–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Where do you want to be? – On the importance of vision.

The auto industry is one of the few industries that is constantly envisioning itself sometimes as far as 20 years out. The now famous “concept cars” we love reading about or better seeing at the Auto Show make us weep with their visionary design and technology. Brands become engendered with feelings of revolution, evocativeness, forward thinking, and arrogance (in a good way). Concept cars also make us feel hopeful and optimistic about the future. “Wow! That’s what my car is going to be like in 10 years. I can’t wait!” Lastly, concept cars inspire the eco-system (if done well). The become a standard bearer for “what’s next”. It is the bar that all must reach out to and designers should be taken to task for not reaching it.

Visioneering has been around a really long time. Companies in the ID world like FuseProject have specialized in creating amazing product concepts. (Click here to see Toshiba Transformer Laptop) Works like these are inspired and inspiring.

Intel as a core part of their marketing does a lot of visioneering. Some more out there than others. Here’s a link to their UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) and MID (Mobile Internet Device) page. On it there are videos of “today doable” concepts made to inspire manufacturers and designers for ideas that will cause them to purchase their chips. Further there is a more business-like brochure of device types for an manufacturer or designer to download.

Microsoft also does concept work even in areas where they don’t sell directly, but rather to engage imagines. Take a look at their living room “furniture pc” concept. Microsoft also supports a contest for the “next generation pc” to have the community envision for them with arguable levels of “good” design.

So visioneering is used as a model to inspire partners, guide their development and especially in a market that deals with such a large hardware and software eco-system like the one I work in in Motorola Enterprise Mobility, it is really powerful to have a vision and use it in this way.

These visions are trying to guide people for maybe 2-3 years out. But others are taking the spirit of the concept car a bit further and working it out to 5-10 years down the road.

One such vision is one by Vodofone. They put together a special web site to discuss your future with telecommunications. Unfortunately they removed it. However, this work that was presented at a recent IxDA event in SF speaks to many of those same issues and design concepts presented by Vodofone but expanded further 2 years late.. IDEO hired by Intel put together the following 3 video concepts. There are problems with it for sure, but it is definitely inspiring and inspired work:

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  • http://www.rightpricefurniture.co.uk Ian Shaw

    great article..the furniture pc concept is really interesting to me..and the three video concept is really admirable and inspiring..

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