Is the Auto Industry Ready for the World of 2030?

Article for UK based Automotive Megatrends magazine, a special report for subscribers by Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll on the automotive world of 2030

What’s coming in the next 15 years could be mind-boggling, says futurist Jim Carroll. As told to Martin Kahl:

To paraphrase Bill Gates, most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that will occur on a two-year basis, and underestimate how much change will occur on a ten-year basis. Let’s put that in perspective: Think about the change that has occurred in the last ten years and then consider what might come in the next ten to 15 years: it could be mind boggling. Ten years ago, we only just had YouTube and FaceBook, but we didn’t have Twitter, and we didn’t have the iPhone.

One of the biggest trends that is unfolding, and one that will have a huge impact on transportation, is what I call hyper connectivity, or what people are referring to as the Internet of Things. Everything that is a part of our daily lives will be connected to the Internet – and that has massive implications.

As for how cars and trucks fit into this, there are two paths. One is full vehicle autonomy, the Google self-driving car trend. The other is the development of intelligent highway and intelligent road infrastructure that interacts with everything else via a variety of methodologies that will help the car to drive in a safe manner with a human inside. I don’t think it’s a discussion of whether we will all be either in autonomous cars or human-driven cars – I think there’s going to be a mixture of both.

Continue reading Is the Auto Industry Ready for the World of 2030?

Fall Is the Real Start of the New Year!

by Terry Savage

Summer flew by again, and the school year has started. Remember when “back to school” signaled the real start of a new year? Back when you moved into a new grade, got a new teacher, a new fall wardrobe and made new friends? Fall is still the most efficient time to get organized. Why wait until the calendar year turns. Start now and avoid the rush!

Here are five financial steps you should take now, ahead of the crowd:

1. Assess your retirement plan asset allocation. Even if the market weren’t volatile, this would be a good time to make adjustments, before the year-end rush to lock in gains and harvest losses. If you can’t do it alone, seek advice from a fee-only financial planner — or from the management services at major mutual fund companies. Or go to and click on the link to Financial Engines, which will get you a year’s free advice from this investment adviser to major company retirement plan participants.

2. Check your credit report and credit score. Do this before the holiday shopping rush. Go to for your free report from each of the three major credit bureaus. (It’s not necessary to sign up for a credit protection service.) You can get a free credit score at (or on your Discover card monthly statement, among other places.)

And if you don’t plan on shopping for a major purchase, such as a home, a car or life insurance, you might want to pay a small amount to “freeze” your credit, so that scammers can’t open a new account in your name.

Continue reading Fall Is the Real Start of the New Year!

Partnership – A Crucible for Innovation

by Chip Bell

Luca de Meo at Volkswagen AG did it. Ed Catmull at Pixar Animation did it. Larry Page at Google also did it. Realizing the path to innovation would require revolutionary new thinking; all three leaders grasped that it would also take a new way of coalescing and harnessing talent.

Reading Collective Genius, The Innovators, Creativity, Inc. and The Google Guys yields a strong confirmation that the pursuit of innovation might require a partnership approach, not a traditional teamwork style.

Ask twenty people the difference between a team and partnership and you will likely get as many answers. We enjoy watching powerful examples of superb teamwork on the court, field or racetrack pit on weekends and think it must surely be the most effective structure for all manner of results. But, what if a collection of people with complimentary talents focused on an innovation goal actually worked better as a high performance partnership, not as a team? We sometimes use the words synonymously but there are fundamental differences.

A team is focused on accomplishing a mutual purpose and uses an effective relationship as a tool for achieving it. A partnership is focused on creating a relationship context from which all manner of outcomes can be accomplished. Among a team the task is preeminent; however, relationship distinguishes a partnership.

Stated differently, the task focus of a team might be so compelling that even a less-than-superior team could produce superior performance (see the movie Hoosiers for an example of high performance teamwork). In a partnership, excellence cannot be sustained without a superior relationship of diverse strengths (see any movie about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson for an example of a high performance partnership).

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Are You Selling When Buyers Are Ready?

by David Meerman Scott


Today, buyers are in charge.

Google is our first stop during any shopping excursion. We check out a company’s site and blog and YouTube channel before considering doing business with them. We fire up LinkedIn an hour before an initial business meeting. We check out the CEO’s Twitter feed to see what she is up to.

Most companies are still selling as if it were 1999

For decades, centuries even, selling has been about pushing a product or service at people and trying to get them to pay attention.

