The Context

There are secret teams across the globe engaging in an intense race to conjure up the next great leap in computing.

Most of these R&D teams are betting that the next big thing has something to do with AR/VR, but none have yet been able to articulate a coherent vision of that future. For many, their aspirations appear to be limited and myopic, centring on narrow slices of functionality or “safe” existing markets like communications or gaming.

The team and I discovered something different: a once in a generation opportunity to create a comprehensive and immersive spatial platform whose scale rivals the internet itself. This vision was so bold and transformative that it required us to design an entirely new computing ‘metaphor’ — one which supports how people conceptualize their computing tasks today, while also supporting the more exotic and novel spatial computing activities that will be possible in the future.

Essentially, our work furnished a deeper, and more human understanding of what actual people expect (and need) from a future ‘general purpose’ spatial operating system.

To get there, I led Humanistic researchers in conducting an extensive foresight study that uncovered fascinating emergent signals of change, trends, and the forces shaping the world of tomorrow bubbling beneath the surface.

In parallel, we reviewed hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers, working closely with scientists and technical experts from a wide variety of fields (Optics, HCI, Semiconductor, ML, etc). This was integral to understanding the state of the art in the field, and to extrapolate its possible trajectories based on a number of key dimensions.

Furnished with these insights, we layered on multiple rounds of co-creative and in-depth ethnographic research with early adopters, everyday users, and key industry stakeholders at the forefront of the augmented and virtual reality space.

Methods & Activities
  • Foresight and Vision Development
  • Scenario and Uncertainty Planning
  • Market Trend and Driver Analysis
  • Product, Portfolio and Innovation Strategy
  • Strategic & Tactical Planning, Roadmapping
  • Business Immersion, Value Web Modelling
  • Ethnography, Observation, and Street Intercepts
  • Documentation and Literature Review
  • Market, Environment, and Horizon Scanning
  • Experience Audits, Reviews and Safaris
  • Interaction Design and Prototyping
  • Digital Product Design, Product Logic
  • Experience, Service, and Systems Design
  • R&D Research Commercialization
  • Venture and New Business Design
  • Speculative Futures Design
  • Generative Co-creation Workshops

The fruits of our labours on this project were numerous: The team and I developed a comprehensive new interaction model, Spatial Computing Operating System, and market-defining ecosystem guidance for the client’s upcoming portfolio of consumer AR & VR devices. Moreover, we uncovered numerous emergent technology investment opportunities, and developed research, product, and technology roadmaps for multiple AR & VR devices/categories. Last but not least, we created over two dozen future market scenarios with a wealth of patentable IP related to commerce, productivity, communications, travel, and general purpose computing.

The result was a resounding success — our approach was able to commercialize decades of dormant R&D work, produce an exhaustive playbook and guideline for how to build the future as a dominant market leader in spatial computing, and lead to a massive internal shift in our partner’s vision and aspirations for the space.

Keep an eye out for some big announcements!

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