An Interview With Futurist Ray Hammond
You've worked all over the world in a variety of organisations, how much do different cultures impact on the way organisations work?
"Culture" (both inside an organisation and in the external community) is the most important indicator of a company's performance. Culture is even more important than strategy and "vision". Culture always comes from the top and a culture that nurtures innovation, customer service, efficiency and personal fulfilment will always trump short-term cultures of hyper-competitiveness and greed. Externally, national cultures have profound effects on productivity (latitude = attitude) and the cultures of Japan, S.Korea, S. China, N. Europe and N. America stand out as ideals of innovation and productivity.
What piece of technology can you not live without?
I would find it very hard to live my daily life without internet connectivity (which requires a device for access). At a deeper level, all of us would find life very difficult without modern medicine.
Is social media the future of communication?
Yes. From childhood, every person wants to make his-her mark (think of names carved into tree trunks) and social media fulfills this need. I know far more about my professional network than I have ever done through the use of social media (LinkedIn, etc.) and I know far more about my friends (Facebook, etc.). It's very fulfilling and empowering and, although components may change, what we now think of as "social media" will be our principal means of daily communication way into the future.
As a futurist, you have made predictions on a wide range of things. Which prediction that you have got right are you most proud of? and which prediction was most wide of the mark?
In 1984 I predicted "the internet will be everything" in my 1984 publication, "The On-Line Handbook". I also said "search" would be the driving force behind internet advertising and general internet usage. I'm very proud of understanding that 31 years ago. In my 1982 book "Computers And Your Child" I said "there will be no cash in society by the year 2000". Whoops!
Aside from your day job, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
My family and friends. Relationships are everything. As Walt Whitman observed, "To have a friend, you have to be a friend". I try to live by that maxim.