Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wacker Shares Keys to Success for Businesses in the Future

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Wacker Shares Keys to Success for Businesses in the Future

Article excerpt

Watts Wacker isn't your run-of-the-mill consultant. He helps companies develop a 500-year plan.

The noted futurist -- a frequent commentator on Good Morning America and in such publications as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal -- gave the keynote address at Tuesday's Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Conference, offering a colorful glimpse of the trends shaping the future. Wacker's speech, entitled "Oklahoma's Next Century," actually focused more on a meanedering and broad look at global corporate and technological trends.

"I have no clue what's going to happen," commented the futurist early in his speech, provoking audience laughter. "How can anyone know what is going to happen?"

One of the first trends Wacker pointed to was social "homopholy" - - a word which comes out of life sciences. It means "the tendency of two things, when touching, to take on the characteristics of the thing each touches."

Social homopholy is the phenomenon of a development monoculture. People drink Coke all over the world and people migrate among nations at unprecedented rates. As a result of homopholy, national borders are becoming less relevant, argued Wacker.

Our economy is transforming away from a mechanical basis to an information technology basis. This transformation is captured in the evolution of the word technology. The 100-year-old word used to refer to mechanical machinery. The word today, however, refers almost exclusively to information technology.

Wacker, the resident futurist at SRI International, California's Menlo Park think tank, foresees corporations of the future becoming increasingly responsive to ecological and social concerns.

"We are going to see organizing humanity around sustaining ourselves, not progressing," said Wacker, who has served such companies as Nike, General Motors, MCI and Mattel. "I'm very bullish on the future of business recognizing its social expectations."

Wacker foresees a change in the basic ideology of capitalist society. …

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