How do you create a glimpse of the future without falling into fantasy?
Intro to the Project
To many, a future filled with electric cars and robot taxis is still a mere blip on the radar. But in reality, we’re not far from a Jetsons-like world. In fact, we are only a few decades from widespread disruption to the automotive and mobility sector.
How do you go about building an accurate, rational, and digestible look at the future? I tackled this challenge when building the “Roadmap for The Future of Mobility” project. It has proved an opportunity to solve a complex problem, using an unusual platform and process.
I have created a visual resource that maps the changes coming to mobility by the year 2050. Here is my process for creating the experience:
Strong accurate research is the basis of the project. Creating a credible resource meant nixing all the sci-fi hyperbole and marketing press release gimmicks that normally dominate the mobility headlines. I’ve made an effort to steer away from singular opinions and research efforts (even credible ones) in favor of larger studies and reports.
The research sources for this project is divided into three categories:
- Startup and emerging organizations creating new platforms and systems for mobility. Though Uber and Lyft are most commonly referenced in this area, there are a multitude of new companies who will change the face of transportation.
- This project is heavily based on the news and strategy coming from legacy OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and large automobile organizations investing heavily in future innovation.
- Research by industry organizations and innovation consultancies was also used. Firms like Accenture and Mckinsey & Company are closely connected to the mobility and innovation space. I’ve used their studies and projections because they have a vested interest in looking rationally at the changes ahead for mobility.
- News reports from industry resources covering announcements from automotive industry organizations.
There were a number of platform and functionality considerations when actually building the the product. The first consideration was which medium would afford the best user experience. Trello is rarely used outside of project management, but it has proved to be the best way to relay information. Heres why:
- Trello provides platform of flexibility, offering the chance to create a “living” project where events are recorded and moved without disturbing the project.
- Trello Lists are a great way to lay out a timeline with multiple events in one year. Lists have no inherent hierarchy across cards. This made it easy to show multiple events within each year, without adding too much emphasis to one event.
- Trello Cards can be easily used to denote “events” and provide necessary information in a recognizable format.
“The Future of Mobility” is not only a record significant announcements. The purpose of this project is to also illuminate the breadth of changes to the mobility landscape will have on our lives. To tackle this, I’ve created a number of educated “bets” on adjacent industries that will be disrupted as mobility shifts.
I felt it important to restrict these “bets” to sectors not directly in the automotive industry, like fast food and post-retirement living. Though events like “the disappearance of hotel chains” cannot be stated with total certainty, it gives readers a look at the far reaching impact of the disruption coming.
The Future of Mobility offers a realistic resource for the next major horizons in mobility and auto industries. The experience functions an easily digestible map for those outside the tech sector. In all, it ladders up to a living product that may be easily updated as projections and technologies change.
Since launching the project, there have already been massive changes to the timeline. I will keep editing with new significant research, reports, and announcements. Keep checking back for an updated timeline of how mobility shifts are changing our lives.