Careers: Interviews
James Canton, Ph.D., Internationally Renowned Global Futurist, Social Scientist; Top-ranking Keynote Speaker/Author; Visionary Thought Leader, Premier World Authority on Business Strategy and Innovation; CEO/Chairman Institute for Global Futures

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P., DF/NPA, MVP, CNP has an exclusive interview with Dr. James Canton.

Dr. James CantonDr. James Canton is a renowned global futurist, social scientist, keynote presenter, author, and visionary business advisor. For over 30 years he has been insightfully predicting the key trends that have shaped our world. He is a leading authority on future trends in innovation. He is the author of The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5, 10 and 20 Years, Dutton 2006 and Technofutures: How Leading-Edge Innovations Will Transform Business in the 21st Century, Next Millennium Press 2004.

Dr. Canton is CEO and Chairman of the Institute for Global Futures, a think tank he founded in 1990. The largest companies and governments in the world have gained from his foresight. He advises the Global Fortune 1000 on trends in innovation, financial services, health care, life sciences, energy, security, workforce, climate change and globalization. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Research in Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management and serves on Motorola's Visionary Advisory Board. He has advised three White House Administrations, the National Science Foundation and MIT's Media Lab, Europe.

Recognized as one of the top presenters in the 21st century by Successful Meetings Magazine, Dr. Canton is a highly sought-after keynote presenter. He has spoken to thousands of organizations on five continents. He is noted for his fascinating, informative, dynamic and entertaining keynotes.

A frequent guest of the media, Dr. Canton is a commentator on CNN. He was named "the Digital Guru" by CNN and Dr. Future by Yahoo. Dr. Canton's media coverage has included CNBC, Fox, PBS, ABC, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Report, The New York Times, US News and World Report, CEO, CIO and CFO Magazines. A worldwide audience follows his Global Futurist blog.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:40: Trends are mission critical to all sectors. You have a "Trend Trackker" service which promises to provide ready access to key trends worldwide. How did this all start? Can provide a short history of the Institute for Global Futures and your role with it?
"....We need to get better at anticipating these challenges and risks so that we can turn them into opportunities...."

03:27: For the Institute for Global Futures (IGF) what do you hope to achieve in the next five years?
"...Our job at IGF is to help people plan better and think about the future so we can prepare for the next 100 mega cities in the world, for changes in climate, for demographic shifts, for advanced/accelerated/ intelligent technology that are going to emerge. What we hope to achieve over the next five years is to be a service to help leaders architect a future that is perhaps more productive, more peaceful, and certainly more profitable...."

04:49: Are there some recent wins that illustrate the kinds of services and benefits that your company offers?
"...When it comes to the internet, while others are looking at Web 2.0, we are looking at Web 3.0......pervasive, immersive internet with rich media and we are spending a lot of time on the convergence of four key technologies - nano, neuro, IT, networks....."

06:51: You have made many predictions well in advance of the marketplace. Can you comment on the ones that stand out?
"....The impact of pervasive computers and networks in our world ....I talked about something called the internet.....Forecasted the impact of nano technology....Biotech...."

10:52: Particularly in Asia, how can your research insights deliver benefits to various sectors....(for example, in China)?
"...The next generation of cities that will emerge will need a very complex AI (artificial intelligence) and IT to manage them.....The next generation of quality of life and productivity will be driven by many innovations that maybe we will not even be embracing in the West, but they may show up first and even be invented by some of the Chinese innovators.... "

12:54: Can you share your thoughts on the top 10 trends and the Extreme Future and how they will shape business and society?
"...Fueling the future.....The innovation economy....The next workforce.....Longevity in medicine...The future science....Securing the future....Future of globalization....Future of climate change.....Future of the individual.....Future of America...."

18:10: How will these trends play out in China? How will this enable specific opportunities for China - both within China and globally?
"...China has an historic opportunity to be able to bring the better part of three quarters of a billion people into the 21 century over the next two to three decades. That's a pretty big challenge. The only way to do that is to think boldly in terms of global planning, innovation and prosperity and particularly, education...... "

23:58: What do you see as the top opportunities and innovations in IT and how can they be exploited for competitive advantage?
".....Tiered IT services, infrastructure.....Health care.....Media and entertainment area....Ability to create manufactured products on demand....Global engineering/space exploration....."

29:52: What do you see as the top 5 risks for businesses and how they can be resolved?
"...Not thinking long term enough,( strategically)....Not creating a culture that is innovative or looking for innovation and investing in those innovations....Thinking too small.....The advantage of globalization has not happened yet (this is still early in the game) - think globally about where your markets are.....New innovations are coming very fast...(these will be disruptive for those who are not ready to change fast enough)....."

33:07: What forecasts are you making along these fronts: demographics, social, and economic? What are the implications of these forecasts to business, government, education, and media?
"...Broad-based demographics show that people want to invest more of their wealth and earning power into living longer and being healthier......We are heading for an era where massive economics converges with demographics will create a new market place called health and human enhancement...."

39:36: I guess tied in with that is what people are calling the Millennials (Gen y). What is your research indicating about that group?
".....Increased affluence in a population, (particularly a knowledge-based population vs agricultural population).....where you have quality healthcare...more peace/security....tend to have smaller families....."

43:51: What are the particular business and technology leadership areas in China within the next five and ten years and what do these mean to the world?
"....the area of robotics...(next generation manufacturing).....advanced global services for healthcare, manufacturing, etc. - being able to provide the services people will need (particularly in the area of financial transactions) and human enhancement...China can play a primary role in research and development...."

47:25: What five key lessons can you provide taken from your global research and your considerable history of success?
"...Develop a capacity to think strategically about the long term.....Pay attention to lifestyle....The future is coming much faster....Collaboration......People need to be more positive about the future....."

51:38: Do you have any additional comments you would like to make
"....If people want more information, they can go to our website: and can check out what we are doing...."


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