Positioning: What Can Be Done For The Future?

We’ve recently had a discussion with my partner on what kind of things people can do for the Future in technology and design space. After some thought and memory reflections we’ve came up with this shortlist:

  • Future Envisioning
  • Concept Testing
  • Long-term Research
  • Prototyping
  • Product Development

Let’s take a look on how all these pieces are tied together. It’s expected that you have some specific goal, that has a specific problem space, and your goal is to provide some kind of a solution for this given problem space.

1. Problem

It starts with a problem. We need to define a problem space. For example, productivity of information workers. It is the problem we at Neocyte Labs are working on.

2. High-Level Research

Research is the second step. You need to gather high-level information from various sources to learn more about the problem space. You need to understand what exact problems you try to solve, why and how these problems affect audience, why these problems appeared, what others do to solve it, what are the trends, etc. You’d better use multiple sources like psychology (to understand problems of a typical audience representative), history, data analysis, etc., to build a high-level picture of the problem.

3. Decision Point

At this point you need to make a choice of what will be your path depending on the results of your high-level research results and your goals.

  • If you understand that problem space is really huge and it is unclear for both you and industry+academia what the solution could be, you need to make a long-term research.
  • If you have understanding that there will come out a solution at some point in future (5-10+ years), its great opportunity to start work on future envisioning where you combine all pieces of the puzzle together, from various technology and design trends, with projections of users needs for that time, with understanding of how culture and environment could change, and image the future from the perspective of your vision. This is what future envisioning is called.
  • If you have understanding that some solution might come out in 3-5+ years, its probably a great opportunity to try out some of the concepts today. This is called a concept testing, where you do not plan to come out with a real product right now, but you rather want to test some ideas and see if they could lead to a potentially great product
  • If you have understanding that the solution could come out in 1-3+ years, its opportunity for a product and you need to start with prototyping and at same time product planning

Concluding, the picture looks like this:

Possible Directions on a timeline

Goals –> Problem –> High-Level Research –> Decision Point –>

Long-term Research (solution unclear; horizon: 5-10+ years)

–> Future Envisioning (range of possible solutions framed; horizon: 5-10+ years)

       –> Concept Testing (range of concepts framed; horizon: 3-5+ years)

             –> Prototyping (range of ideas for upcoming project; horizon: 1-3+ years)

                   –> Product Planning (horizon: 1-3 years)

                         –> Product Development (horizon: 1-3 years)


Our Approach

We at Neocyte Labs base our operations on a long-term research done by famous research teams in areas of context-aware computing (like XEROX PARC, Georgia Institute of Technology, MSR, Google), Human-Computer Interaction (like XEROX PARC, MSR).

We have experience in:

  • Future Technology Envisioning in area of Information Workers Productivity (Daniel worked with Office Labs Envisioning Team at Microsoft to frame the concept of Productivity Future Vision based partially on his Think Week Paper on this topic he wrote with Russ Burtner back in 2007),
  • in long-term research in area of HCI (Daniel worked as intern at Microsoft Research VIBE team who is working on HCI during last 10 years),
  • concept testing (look at our Context-aware Computing Shell UX and AR Demo concept tests),
  • prototyping (check out Single Instant Messaging and Windows 7 Nav App prototypes)
  • product planning and product development (both in IT and architecture space)

Our Current State

Our current state is Product Planning and Prototyping of a brand-new product called Universe.

Want learn more? Visit our page about Universe or contact us at contactus[at]neocyte[dot]co.


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