Enter the Experience Economy where the scarce resource is time, not money, and where, more and more, people are choosing to spend time with products/services that elicit an experience rather than a purely aesthetic satisfaction. If time is the new money, then I would argue that Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia are becoming the new luxury brands. These services may be completely free, but they are winning our time because they do a bang-up job of satisfying real human needs (to connect, to laugh and to learn) on-demand.
In this experience economy, design that is optimized to satisfy these underlying human needs and, further, design that empowers humans to be their own experience designers will prevail. The user-product interaction is no longer a static, push conversation. Users want to interact, hack, build, personalize and re-design how they interact with products/services to better meet their underlying needs. In this new environment, designers need to see users as critical-thinkers who are actively seeking to enhance their life.
All this to say it’s going to be design thinking FTW!
More on the Experience Economy here: