The HITS 2003 conference was very focused on the idea of innovation. Whenever designers talk about business, they can’t get away from the need to “innovate.” It seems to be what designers think they can best offer business.
Such an obsession with “innovation” worries me. It worries me because I live in a world where the things that already exist typically don’t work as well as they should. More time should be spent bringing existing products and services up to snuff, and not focusing on The Next Big Thing. This innovation fetishization becomes a shiny bauble distracting people from paying attention to the here and now.
I also find that most of us don’t get to work on “innovation.” We’d love to, but it’s not practical. Maybe it’s just me, but the bulk of my work is to get corporations to stop fucking up how they do things, or, at least, to fuck up as little as possible. Conferences like HITS make me nervous because I fear that folks (particularly students, who were very much in attendance) think that life is about innovation, and then will be needlessly disappointed when they enter the real world and find out that the bulk of their time is spent shoring up poorly planned solutions.
Not that I’m against innovation. There’s a place for innovation. I wish my work afforded me more ability to innovate. But we’ve got to be careful to not forsake the now in favor of planning for some distant future.
Oh, and most of the presentations from HITS are up. I’ve gone back to my old posts and updated them with links, where appropraite.