification and acknowledgement. So if your business can’t adapt to fulfill their expectations; if you can’t embrace and implement changing technology, you are going to find difficulty achieving and maintaining success.

Carroll illustrated the pace of change by talking about the Jetsons, a cartoon show popular in the ‘60’s and ‘80’s. Although the show was supposed to take place in 2062, he talked about some of the technology in that show that actually exists today. We may not have flying cars; however, tanning beds, video chat (think Skype), robot vacuums (think Roomba), and TeleViewer (think iPads) are items we no longer think of as futuristic. For the transportation professionals attending the meeting, Carroll stated that the typical truck cabin today contains more technology and computing power than a Cessna and that, by 2017, SIRI will be available for most new trucks.

So what is the secret to adapting to change; how do people and companies become world-class innovators. According to Carroll, there are five key ways:

1. Appreciate the unique time we live in and the rate of change that is occurring. Embrace it, don’t fear it.
2. Think now of how much change will occur and pursue that change. Innovators don’t follow the rules, they rewrite them.
3. Control the speed of innovation.
4. See change and search for opportunity to capitalize on it.
5. Ride the generational acceleration.

When it comes to your business and the future, Carroll suggests that you “think big, start small, and scale fast.” The tortoise might have beaten the hare in the old fable, but in today’s world, slow and steady will not only lose the race; it will be lucky if it gets past the starting line.

Kate Freer

About Kate Freer

Kate Freer is Vice President of Marketing for AmeriQuest Business Services. In this role, Kate is responsible for AmeriQuest’s marketing and communications activities, including image and market development, corporate communications, media relations, brand management, advertising, and market research and analysis. She leads go-to-market strategy for AmeriQuest and its subsidiary companies.Prior to her current role, Ms. Freer served as Director of Marketing of AmeriQuest. She joined the company in 2004 as Marketing Manager, was promoted to Director in 2007, and subsequently promoted to Vice President of Marketing in 2012.Before joining AmeriQuest, Ms. Freer held various marketing, communications, and advertising roles in the publishing industry for Information Today, Inc. and the Courier-Post, a Gannett company.Ms. Freer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stockton University.

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