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Jim Harris        

Best-Selling Author; Expert on Disruptive Innovation, Digital Transformation & AI

Jim Harris is a one of North America’s foremost thinkers on disruptive innovation. Disruption has been brought into sharp focus by the global pandemic which has definitely been disruptive – driving a decade of change in many industries in just two years.

He is one of the world’s leading keynote speakers presenting internationally at more than 70 virtual and in-person conferences a year. Association magazine ranked him as one of North America’s top ten speakers. Harris also leads strategic planning sessions with executive teams.

Over the last 30 years he has worked with organizations in every industry. His clients include American Express, Barclays Bank, Canadian Construction Association, Canon, GM, IBM, SAP, Munich Re, the Top 200 CIOs of India, the UK Cabinet Office, Swiss Re, Walmart, Zurich Insurance.

Harris’s book, "Blindsided!," is published in 80 countries worldwide and is a #1 international bestseller. Soundview Executive Summaries selected "Blindsided!" as one of the best business books of the year sending a summary to 80,000 executives globally. The Miami Herald calls "Blindsided!" “Brilliant stuff!”

Speech Topics

Exponential Organizations: Why Some Firms are 10 Times Better, Faster & Cheaper Than Traditional Companies

The book Exponential Organizations has sold 500,000 copies since 2014. The second edition is about to be released in early 2023. Exponential organizations (ExOs) experience 10X faster growth than their peers. The book examines what are the attributes of an ExO that result in this profound difference. Jim is an ExO speaker.

ExO ranked all US Fortune 100 companies for ExO attributes and found a significant difference in the performance of the top 10 ranked companies most aligned with fast growth principles compared to the bottom 10. The top ten experienced:

  • 3X better revenue growth

  • 6.4X more profitable

  • 10.9X higher asset utilization

  • 40X higher total shareholder returns

ExO’s approach is to run a three-day Awake session followed by a six-month ExO Sprint. In the Awake session the company’s executive team and a select group of young leaders learn about the eye-opening exponential trends that are driving relentless change, the threat of complacency for traditional organization and industries, and the strategies to thrive going forward. One exec said, “my mind was literally blown by the Awake session.”

Over the next six months the young leaders, working with ExO coaches, develop pilot projects to present to the senior leadership in a Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den type event. Projects have to project a 10X benefit in order to be funded – 10X higher customer satisfaction, 10X lower cost; 10X better supply chain, 10X faster growth than the core products and services; etc. It’s like a venture capitalist approach to growth.

Tony Saldanha was the VP of Global Business Services at Proctor and Gamble. He ran the first ever Sprint in 2014. The 25 approved initiatives created close to a billion dollars of benefit in 4 years. From 2018-2022 firms running Sprints achieved 70X ROI on average!

If your company is not architected for agility, flexibility, adaptability and speed, it doesn’t matter what your strategic planning is. Your company is going to get left behind. ExOs taking advantage of trends scale better, faster and cheaper.

In this highly compelling, interactive session, more than 30% of the total time will be members talking in pairs and large group discussion. After a recent session, a CEO said: “I can’t believe that was three hours! The time just flew by.”

The Great Resignation: It’s Really the Great Rethinking; The Great Disconnect

A staggering 47.4 million Americans quit their job in 2021. In November 4.5 million quit, the highest number ever recorded since the government began tracking it 20 years ago.

“It’s not the great resignation,” says pollster Frank Luntz. “It’s the Great Rethink. We are reexamining who we are. What our priorities are. What we want for the future.”

“Telling workers that they have to go back to work, when they have decided that they don’t want to work at an office, is a mistake,” warns Luntz.

Abbey Eisenlauer of Conversate Labs and Luntz conducted focus groups with people who had quit their jobs. Their goal was to gain a deeper understanding of what’s driving this widespread phenomenon. They uncovered three key findings:

1) Senior leaders are not listening to employees’ anxieties and concerns. Leaders want to go back to a pre-pandemic normal. But it’s not normal for employees anymore.

2) It’s beyond compensation. Employees are focused on work-life balance and choices.

3) Workers are re-thinking their personal priorities. They’re thinking about their families.

“Corporate America doesn’t get it,” says Luntz. “The CEO, CIO, CFO don’t understand the hopes, dreams and, most importantly, the anxiety and fears of the average worker – and it’s going to come back to bite them.”

People are quitting when they don’t have a say in their work arrangements, or their values conflict with the company culture.

A survey of 3,000 employees at top tier companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan asked workers if they’d prefer to permanently work from home or get a $30,000-a-year raise. The results were surprising – 64% said they wanted to continue working from home.

In a Bankrate Job Seeker study, 56% of US workers said flexible working hours and remote work are a priority. And more than half of respondents believe their lifestyle and work-life balance needs to change.

Many companies now are ordering people to come back to the office but the majority of employees have become accustomed to working from home and are enjoying it. If a company orders this group to come back to the office, 50% will immediately get another job or begin looking for one, research shows.