Selling has traditionally been conducted on the seller’s timetable. Companies had sales campaigns. They staged sales “events” when products were offered at a discount. Salespeople had quotas tied to the end of the month or end of the quarter.

Can you see the pattern? All of these reasons to sell are company focused, not buyer focused.

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Respectful Creativity: Encouraging Different Viewpoints on Your Team

by Laura Stack

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. – Bryant H. McGill, American self-improvement writer and speaker

Respectful Creativity: Encouraging Different Viewpoints on Your Team Effective teams are most often led by leaders who expect innovation and therefore encourage diverse viewpoints. This is no secret, despite the fact that—as cynics will surely point out—we rarely practice the concept adequately, and I would agree. However, we also let pettiness, bureaucracy, groupthink, disengagement, laziness, and other failings hinder our creativity and slow us down. Business as usual runs down and crushes flexible creativity.

When I think of respectful creativity, I think of Steve Jobs and Apple. Steve Jobs was no saint; he had his flaws, but that just makes his story all the more amazing. The Apple Computers that reinvented home computing with the Macintosh in ’84 couldn’t have done so without a corporate atmosphere that both encouraged and nurtured creativity. When his own Board of Directors ousted him, the creativity seemed to stop.

Meanwhile, Jobs turned his creative genius to NeXT Computers and Pixar, until NeXT actually merged with Apple later and Jobs took over operations again. Was it a coincidence that game-changing products like the iMac, iPod, and iPad debuted in the years after his return? Not likely.

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by Patrick Haggerty

Republicans won big in the mid-term elections for many reasons.  Senators elected by riding the coat tails of a winning Presidential candidate (Reagan in 1980, Obama in 2008, etc.) often have problems getting re-elected on their own six years later.   This was true for Senate Democrats elected in 2008 in states that are traditionally vote Republican and voted for Romney in 2012.  Republicans also had a great ground game (which they copied from Obama’s 2012 re-election)  and they played upon the electorate’s dislike of our countries problems.   The Republicans “wave election” is a mandate as well as it is a directive to fix  what the electorate feels is wrong with America;  ObamaCare, no realistic Ebola procedures,  IRS abuses, Benghazi, the VA scandal, immigration, White House fence jumpers, etc.  Voters are also upset that Obama and the then Democrat controlled Congress proceeded with their agenda, health care, and not issues the public thought to be more important,  jobs,  the economy, ending the wars in the Middle East, etc.

American voters often change the political party in the White House after eight years in office.  The only time since the World War II that voters elected the same party’s candidate to the White House three terms in a row was 1988 when voters elected then Vice President George H.W. Bush to the Presidency.  Some Republicans are already talking about America not wanting “a third Barack Obama term.”  Therefore, Republicans have a built in advantage in 2016 if they have a good candidate who runs a good campaign with a message that connects with voters.   However,  Democrats have an advantage in that most minorities vote for Democrats.  When Ronald Reagan won in 1980, the electorate was 12% non-white.  In 2014, the electorate was 26% non-white

The following Democrats are 2016 Presidential candidates.

HILLARY CLINTON  The thought that the nomination belongs to Hillary Clinton is starting to be questioned.  The private e-mail server mess just won’t go away.  This combined with Benghazi, Whitewater, Vince Foster, the Rose law firm records, etc. increase voter doubts about her being trustworthy.  However,  she has a large and loyal cadre of Hillary “lovers” who will support her no matter what.   She has tremendous name ID and will have as much staff and money as she needs.  Given the voters actions in the 2014 mid-term elections,  Clinton will have to convince people she will not be four more years of Obama.  She needs to draw distinctions between her and Obama.  She also has to convince people she has “new” ideas,  just as Jeb Bush will have to convince voters he is not his brother or father.

Hillary does not “move” people.  Those who love her, don’t care a bit about her private e-mail server, etc.   Those who hate her will also never change their position.  She needs to find a way to move those who neither love nor hate her.

She has the built in advantage of allowing people to vote for the first female President,   just as Catholics were excited to have the first Catholic President in 1960 and Blacks were thrilled to have the first Black President in 2008.  

And They’re Back!

by Kelly McDonald

Living with one’s parents, once a stigmatized state of cohabitation, is now an acceptable state of location, in part due to the sheer number of individuals who are now doing so. Members of what is being referred to as the Boomerang Generation, since successfully leaving the nest have, in recent years, returned and stayed.

