Keeping Pace with Innovation Acceleration
While it may feel like the world is stuck in a rut, unable to break out of a cycle of contagion and disaster, behind the headlines innovation is taking place that will have a profound effect on our businesses and our lives in the decade ahead. If you think the pace of change has been dizzying in the past twenty years, buckle your seatbelt and prepare for the rollercoaster ride that’s coming.
Innovations in technology that have been in the research and development stage for some time have begun to trickle into the mainstream. Virtual reality, 3D printing, nanotechnology, robotics, quantum computing, artificial intelligence… Not long ago these were niche curiosities but now have become commonplace in many industries. But that’s just the beginning. According to Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, authors of The Future Is Faster Than You Think, the convergence of these and other technologies will exponentially accelerate the rate of change in all areas of life, creating upheavals and disruptions in industries and markets across the globe. They will also generate new sources of opportunity and wealth. We’ve already caught a glimpse of that future in the rapid acceptance of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
The implication for designers is that our clients’ lives and businesses are going to be transformed by these developments. And so will ours. Technology will be more integral, pervasive and invasive in all interior environments. How those spaces get designed and built, the materials and products that will go into them, and how occupants will interact and be affected by those spaces will change substantially in the years ahead. In order to stay relevant and meet the needs of our clients, we need to keep up with these developments and be ready to adapt to whatever comes next.
Back at the turn of the century, at the peak of the Information Age, Bill Gates wrote about having to conduct business at the speed of thought. As technological innovation accelerates, the speed of thought will be counted in nanoseconds. We can choose to be daunted by that scenario. Or, we can embrace it and look for ways to capitalize on it. A good place to start is by reading The Future Is Faster Than You Think to gain insight into what the future has in store.