It’s that magical time of year, when decorative gourd season gives way to agency trend forecasting season. Like Christmas decorations in the aisles, it seems to get earlier each year. We’re admirers of Sitra, though, and the Finnish design bureau’s 2014/2015 trends list bucks the typical ‘3D printing and 2nd screen’ grind for a higher-order set of observations around global trends worth tapping into, including: The ageing population is considered a resource by societies instead of an expense Attempts will be made to create natural features in cities (particularly within the 30 megacities that will exist by 2025) Countries concentrating on well-being will fare better in economic terms, due to high value creation There’s a great deal of smart material here, and a welcome respite from a Winter that promises decks full of notes on mobile payments and Pinterest-aware human limbs.


This week’s Google Trends moment of context: How much more interested is our global village in Minecraft than in mobile payments? This much.

Take a few minutes with Cap Watkins (of Etsy) and his short piece on the fallacy of futureproofing through design

by “future-proofing” my feature I’m making decisions and compromises based entirely on my own assumptions. And when the roadmap changes (as it nearly always does), the product I designed will be left feeling half-finished or not as well-considered, simply because I optimized for later instead of optimizing for right now.

Once again, we’re reminded of our favorite Cameron Tonkinwise maxim:

To believe there are ‘fundamentals’ that can be taught that will serve any future is to believe in a future fundamentally unchanged from now…

While we’re on the subject of the old shaping the new, this: how vintage book merchants with an Instagram account are significantly shaping trends in the world of fashion design.

Jonathan Kahn makes a pretty great argument that content’s ability to serve user need outweighs the importance of content quality. This is worth reading (and re-reading), folks.

Turns out, the information design for parking systems can be hacked with a color printer.

Ben Thompson’s post this week on ‘whether we’ve reached Peak Google’ actually reveals an even more-compelling insight (for some of us): emerging technology platforms are frequently eclipsed, not displaced (and the distinction matters a great deal).

Paul Adams’ piece on the end of mobile apps (as we know them) is really smart writing, leaning heavily both on a trend toward push messaging across platforms and the Jobs-to-be-Done design framework.

Of course, Semil Shah thinks that push notifications tax both systems and users (and he might well be right).

File under ‘talent systems': Chelsea FC brought in Cesc Fabregas this summer on a $48 million dollar transfer. Arsenal countered with a $3.5 million purchase of football analytics firm StatDNA.

Clay Jones points to some organizational dissonance: the costs of training, implementation and software outpace the costs of new hardware at a rate of 9 to 1, and yet the costs for the former are typically absorbed at a departmental level while the costs for the latter are administered centrally.

From Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino’s smart, short essay on creating making spaces within an organization:

The visual accumulation of work is how progress is felt on a project and in a space.

Yes. Jeff Archibald’s thoughtful piece on why your organization is losing proposals and pitches is applicable to groups both large and small, and represents some really great thinking on the value of genuine human relationships as ties that bind.

Run wild with this: it turns out that wedding expenditures and marriage duration are inversely correlated.

According to a recent Pew report, the full political spectrum trusts the credibility of The Economist and has its doubts about Buzzfeed. Beyond that, we’re pretty polarized.

The Simply Statistics blog is a recent find, and your authors are fans, in particular, of Rafael Irizarry’s reminder to remember missing-not-at-random data when deriving insights from comment threads. The underlying truth: just as your friends’ lives aren’t as magical as their social stream, most of the population (while politically polarized) is not radicalized as we may believe.


In the event that you missed it, a member of the House of Lords this week was flabbergasted by her discovery of Google Maps.