Future Technology Trends with Dr. James Canton

Exclusive Interview with: James Canton

Founder, CEO and chairman of the Institute for Global Futures, Dr. James Canton has been recognized by Successful Meetings Magazine as “one of the top presenters in the 21st century.” His reputation as a leading global futurist and social scientist has garnered him a massive global audience. Dr. Canton advises many of the Global Fortune 1000 on future trends in all of the most vital areas for business, including energy, security, climate change and globalization. He holds a position as Senior Fellow at the Centre for Research in Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management. Amongst those to have benefited from his advice are three White House Administrations, the National Science Foundation and MIT’s Media Lab, Europe.

I see cloud computing and big data impacting business agility; being able to do things faster, enabling the workforce and the customer with smarter more accurate data and solutions transforming the enterprise.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the top trends that are influencing our world now, and will continue shaping the 21st century?

CANTON: In my new book Future Smart: Managing the Game-Changing Trends that will Transform Your World, I identify both near-term and a longer-term view of what’s coming. Here’s a sample.

Near-term trends will be:

  • The impact of the Internet of Everything and the Connected Planet
  • The rise of new businesses called Innovation Ecosystems where the super agility of digital markets are global and real-time
  • Digital currency
  • Longevity medicine
  • The “War for Talent”
  • Predictive Enterprises
  • Blended Reality Lifestyle where the web and physical reality merge

Longer term trends I see will be:

  • Climate Engineering to offset climate change
  • RoboDocs and robots to fight wars
  • Clean NanoEnergy
  • AI: Artificial Intelligence to rebuild aging minds and augment intelligence
  • Synthetic Biology to rebuild bodies
  • Health Enhancement
  • The move to space to go Off World

These are just some of the near-term and longer term views of what I see coming in the future.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the ways cloud computing and big data are affecting information technology?

CANTON: I see cloud computing and big data impacting business agility; being able to do things faster, enabling the workforce and the customer with smarter more accurate data and solutions transforming the enterprise. We are able to better predict and act on those predictions building more value—in supply changes, ecosystems, markets and with customers. Also, services like health care, security, entertainment and media will greatly benefit from this agility to deliver smarter, better service that is cost-effective.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some ways mobile technology is transforming business? What are some of the top mobile trends?

CANTON: Mobility is transforming business by putting meaningful data, applications and services in the hands of customers and employees that allow the creation of value. Mobile tech is empowering everyone to predict, act and respond faster so the speed of business and the effectiveness of business is accelerating.

SPEAKING.COM: Could you give us three tips for developing productive and effective strategic thinking?

1. Disrupt yourself before your competition does.
2. Ask your customers: How is your marketplace and industry going to change in 1-3 years?
3. Ask your employees: How do we build a culture of innovation that celebrates new ideas?

It is not business as usual. It is adapt or die.


SPEAKING.COM: What is the “Extreme Future” and how can business effectively deal with it?

CANTON: The Extreme Future was the basis of my last book where I pointed out there were so many extreme changes that were disruptive, that we needed to adopt a more agile way to do fast prediction in order to get out in front of changes faster in business, work, education, security, technology and every key marketplace. So faster and more constant attention to change, building in forecasting into business and government to narrow the reaction time, as well as develop a predictive awareness of what’s coming – these are the ways every organization needs to evolve. It is not business as usual. It is adapt or die. We see this in the news daily.

SPEAKING.COM: How can leaders help foster a culture of innovation and, at the same time, effectively manage change?

CANTON: Throw out the rule book. If you are not reinventing yourself and challenging your assumptions about rules, market ideas, what customers really want, and how digital tech is transforming every industry, then you are missing something that will doom your company’s future. Too few companies have a plan for the future; they are looking backwards. Successful companies need to change their vision-set and look ahead.

Next, if you want to build a culture of innovation, often you cannot do that from within; you need help. Hire innovation builders to disrupt, reorganize and advise.

Build a Future Lab inside your organization where experimentation, learning and discovery of new ideas is celebrated.

Finally, get out of your world and go find out what other smaller, more agile innovative organizations are doing.

SPEAKING.COM: What are “Clickstream Consumers,” and how are they redefining markets, industries and competition?

CANTON: Clickstreamers live and work on digital screens. They buy, communicate, work and play over the clickstream lifestyle of the web. This is the world that they influence and are influenced by. They are every company’s consumer.


If you’d like to bring James to your organization to help it become more effective and learn about new technology trends, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com.

© SPEAKING.com, published on June 17, 2018

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