"Hiding the technology"

An AlwaysOn discussion between venture capitalists turned to the notion of moving away from dicussions of core technologies to what those technologies enable:

Roger McNamee: [Mr. McNamee is a venture capitalist with Elevation Partners.] I believe that electronic technology—semiconductors, enterprise software, personal computers—is changing from the growth engine of our economy to a fuel that, very simply put, is following the same course that steel, cement, and other input materials took in the 1950s. It's transforming from a growth industry (where it was really interesting in its own right) to one that's entirely dependent on other industries to add value to it and make it more compelling.

In the discussion that ensued, it was interesting to note that the ideas danced around the concepts of design--service design, product design, the relationship between the two, notions of ubiquitous computing, etc--but never actually mentioned design, and design as a process of taking technology and applying it in a targeted way. This identifies, at least for me, that there's a conceptual gap in the terminology (yes, here I go with disambiguation again) and that the terms identifying the practices that satisfy the needs that the VCs were talking about are hazy. In other words: better definitions of what design does, as a process of human-centered innovation that bridges the gap between organizational needs and consumers' needs and desires, could help create and ease the transition that Roger McNamee identifies.

[Addendum: in the root page for this discussion, I notice that the last item the VCs talked about is entitled "Design Counts Double." It hasn't been posted yet (AlwaysOn's model is to trickle out the stuff for free), but maybe it covers what I'm talking about. Nevertheless, to discuss hiding technology without talking about design says to me that design, as an idea which has at its core the hiding of technology by shifting emphasis from functionality to effect , hasn't spread in the way I would have expected.]

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://orangecone.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/204




A device studio that lives at the intersections of ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, industrial design and materials science.

The Smart Furniture Manifesto

Giant poster, suitable for framing! (300K PDF)
Full text and explanation

Recent Photos (from Flickr)

Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design

By me!
ISBN: 0123748992
Published in September 2010
Available from Amazon

Observing the User Experience: a practitioner's guide to user research

By me!
ISBN: 1558609237
Published April 2003
Available from Amazon

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Kuniavsky published on May 23, 2006 10:30 AM.

Roomba hacking in MIT tech review was the previous entry in this blog.

Nike-Apple Smart Shoes is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.