Before the pandemic, the average American employee spent five work weeks a year commuting – a staggering 200 hours a year stuck in traffic or on transit. Is there nothing better that we can do with our time?

“There are people who want to work at home and there are people who want to work in the office,” notes Eisenlauer. “But most important is they want to have a say in what their work environment, schedule and location is going to be.” People want to be heard. To retain people, managers need to have a two-way discussion with employees.

Gaping Empathy Deficit A friend won the top performer award at her bank which has more than 40,000 employees. Her husband was recovering from surgery so moved to their condo in Florida where he could recuperate in the heat and work remotely. She wanted to join him. The bank’s HR policy prohibited it. After a quarter century of service and recognized contribution and, with no previous desire to retire, she quit. The bank’s policy clearly communicated to her that the company had no understanding of her situation or empathy.

Companies need to focus on communication according to Eisenlauer: What are your corporate listening strategies? And training: How are managers trained in communication and empathy? I would add: What mechanism can managers use to override outdated, inappropriate, one-size-fits-all corporate policies?

Reject One Size Fits All: Many employees are desperate to return to work. But for those who are immune system compromised, for example, or need the flexibility to look after a family member or moved 200 miles out of the city to buy an affordable home during the pandemic, they want to work remotely.

Recognize Demographic Differences: Baby Boomers dominate the C-Suite. By contrast, 50% of the US workforce is now made up of millennials and GenZs. These demographics have profoundly different outlooks on work, life, and work-life balance.

We’re living in a new, fundamentally transformed work world. Many corporate leaders are stuck using an old pre-pandemic play book. They need to adopt a new philosophy – one that’s a flexible and agile as the workforce leaders say they want.

Jim has been delivering keynotes and workshops for 30+ years and deeply committed to helping participants and organizations accelerate the pace of innovation. He’s one of the top-ten speakers in North America according to Association magazine. After a recent workshop, a CEO said: “I can’t believe that was 3 hours! The time just flew by.”

Disruption Turbo Charging Innovation: A Decade of Change in Just Two and a Half Years

We have seen a decade of change for many industries in the last two and a half years:

  • In November of 2022, Tesla was worth more than the top 18 traditional car companies combined! If you don’t think that electrification and autonomous vehicles are going to change the $10 trillion a year transportation market, think again.

  • In June 2022, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said only 20% of the US based workers are back in the office 3 days or more. The long-term impacts for commercial real estate?

  • The Great Resignation, Work from Home, and Hybrid work are challenging traditional ways of working. Strategies for thriving in this new employment environment.

  • In China, 50% of all medical visits in 2021 were by telehealth. In the US, McKinsey estimated that in 2021, there were more than a billion telemedicine visits a year.

  • In the first 90 days of the pandemic eCommerce experienced a decade of growth!

  • In 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily users. In the first 90 days of the pandemic (Mar-May 2022), it had 300 million downloads – shattering all records for business apps.

  • Uber is worth more than every cab company in America combined! While the industry owns billions of dollars of assets (taxis & limos), Uber doesn’t own one vehicle.

In this highly interactive, fun, and engaging session, Jim will explore what tech and societal trends are driving permanent change in customer behavior. More than 30% of the total time will be members talking in pairs and large group discussion. After a recent session a CEO said: “I can’t believe that was three hours! The time just flew by.”

Jim has been delivering keynotes and workshops for 30+ years and deeply committed to helping participants and organizations accelerate the pace of innovation. He’s one of the top-ten speakers in North America according to Association magazine.

Pandemic Has Driven a Decade of Change

The pandemic has driven a decade of change in just two years. Here are a few examples:

  • eCommerce experienced a decade of growth in the first 90 days of the pandemic! You can take the value of Walmart, Best Buy, Target and five other retailers, add them together and multiply by three and it’s just worth Amazon’s market cap. UBS predicts that 100,000 US retail locations will permanently shutter by 2025 as a result.

  • Telemedicine experienced 10X the growth rate in the first 15 days. In 2020 Americans made 1 billion medical visits via telemedicine. More than 300 million Chinese use the Ping a Good Doctor app.

  • Zoom grew its customer count from 10 million daily users to 300 million downloading the application in the first 90 days of the pandemic. How many companies do you know that grew their customer count by 30X in the pandemic? Zoom is now facilitating 3.5 trillion minutes a year. More than all the international long-distance calls of all telcos combined added to all international long distance VoIP calls globally of all providers.

  • Video Streaming (Netflix, Disney+ and others) experienced 7 years of growth in the first 5 months of the pandemic.

  • Tesla is now worth more than the following 11 traditional car companies combined: General Motors, Ford, Toyota, VW, Honda, Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Subaru, Hyundai, Ferrari, Mazda and BMW. So if you don’t think that electrification and autonomous vehicles are going to change the $10 Trillion a year transportation market, think again.

What are the permanent business changes as a result of COVID?

