As we move from designing isolated, single-function products toward a world dominated by universal products, platforms, and ecosystems, the tools, processes, and approaches to industrial design must evolve. In this regard, there are two main factors for industrial designers to consider:
First, ecosystem design is about orchestrating an experience. Design in this context becomes closer to movie making and theater than conventional object design and engineering. We are, in effect, writing a script in which objects are the characters in a play. Most of the recent work I have done at Frog focuses on orchestrating an experience, with products and their functionality designed to fit that experience.
Second, think of the physical world as a giant supercomputer. As technological advances have made devices more portable and personal, networks and connected environments are becoming more prevalent. This creates new possibilities for designers to engineer the three-dimensional world we live in, as opposed to just three-dimensional objects. Technology is being dispersed into the environment, as networks, sensors, and the cloud replace many of the functions of a traditional, standalone computer. Links to the network through radios, sensors, and transceivers connect people in such a way that the physical environment itself is taking on the role of a supercomputer. We now talk about interactions that go beyond the screen and conventional input devices such as a mouse and stylus.