Yes Technology Does Liberate Human Capital. The Future Of Work Is Here.

In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, How Technology Liberates Human CapitalMichael Milken and Igor Tulchinsky posit that digital innovation, artificial intelligence and robots are opening new possibilities for workers across the U.S. economy. I agree and it isn't just happening in the U.S. While rapid change will be a painful process for some, in the end the future for humans is not being displaced by technology but instead interacting with technology to unleash human creativity, experience and insights . Technology is really a job creation machine; they're just new kinds of jobs.

A key challenge for industries, like health and fitness, medical, legal, finance and more, is understanding this change is already underway and therefore people need to evolve their skills and perspectives to take advantage of new opportunities. Business models need to reinvent themselves as well with this in mind. Innovation starts with me and you grasping this new era as an opportunity to leverage human capital.

McKinsey Global Institute reported in January of 2017 that almost half of paid work can be automated today with current technologies. Yet, 2 million manufacturing positions will go unfilled in the next 8 years according to Deloitte Consulting. This as a result of the "GAP" between employee skills and workplace needs and its just beginning. As hardware becomes cheaper and software become smarter the effects will continue to change industries and work itself.

So what should you and I do about it ? First, stay informed. Read books like Leading Digital , Digital Sense The Second Machine Age , and The Inevitable. Follow credible thought leaders on Twitter. Listen to great podcasts. Second, start thinking about your organization, career, and life with a 3-5 year minimum perspective. In other words what you are experiencing today will be vastly different in a 3-5 year window. Make sure you are preparing yourself with education and continue to upgrade your skills and knowledge. Finally, seek to align with organizations and people that see this future coming and have adopted or are adopting new paradigms of the future of work. Surrounding yourself with advocates and industry experts who are talking the new talk will help you embrace the upside of disruption. For my latest on how this is impacting the health club and fitness industry checkout my EHFF 2017 and my IHRSA 2017 presentations and more.

Bryan O’Rourke is a #CEO, #board member, #advisor, #keynote #speaker, #author and #investor, who has successfully expanded global brands for over 30 years. He is widely published and quoted in periodicals like Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times on consumer, technology and fitness industry trends and is CSO of a well known Houston based health club chain. He and his partners launched Vedere Ventures, a boutique private equity firm in 2016 . Bryan along with the Fitness Industry Technology Council support the Fitness + Technology Podcast . Check it out today. Get his recent book the 9 Partnership Principles written with his partner Robert Dyer and other top fitness industry leaders. Bryan also released with Europe Active the bookCustomer Engagement and Experience In The Fitness Sector. To learn more visit or follow him @bryankorourke .

Solving Our Biggest Problems Begins With You And Me


I was watching Wired magazine's Chris Baker the "Angry Nerd" rant about how TV Networks Are Running Out Of Original Ideas (see clip below). His rant confirmed what I think and write about often, resulting in this post (thanks Angry Nerd). You see solutions to our biggest problems lie not in repeating what we've done but in doing new things. Without embracing this idea, many things (even television content) will probably get worse before they get better.

As the Nerd points out, more and more television represents remakes of existing story lines, often based on public domain plots which networks can use royalty free. I particularly liked Baker's comments on Disney's content strategy. It reminded me of Lessig's view that big media dinosaurs are trying to control the Internet.

What you see in television is what you are seeing in every industry every day: a battle between the status quo, which seeks to wrench ever nickel out of existing assets, models, and ways of doing things; and a group of new leadership that believes the status quo is the problem so it must be undone. 

Put this in context: only 14% of US parents believe their children will have a better life than they do. Personally I think much of our world today suffers from an overdose of Band-Aids when what we need are cures.

For hundreds of thousands of years humans lived in a local, linear world focused on survival. The degree of change was minimal, until now. Survival based on a slowly changing world is in our DNA and it leads to us not giving the level of thought we need to about important things; from the food we eat to where we work. From governments to educational systems and from health care to fitness there is often more effort in participating in and defending the status quo even while many of our biggest problems continue to get worse. The problem with a status quo philosophy, as Seth Godin has shared, is its resulting in a Race To The Bottom . Solutions do not lie in a race to the bottom.

