New technologies are getting faster and smarter. In today’s business environment, it no longer takes decades for new ideas to take root. Instead, thanks to new connectivity, high bandwidth and a significant increase in computing power, these new innovations can be appreciated in much shorter times. As these changes take effect, companies can either jump on the bandwagon and start adopting, or they may be surprised – and potentially destroyed – by the disruptive impact on these new technologies on their industry.
Computer-aided design (CAD) has already revolutionized design, but it turns out that CAD only scratches the surface of what is possible with computers. The rapid increase in computing power, miniaturization of devices, new algorithms and advanced connectivity have lead to a new era of computing design.
Instead of designers using computers as a tool, computers can now generate ideas, create creative leaps and offer their own solutions through massive datasets – and this could fundamentally change the role of designers in the creative process. It doesn’t mean designers are out of a job, but it may mean that their efforts become more akin to curators, selecting, fine-tuning, amalgamating and bringing together diverse concepts that were born from the “mind” of a computer algorithm.
Shape the forces
What do we mean when talking of this “new technology”?
- Infinitely fast calculations
- Taking advantage of cloud computing to try out thousands of design options.
- Great data and predictive analytics
- Using billions of data points and predictive analytics to create new or specialized products.
- Generative Design
- Computers imitating nature’s evolutionary approach to design.
- AI / Machine learning
- Developing systems that learn and adapt over time.
- AR / VR
- 3D (and soon, 4D!) printing (4D signifies creations which are printed with 3D, but which change their form and usage over time)
Among one of the new possibilities is a stronger emphasis on human collaboration: these new systems making it possible to collaborate seamlessly at a distance and to initiate new partnerships where none were possible before. Design would thus be no longer fragmented and might be democratized between different stakeholders. In addition, teams can work simultaneously from all over the world. Related themes we’ll see more of in future pertain to “open design” and “crowdsourcing”, where the spirit and skill of the designer is not lost, but again, the emphasis becomes one of curating hundreds (or thousands) of ideas from a much wider source than ever previously possible, allowing, counterintuitively perhaps, greater and deeper creative thought.
Which way will you jump?
No one can be sure how much the future of design and teamwork will be different or how it will affect business models, but in order for businesses to remain relevant and competitive in the coming years, it will be very difficult to escape the power of new technology in design, and perhaps it would be foolish to try: there is a huge potential there for the industry and rather than try to escape it, tomorrows winning businesses may be better trying to harness it today.