"Lost futures" as traps
Still gathering stuff about "failed futures" for a project, I ran across this interview of Matt Jones by Adaptive Path peeps that is very insightful. Some excerpts I found relevant for my project:
"RF: You’ve mentioned the danger of “lost futures,” based on the success of a given device. One model becomes wildly popular, and other, more interesting ways of looking at the problem get cast aside… or at least ignored when they could be doing the most good.
MJ: Exactly - the gravity well of the iPhone is going to be hard for anyone developing innovative UIs to escape for the next few years. In hardware, you’re subject to the determinism of sourcing components.
RF: Our friends the cognitive anthropologists have warned us about the implications of subscribing to the wrong cognitive artifacts…
MJ: So everyone for the last 2/3 years has been offered the same touchscreen components more or less by a few suppliers. And we all (more or less) have similar dimensions we can work within in a touch UI.
RF: So thinking in hardware becomes even more constrained?
MJ: To an extent. UIs will not be so diverse in the next few years… inside a BigDeviceCo you’re going to find it hard to justify the investment in the out-there stuff (as always). But there’s still innovation a plenty to come, its just that for the next few years it’ll be all 16:9 touchscreens, I guess. And then… hopefully someone will Wii on their parade and breakthrough with something as different as the iPhone was to the existing crop of smartphones. That’s my hope anyway. And I think it might be in the area of physical/gestural interfaces, matched with ambient/visualisation tech to give us more natural ‘Everyware‘."
Why do I blog this? I am trying to collect material about what Jones calls "lost future" (in design+foresight), I quite like his stance here, not only about the example discussed (that 16:9 touchscreen device coming from Cupertino) but, rather, its possible consequence: how it eclipses other innovation. There are different consequences of failed futures, some are about traps like in this examples; others are about perpetuation of wrong ideas.