Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Winter 2019

36 QRCA VIEWS Winter 2019 www.qrca.org Martin Raymond is a co-founder of The Future Laboratory and a jour- nalist, and he is considered one of the world’s leading futurists. We talked recently about the critical role of the human researcher in foresight research as we enter an age that will be dominated by artificial intelligence. Kay: Do you feel it’s possible to predict the future? Martin: I don’t think it is possible to predict anything. What you do is to look at the existing landscape and identify those people, products, or services that are either a minority perspective or they’re innovating in a category or sector, or they’re early adopters. So, people who, in themselves, are a tiny, tiny minority. We’re talking about 2.5 percent of any group or any population. You look at them and you look at the echoes and indicators coming from the general landscape. Then you ask your- self questions: What are people considering about tomorrow? How are they wanting tomorrow to be? Are there people already on the playing field who are potentially taking us in that direction? What you try to do is to identify signs, signifiers, and clues as to how the future may look. You can then start looking at statistics which suggest increases in how we use Product X, or how consumers are thinking about Product Y in a different manner, or how a new idea has started spreading across the landscape, which more and more people are buying into. By Kay Corry Aubrey n UX Researcher and Trainer n Usability Resources Inc. n Bedford, MA n kay@usabilityresources.net An Interview with Martin Raymond on Finding the Future in the Underbrush of Culture n Luminaries n