Trending Wider in 2013 and BeyondIt seems like every blog in the last month has been dedicated to predictions, resolutions or trends in the coming year.  And while I’m writing along those same lines, my hope is that the trends and areas that I focus on here will carry beyond 2013 and into the changing paradigm of information technology and social computing.

There are three areas that I would like to bring to your attention:

 1. Agile Software Development: A development framework based on collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams using iterative and incremental development methods.  Agile methodology sits in direct contrast to “waterfall” development where projects are worked in a serial manner based on a complete set of requirements with testing on a completed application.  As the cross functional teams associated with agile development include the business stakeholders, the deployment of agile methods could not only exponentially speed up the development process but also better integrate the interests of IT and their business partners. This has far-reaching implications beyond 2013 because it sets a new paradigm that should change the nature of application deployment for users.

 2. Philanthropic Engineering: The current focus on “big data” has brought with it a series of questions in the commercial space centered on its productive use.  The answers and business growth insights that massive databases were to provide have proved elusive.  Alternatively, however, big data can be used in a human engineering context.  The mission statement of Palantir Technologies, a software development firm based in Palo Alto, CA, nicely describes this concept.  They state, “We build software that allows organizations to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data.  We solve the technical problems so they can solve the human ones.  Combating terrorism. Prosecuting crimes.  Fighting fraud.  Eliminating waste. From Silicon Valley to your doorstep, we deploy our data fusion platforms against the hardest problems we can find wherever we are needed most.”  The long-term use of advanced technology to address human and environmental needs is a critically important trend.

3. Social Media 2.0: The major social media platforms have achieved an almost unbelievable amount of scale in terms of users and utilization.  With that comes a great opportunity to enhance the democratization of information and connections.  For example, Twitter, on the surface, is the epitome of the sound bite.  But it is, in fact, an effective way through links and attachments, to blend the short and long conversation forms to provide the basis for extended dialogue regarding substantive issues among random and disparate groups of people.  In addition, I believe that new platforms will emerge that will enhance that model further, through closed conversation salons and streamlined publishing platforms. These developments will allow the exploration of issues to go even deeper.  I am very bullish on this trend.

While this is just a quick survey of a few trends, there is much more to be excited about in the areas associated with IT and computing.

What are some of the trends you see reaching beyond the New Year to reshape how we communicate and connect both in and outside of the business?