Two years ago, when I saw something called "PlayTable" in an internal research showcase at Microsoft, I was amazed by the "WOW" factor of its simplicity and concerned that such a cool technology/prototype may go through a very less likely contentious path to market/production. I was right about the amazement and wrong about the concern.
Sometime ago, Microsoft announced an incredible, but expensive product called – Microsoft Surface.
I remember the Microsoft interview questions, especially for design, where the candidate would be asked to design the "restaurant of the future", and the really creative candidates would describe a system where people can see rich videos/pictures/recipes, etc of their favorite entree on their table in the restaurant and order the dish by just clicking on the picture. Surface literally enables that scenario in an ultra-cool way. Lot of times, I’ve heard and realized that the best user interface is "no user interface", i.e. the user should not at all feel that he/she is interacting with a particular interface/piece of software/technology. Surface is just that – simple and intuitive.
Ideo is one of my favorite companies and it has never let me down in terms of coming up with deceptively simple and ultra-cool designs. I found this old video from David Kelley, co-founder of Ideo on approaching human-centered design.
This video contains great examples of Prada’s new showroom in New York and an wall-to-wall review/feedback display for a museum in Europe (see around 7 minutes into the video..)
There’s a lot to enjoy and a lot to learn from this video.
Dangerous ideas are termed as the ones that may seem conspicuously dangerous in conventional wisdom, but are dangerous – not because they are false, but because they might be true. The Edge Foundation, whose goal is to arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together and have them ask each other the question they are asking themselves – has published a list of some extraordinarily dangerous ideas.
My dangerous idea is – “The poorest of the poor in the world will rise out of poverty and create a market opportunity that will be bigger than the ones created by the industrial revolution or by the internet.”
This is not too hard to conceive, as there are certainly a lot more poor people in the world than there are rich. With the poverty-alleviating trends including microfinance and increased awareness about poverty, it is likely to alleviate and eventually eliminate poverty from majority of the world in the next five decades. This will gradually lead to new set of emerging market opportunities to serve the newly emerged lower middle class.
Corporations and governments in all major countries, developed and developing, large and small, rich and poor have started to recognize this (although very slowly), but a real change can be brought about by looking at poverty as a solvable problem and solving it.
I’m sure you have several dangerous ideas. Here’s Dan Gillmor on dangerous ideas.Most of the entrepreneurial ideas have been dangeorous ideas at first? What’s your dangerous idea? (please share)