I recently attended the highly-acclaimed dConstruct 09 conference, which Brighton is lucky enough to host. Local residents looked bemused as the city suddenly became over-run with GPS/iPhone wielding, satchel/black rimmed glasses wearing, super-brainy but slightly lost-looking geeks.

With a raft of speakers and delegates from all over Europe, Scandinavia and the US, we certainly feel lucky to have this thought-provoking event on our doorstep in what is fast becoming one of Europe’s most respected digital communities.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Designing for Tomorrow” – meaning not so much visual/graphic design, but systems, paradigms and concepts. Along with a LOT of talk about robots :-), there were some surprisingly grass roots outlooks from some of the world’s most influential digital innovators.

There was a lot of talk – good talk – about getting the web off the web and into the real world. People have all the information they need when they are online – but what about when they are not?

Mobile is very clearly the future – but when leading mobile interaction designer Brian Fling delivered his predictions of the future of mobile, he pointed to the base set of front-end languages (albeit new versions) that are the tried and tested building blocks of everything on the web and that digital media practitioners use every day; HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and XML. (A great low-down from uber-developer Mark Perkins HTML5 here.)

This got me thinking about what innovation really is. Innovation, in any industry, tends to be associated with more – more technology, more features, more complexity, more detail, more speed etc.

But innovation can also mean taking things away. Less complexity, fewer features, less detail … revising everything we’ve been experimenting with to give people what they need, something that works well and nothing else.

It amazes me sometimes how many things that have been around for ever still do not work very well, despite the fact we can (supposedly) take man to the moon. We really need to work on this.

We shouldn’t build things that don’t need to be built. We shouldn’t try to re-invent the wheel. We should look at what’s there and make it better – more user-friendly, less complicated and more accessible.

The future is about making digital media more human.

(For a nice collection of things that geeks think should be preserved for the future, check out the dConstruct09 Time Capsule on Flickr.)