Monday, August 28, 2006

Design Futures: Part 3

Continuing this series of design...

"Part two of Design Futures: a conversation about the role of design-driven leadership in the product development process (be sure to check out part two first).


Bob Baxley
While I appreciate and respect your points Jim, I stand by my original assertion that none of us can accurately predict what's going to happen even five years from now. The fact of the matter is that we're living smack dab in the middle of not only the largest but perhaps the only truly global revolution to have occurred since the dawn of civilization. Literally every nation, every culture, and every individual on the face of the Earth is effected by the globalization of trade, the unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources, the unfettered expansion of Capitalism, the rise of extremism, and a myriad of other forces. Any one of these forces alone would introduce a virtually unprecedented level of variability and unpredictability into forecasts of the future: add them together and all bets are off.

I realize that sounds a bit to the Left of extremist but I hold to the point that the potential impact of these forces cannot be accurately predicted or over-emphasized.

With all that said however, it's equally true that it's impossible to know exactly when any of these forces may reach sufficient mass to cause a large-scale disruption of current models and therefore, many companies, industries, and technologies will continue to evolve in a reasonably predictable manner. All things being equal, it's a pretty safe bet that networks will get broader, processors will get faster, RAM will get cheaper, and hard drives will get bigger. What's less clear -- significantly less clear -- is how all this technology will be put to use.

For example, you write, "Mobile technologies are also led by Europe and Asia, so we can see the types of services Americans will be using in the next couple of years..." How can you draw that line between behavior in other cultures and future adoption in this one? There are dozens of technologies, services, and behaviors that have failed to jump such cultural lines. What's the evidence for believing that mobile technologies are necessarily going to spread from one culture to another?"   (Continued via LukeW)   [Usability Resources]

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