Is this Boomer-Boomerang household the new marketing demographic? On the whole, the return to the nest has had an interesting impact on segments of the economy, in particular on real estate and the offshoot markets that spring from home ownership. Washers, Dryers, knick knacks, and other items for living are dropping in sales because Boomerangs simply don’t need them – they use their parents’ items. If Boomerangs are the newest consumer group to whom marketing campaigns are looking to reach, then to which member of the household should marketers be advertising? The parents or the kids?

This begs the question: when the two previously separate homes combine, who becomes the principal consumer?  Both the Boomer and Boomerangs have brand loyalties and though many overlap, several won’t. So when the two merge, who becomes the purchasing decision maker? Previously, parents of the Boomerang Generation have looked to their offspring for advice on new products, new websites, and in particular, new technology. Due to their influence in these categories, these young adults have substantial say when it comes to what products are purchased and when. That said, even though the Boomerangs have a strong influence in many of the retail areas, it does not mean that the Boomers are without substantial input, as they tend to be the party with the funds to actually make the purchases.

Given this balance of power, how do you think companies can best market to these two demographics who have now become one?

Have you noticed any campaigns that are specifically marketed to this group?

What Mobile Trends Should You Be Getting Behind?

by Daniel Burrus

thumbnailDematerialization is a Hard Trend — we know that computer technology has only decreased in size while increasing in functionality, and it’s going to continue in that direction. The use of mobile devices in the workplace is just the next step in this process. From desktops to laptops to smartphones, we’ve finally arrived at a portable office that fits in your pocket.

The question is: How do businesses profitably incorporate this next wave of dematerialization? This question affects not just the devices themselves, but your office design and management. The dematerialization and digitization of your mobile-centric business could mean less real estate because of smaller IT infrastructure needs thanks to another Hard Trend virtualization and the increasing ability of employees to work remotely.

It’s important to note that simply adding mobile devices to your businesses does not necessarily make your company an Anticipatory Organization™. Without the Foresight to prepare for implementation of new developments, your company risks doing more harm to itself than good.

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7 Thoughtful Ways to Stress Less

How many of you want to grow old faster? What, not takers?!
Stress blog
Well, did you know you accelerate your aging when you regularly experience stress or anxiety? Seriously, if you’re too tired or too wired, take note of the seven strategies here to help you stress a little less:
  1. Give up the daily guilt.

Let’s get some perspective. Too many of us waste time feeling guilty that our life is out of balance, but you’ll never feel balanced as long as you have goals and dreams. Why? There’s always way too much to do, to learn, to accomplish. If you’re like me and have passion for your work, it’s easy to lose yourself in your tasks and projects since they bring you joy. At a certain point, however, I have to consciously ditch work to spend time with friends and family (minus my phone).Quit thinking you need to “touch” everything each day and look at how “balanced” your life is over a period of time, not a specific day of the week. Take this one step farther and realize that it’s about being balanced over your lifetime. It all evens out.

  1. Realize good is good enough.

Any other recovering perfectionists out there? Stop wasting time creating the “perfect” proposal, letter or marketing brochure, seeking the ideal gift for your nephew, the best comforter for your bedroom, or the supremely clean house. Stop at 80 percent and move on to the next task. Otherwise, hours of your life are wasted and nobody notices the difference but you. Get over yourself and take a step closer to acceptance.

Continue reading 7 Thoughtful Ways to Stress Less

Being Different Wears Off. Being Better Is Profitable

By Joe Calloway

Being different is easy. Wear a funny hat – boom – you’re different.

Being better, and winning at the basics over a sustained period of time, is very, very difficult….and it’s what market leaders do.

“Flash in the pan” success stories don’t impress me much.  The Cafe Du Monde impresses me.  The Cafe DuMonde in New Orleans has been doing a booming business since 1862.  They sell coffee and beignets.  This is in New Orleans, where sometimes it seems that everybody and their brother is selling coffee and beignets.  So when you’re selling the same thing as everyone else, how do you succeed and then sustain that success (since 1862)?

cafe du monde logoIn an interview, VP and Owner Burt Benrud said, “When people come to The Cafe Du Monde, they know what to expect, and they always get it, and that’s why they’re so happy.”

Well, now. There you go. Business 101.

Be really good at what you do, every single time, with every customer, and you win.

Some will say “being really good every single time isn’t enough” – oh yeah?  Try it. Those who say that usually aren’t good every single time.  If they were – they’d be winning.

Innovate – YES! Always innovate. But only in the interest of creating value for the customer. There is no other reason.

Gimmicks, buzzers, bells, being “different” – always wear off.

Value, quality, and consistency never do.

Being different is easy.  Being better is profitable.