I'm an optimist and believe there are answers, one of the most important being for all of us to question more. Yes that means YOU (and me of course). Don't accept the status quo. Don't participate in institutions that offer the same answers, even when they are cleverly wrapped in and disguised as a new message. This takes diligence and effort but its needed to change things. A recent example that got me worked up is the First Ladies work on healthier food for children, which is steeped in special interest defending the food industry status quo. There are many other examples. Reward brands and people that are REALLY doing things differently because they represent a new way. Don't fall for Coca Cola embracing clean water for the world, when its a principal driver behind global obesity.

The good news is that in the age of the Internet and of the individual there are many groups and people who are impacting the world in a new way. Take a different approach. Be a non-conformist. Be a leader. Really make a difference. Solving our biggest problems begins with you and me. If you are one of the 86% of parents that really believe your kids will have it worse than you, get off your ass and do something about it. Believe me you can make a difference.

What do you think ? I'd love to hear your views and thanks for taking time to read the post.

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit . To learn more contact Bryan here today .


Marketing Success - Innovations, Trends And Tips For Your Fitness Business To Succeed In 2013 And Beyond

Are you preparing for the future of connecting with customers ? Follow some of these 8 ideas to take advantage of important marketing trends and strategies for 2013 and beyond. Please tell me what you think.

1. Integrate Your Message And The News

Figuring out ways to inject your brand into breaking news that generates media coverage, builds more awareness and creates credibility is a great strategy. Acting fast to develop a connection between a hot story and your brand is key. Using Google alerts or other monitoring tools to stay on top of the latest trending information is a good idea.

Some smart health clubs are hoping on stories about fitness trends, community news and reaching out to media, incorporating the stories into their blog content and social media feeds and this helps greatly in raising their profiles and credibility.

2. Use “Old School” Approaches Appropriately

Social media is a dominant area of marketing and many brands undervalue old tactics like direct mail . Some companies, however, are using more traditional forms of marketing to further reach prospects that have engaged with a brand online in a very focused manner. The key isn’t to limit the amount of online marketing. Consider enhancing the frequency and impact of your message with traditional methods for targeted prospects.

3. Work With Suppliers, Customers And Strategic Partners

Doing more with less is a big opportunity so working with your customers, suppliers and other strategic relationships to generate content is a good way of taking marketing to another level. Producing video interviews of clients talking about their specific challenges and opportunities is great content. For clubs, generating a video of a member who achieved great fitness results and how they did it is great content. In the realm of programming, partnering with group fitness program offerings like Les Mills enables a treasure trove of content for club marketing. There are many examples and we’ll see this trend continue to grow.

4. Mobile Mobile Mobile

The era of innovations integrating social media, local targeting and mobile devices is upon us. Do you recall this scene from Minority Report ? Look for more innovations around the “SoLoMo” trend, and watch more B2C companies try to capitalize on it. Mobile is moving really really fast and the opportunities are huge.

Foursquare, a SoLoMo application, is a great example of what is to come. Foursquare tells mobile users of nearby companies and available deals. When users input personal preferences or an app recognizes patterns when they are near a business that fits their profile, it will push out a notification for a coupon, discount code, special of the day or sale. This is the fourth of five eras of the social web that I wrote about in 2011 . More than Foursquare, things like making sure your web site is mobile friendly, are really important. There is going to be a constant evolution of what mobile really is including mobile commerce. What is mobile is the consumer. Learn more here .

5. Video Video Video

There will be a steady increase in the number of people viewing video content on computers, tablets and mobile devices in 2013 as compared to TV sets . More and more brands are planning to use the medium to communicate complex ideas and solutions in a visually appealing manner. Expect more video content from brands to communicate information. This is a big part of the “inbound marketing” trend that you can learn more about here .

6. Create A Content Lexicon

A lexicon is a vocabulary specific to an area of knowledge or activity. Content has been increasingly important for awhile. How that content is positioned in light of a specific area or market is going to be more important than ever . It will be the context in which content is delivered that will make it more or less relevant. In an environment that requires more targeted messaging the requirements of a Content Lexicon is obvious.

