Designing for today equals behind the curve

I enjoyed watching Tim O’Reilly’s keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo on the State of the Internet Operating System.  He made a comment at 6:00-6:23 that really resonated with me.

He quoted Ray Kurzweil who said, “I became interested in long-term trends because an invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started.”

Tim explained, “In other words, if you invent for the world that exists now, you are behind the curve.”

A few ideas that came to mind on how I could lead my team in designing for the future.

  • Buy each team member an Android-powered device and tell them to make our mission happen using these devices
  • Buy each team member an iPad and have them use them for fundraising presentations.
  • Ban the use of corporate email for a week and tell the team to get their regular job done.
  • Create a donation system that does not accept credit card payments.
  • Make sure our mission can be engaged completely through social media.

I realized that even as I brainstormed, many things (including some of the above) were actually reactions to the present.

How do you lead out in designing for the future?


3 thoughts on “Designing for today equals behind the curve

  1. great post russ.

    in my local ministry at chico state i like to think about the size and quality of students that we can realistically expect in 2 years if we continue to grow.

    often times ministries get behind the curve because they try to make everything relevant and enjoyable for the current group–especially in college ministry that current group becomes the old group real quick.

    also building small but functional models to show the current group what the future could look like–at chico we did a short-term bible study in a totally different model than our current structure to help students see an alternative and to prepare for the increased growth i saw coming that would demand a new structure.


  2. I love the first point. I’m wondering about the credit card thing: “Create a donation system that does not accept credit card payments.” What is the purpose of this?


  3. @jess, I think in future, money will not necessarily be transacted in the same way using credit cards as it is today. Maybe you’ll buy things and donate to causes with Facebook credits. Maybe donors will confirm a monthly donation (with option to increase) each month via Twitter or some other medium. Maybe students could donate money for earthquake relief by tapping their iPhone at a booth in the student center.

    Check out this Wired article on the future of money.


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