Some design thinking:
This TED talk by Dan Pink (an author/thinker who has the design world all juiced up) is about motivation, and how its really not as straight forward as we think. Take 19minutes and watch this, and let it sink in. Whats really interesting and Pink uses as examples are companies that require employees to spend a fair percentage of their time working on ideas they have, off of their projects. Gore and Google do it, and they are really successful and innovative companies.
This basically explains the failure of children with little league parents, among other examples. Motivation has to come intrinsically.
Another inspiring text is a blog written by some creative director that I found here. I think these two are signficant for the future, in the sense that we are on the cusp of big systematic changes, that the design world will hopefully be leading.
3. User ownership. It is only based upon old models that the services and products don't translate to their real use. I pay for 300+ channels on digital TV. Why should I not be able to access the same from my phone? my friends TV (I'm the one watching - locking it to a physical address is old think)? On a public screen I see while on a flight? The center of the product/service should be the user, not the false constraints put upon it by the brand offering the service. Either flip the model over so that I pay one fee and can get the content/product anywhere, or go the other direction and offer micropayment so that I pay for what I want, only when I want it. If they can meter hydro so that I pay when I use it, surely the same can be done for TV, web, etc.
4. Normal design. Personally, I've always been a big fan of modernism, or what Jasper Morrison calls Super Normal Design. This type of restrained design ethos I think will (and should) become more widely adopted. You'd think in the 90 years or so since the Bauhaus, that modernism would have caught on more in mainstream product design, but yet, it has actually made little progress outside furniture and a few select (mostly higher end) products. With the economy not so hot, I'd imagine people will be buying less things. If those things are going to be around longer than usual, the less you want your products to look out of style/trend/fashion. In sync with my #1 point, if people are also keeping objects longer because the objects are good (not just by necessity), then this also applies.
Let's see less styling, please and more solid design. Not every product should stand out on the counter or in the home. Not everything needs to be a rocketship or look like an alien. The perfect form for many objects is, in fact a box of some sort. Crowns, curves and crazy surfaces have there place, but not in much of what they are commonly applied to. Just because you can make a complex surface in Alias, doesn't mean you should. If more designers approached a design from a perspective of what is right, not what just is possible, I think the results would be outstanding. Look at designs from before the computer. They did have complex curves in some cases, but only where they were really necessary as it wasn't just something that could be slapped on anywhere. You needed to know the math, resolve the edges and construct a curve. Not press a button. More Muji, More old school Braun, less blobjects, please.
Our economy is quickly becoming mostly service-based (you know, all of our stuff isn't made here anymore). The integrated system/user-centered approach will soon be the norm, just because it makes sense and people will demand it.
One of my quarter projects is to design a game. This will be awesome. I'll keep you updated on our ideas and progress.