Developing content tailored for a targeted audience is fundamental. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, don’t talk about your equipment features, address issues in various vertical markets like YMCA’s, Parks and Recreation Centers, Micro Gyms, and others, that have unique demands and needs. Address their problems, their industry, their company and how you will benefit their business. Keep this in mind when creating all of your content including articles, videos, presentations and webinars.

7. Offer Calls To Action

Even when content is created with context in mind, it needs this important part of the equation to convert prospective buyers into leads: a call to action. Businesses are increasingly grasping the benefits of adding calls to action in their materials and all of their content. This important piece connects content to action, and gets information from prospects enabling them to be targeted more effectively in the future.

8. Don’t Plan To Be Right; Plan To Learn

What is irrefutable is how fast things are changing. Building out marketing programs from start to finish without any flexibility to make changes in the middle is something that isn’t wise to do.

When developing and managing marketing programs, organizations need to try different approaches, measure results, and make adjustments. Agility in marketing provides greater control and insight if executed in this manner. An important underlying principal is to keep cost low as new endeavors are being undertaken. Check out this recent post on new smarter ways to plan
for more examples.


Did you find these 8 marketing strategies helpful ? How is your business planning to market in 2013 and beyond ? If you like this content please subscribe to my web site or connect with me via social media. If you’d like help with marketing your brand feel free to contact me here today.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

As 2013 Approaches Is Your Mind Open To A Radical New Future ?

Our culture is increasingly digital, millennials are a larger global group than boomers so consumers are changing, and technology is revolutionizing industry after industry. When looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, how can you keep pace with the massige degree of change that is happening and is only going to increase ?

The answer lies in keeping an open mind. In my past post, How Does The Fitness Industry Change Its Mindset, I share specific examples of how organizations can maintain openness while forever searching the horizon for what is emerging.

As you prepare for 2013 how are you keeping an open mind ? Watch Google's recent Zeitgeist 2012 video for a year in review below. I think it provides a great perspective and is evidence that the world is indeed changing at a breakneck pace. Keep on searching. I look forward to your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .


What An Emerging "OPEN" World Means For The Health Club & Fitness Industry

Over the weekend I viewed @dtapscott and his recent and excellent TED Talk "Welcome To The Open World" [VIDEO BELOW]. Mr. Tapscott and I agree: the world is going through revolutionary times . What is most curious to me is how many leaders really don't see it; many continue to see the problems of today in the context of the past and the health club and fitness industry is certainly not immune from this. Business models, like health clubs, are going to experience great upheavel with some leveraging tremendous opportunities while others flounder. Any organization that participates in the fitness and health club business, be it through the delivery of education or industry advocacy, is going to have to fundamentally change how it operates to succeed in its mission. If leaders don't embrace that change their organizations will not survive.

When it comes down to what to do, a fundamental means for success requires aligning ones thinking to the new and present future. As I've menioned, this requires rethinking the problems of today in terms of what is really happening NOW; not in the context of the past. While not an easy task; it is a neccessary one.

 Don Tapscott explores this topic in his "Open World Talk" and shares what he sees as its 4 characteristics (Collaboration, Transparency, Sharing and Empowerment) . A few years ago I described the "Revolutionary World" as having six characteristics:

1. Old School Institutions Vanish

2. Orchestration Trumps Ownership

3. Transparency Modality Is Fundamental

4. The Rise Of The Rest As Wealth Is Redistributed

5. An Explosion Of Participants

6. Human Conciousness Evolves

The drivers of advancing technology ,globalsim and changing demograpgics are not going away. If these characteristics are a central part of how you view the future, great opportunities lie ahead. If you choose to ignore these traits then you are in peril. Watch the video clip from @dtapscott below and please tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think? Which fitness professionals and industry leaders do you think are preparing for what's to come ?  Whether one calls it the Open World or a Revolution do you think fundamental change is upon us ?  I think it is. Many thanks Don, for your great talk.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, and shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .