'Building a better boat' with TLMI.

Author:Katz, Steve

The 2015 TLMI Converter Meeting, which took place March 9-11 at The Cloister in Sea Island, GA, USA, was focused on adapting to changes in technology and the business environment. The meeting's theme, "Building a Better Boat: Refining Our Future Business Model," reflected the event's speakers who discussed topics and strategies to embrace change while fostering a company culture that will drive and grow a label business into the future.

Charles MacLean, president and CEO of ASL Print FX and chairman of the Converter Meeting, in his introductory remarks, said, "The future is under crisis, but it's a crisis that can bring transformational change. As an industry, we have weathered the storm while acquiring flexibility, and have shown that we can adapt."

Speaking first, on Tuesday, March 10, was Mike Walsh, founder and CEO of Tomorrow, a consumer innovation research lab. Walsh is a futurist, and also the author of Futuretainment. He advises business leaders on how to thrive in an era of disruptive technological change.

Walsh drew the audience's attention to the year 2007, which was notable for a number of things: Harry Potter, Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize win, the start of the global financial crisis, and most importantly, Steve Jobs' introducing the iPhone."This changed the way we interact with the world," Walsh said, adding, "Virtual and augmented reality is going to redefine our experience with the digital world. And smart labels and data will be very important."

Emphasizing this increasing importance, Walsh said data is what smart companies will design their services around. He also stressed the profound effect "disruptive technologies," such as digital printing will have on the consumer. "Tomorrow's consumers will have a radically different mindset shaped by a childhood of disruptive technologies," he said. "They will expect us to deliver better, faster, richer and more personalized experiences--and will 'unfollow' us the moment we don't." To address this mindset, Walsh suggests action. He said, "Recruit the next generation as your alpha users and ask them to imagine how they would use your products in a way consistent with their worldview and lifestyle." Throughout his presentation, Walsh introduced what he referred to as "Mind Grenades," critical and sometimes provocative questions label business leaders should be asking themselves. One of the Mind Grenades he presented asked: "In what categories might an Amazon not only start...

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