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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Design for the Future

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Today's humanistic reaction to technology takes the form of discipline convergence and an ever increasingly large pool of devices embracing the semantic, social, and structured web.

From a user perspective, this means a constant array of surprises around every corner. New ways of thinking. New methods of communication. New outcomes. And because of increased collaboration via these tools, it's often not industry which drives innovation, but the users themselves.

From an industry perspective, making sense of all this "stuff" isn't all that easy. If technology didn't matter, perhaps it would be favorable to ignore it altogether. However, to some degree, today's complicated networks of information and cross-collaboration creates an environment which requires an attentive eye for refinement and ability to identify these new trends. But how exactly do you understand all of this?

Let's just put it this way. Keeping persistence is being fair to the user. As fields come together, it's becoming more and more obvious everything is connected to information. In a trans-disciplinary world, narrow perspectives only make things harder to grasp. By designing with users in mind (whose requirements are constantly evolving), one can essentially create effective "tools" needed in the future context.

So, design for the future. One probably wonders, "How do I fit into this whole collaboration-hungry notion of constant change?" As a student, this means understanding a resume for the future isn't merely composed of a set of tools, but a portfolio full of experiential expertise. Now you have something to talk about.

As an employer, this means placing an emphasis on integration of cross-disciplinary teams. This comes with the acknowledgment that tools do and often change, but problem solving often stays much the same. So, you don't need team with merely sharpened utensils, but one that can challenge the numerous weeds out there. A team capable of chopping them down and taking cultural responsibility for fertilizing multiple channels of knowledge throughout the entire world.

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