  • Future of Work & Hybrid Work: Dell computers says that 60% of it’s 165,000 employees will never come back into the office. They’ll work from home. What are the implications for commercial real estate?

  • Mental Health: Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce admitted that 36% of the company’s 50,000 employees were experiencing mental health challenges. And that’s in a company that was growing during the pandemic! In this time of high stress for employees’ mental health and wellness has become very important.

Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies: Blockchain’s impact on society will be as transformative as the web’s

On April 30, 1993 Tim Berners-Lee working at CERN in Europe publicly released code that created the world wide web. The impact over the last 30 years has been transformative as the web now profoundly influences our modern life. In the same way, Blockchain will have a transformative effect over the next 30 years.

Blockchain broke into global consciousness when Bitcoin spiked to more than $60,000 in October 2021. At the time the market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies peaked at $3 Trillion. Because of this Bitcoin – and more widely cryptocurrencies – became the top-of-mind blockchain application. But crypto is just one application of blockchain. Here are three applications illustrating how blockchain will transform greatly differing industries.

Spinach & Supply Chain

In 2006 three people died and 200 fell ill after eating spinach contaminated with E. Coli. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could not be sure which bags of spinach, from which sources, were contaminated, so it recommended that Americans avoid eating any fresh spinach altogether. The recall took two weeks to trace to the source of the problem and during that time all spinach on the shelves was pulled and destroyed. The crisis cost the industry $74 million.

In reality, the contaminated produce involved one supplier’s production from one day on a single line. Blockchain use can avoid this wholesale recall and resulting loss. And it took months for people to trust spinach in supermarkets.

Imagine a technology that could instantly trace the problem back. That is the promise of blockchain. The supply chain and logistics moves trillions of dollars of produce and goods a year. Blockchain will have a transformative impact.

Remittance Market

The remittance market is almost $800 billion a year market. What is it? Well, if you have a Filipino nanny, she will send $200 every other week back to her family in Manila. The banks on average take 10% of that. That’s usurious!

The remittance market is actually larger than foreign aid from developed to developing nations (I find that disturbing).

So why are the poorest people in the world paying outrageous fees?

Blockchain can facilitate that transfer for 0.25%, but your Filipino nanny is not likely to be a Bitcoin miner. So she will go to a service that will take advantage of the underlying 0.25% cost structure and charge her 2.5% – which is four times less than traditional financial institutions.

Shaving Peak Electricity Demand

The time we use the most electricity in southern Ontario is on hot summer days when everyone’s air conditioning is running. It’s called peak demand.

So how does the electric utility cope with peak? By building a $250,000,000 peaker plant that runs only 8 hours out of 8,760 hours a year. Is that a good asset utilization?

But imagine, instead, the utility reaches out to your WiFi-connected thermostat – a Nest or an Ecobee – and negotiates powering down your AC for just five minutes and in return for a $1.62 credit on your next electricity bill.

The reason we need technology to do this is for $1.62 you can’t put a human in the middle of that negotiation. There isn’t enough margin. Secondly, a call center can’t scale. This negotiation would happen instantaneously with a million homes in southern Ontario.

So, the first 333,333 homes would power down for the first five minutes. The second third for the next five-minute slot, and the final third for the third five minute period. Then a 15-minute block has been built, which can be repeated four times, dampening demand for one hour.

The smart contract on the Etherem platform would ensure that 1) my house actually powered down for the first segment and 2) that $1.62 was put as a credit on my account.

Which is more politically saleable – building a quarter billion-dollar peaker plant that is used only 0.1% of the time or buying $20 million of power on spot markets from US coal fired plants contributing to climate change, or putting $20 million into the pockets of Ontario electricity consumers and taxpayers?

If you’re stressed about the amount of change you will be experiencing, think about this: 150 years ago 80% of jobs were in agriculture. Today it’s less than 2%. So farm automation did not destroy the economy. But what is certain is that going forward, jobs, the nature of work, entire industries and society itself will all change.

Mega Trends 2022-2025

Select one or two trends from each category and Jim will create a custom keynote focusing on your choices.

  • Energy Shift: The cheapest form of energy in North America? Globally? Solar.

  • Mobile First: Mobile first companies have an 825% higher valuation on IPO than those with no mobile enablement.

  • AI First: Artificial Intelligence is changing everything.

  • Edge Computing or Internet of Things (IoT) preventative maintenance

  • Electrification of Transportation: Tesla is now worth more than the following 11 traditional car companies combined: General Motors, Ford, Toyota, VW, Honda, Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Subaru, Hyundai, Ferrari, Mazda and BMW. So if you don’t think that electrification and autonomous vehicles are going to change the $10 trillion a year transportation market, think again.

  • Blockchain, Crypto, NFTs, DAOs, Web 3.0 Metaverse


Why Mobile First Firms Are Crucial
Mobile Centric Companies Have 825% Higher Valuation on IPO
The Covid Crisis is Accelerating Digital Transformation
How COVID Crisis has accelerated digital transformation, mobile first and AI centric strategies and companies:

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