As companies such as Amazon deploy unmanned drones in their business, there will be an increased demand for the design of the entire service experience. For example, what are the end customer interactions? How are fleets managed and maintained? How are risks to the population mitigated? How are privacy concerns addressed? How do we build trust in these semi-autonomous machines?

The next big thing is not a thing.

Nominated by Bill Buxton, principal researcher, Microsoft Research
Carrying on with the musical analogy, design has typically been preoccupied with creating new instruments. However wonderful any one of those instruments might be, the true potential is only realized when they play well together—essentially as one. It is the creativity and skill of the conductor that is essential to that happening.

The next "big thing" is not a thing. It is a change in the relationship amongst the things. Without the Conductor’s input, we are on a fast path to hitting the complexity barrier, since the cumulative complexity of a bunch of simple things—regardless of how delightful, simple and desirable they may be—will soon exceed the ability of humans to cope. It is the Conductor who carries the responsibility for the design of those relationships and ensuring that their collective value significantly exceeds the sum of their individual values, and their cumulative complexity is significantly less than the sum of their individual complexities.


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