Cross Pollination

I binged on TED talks whilst travelling over to the ISWC 2008 conference. One of those that I enjoyed the most was “Design and the elastic mind” by Paola Antonelli. Who doesn’t get a kick out of seeing some great design concepts?
One item that caught my attention was Antonelli’s reference to a regular “salon” that brought together designers and scientists in order to explore common ground and share ideas.
As the power of what is possible on the web increases, it strikes me that we need a bit more of this kind of cross-pollination between development and design. In order to encourage a bit more lateral thinking and a fuller exploration of the potential, and maybe kick us all in some new directions.
Looks like I’m not the only one thinking this: Tim Bray is encouraging folk to branch out and Ian Dickinson wants to be a “devsigner” when he grows up.
I think this is particularly true in the Semantic Web space. I’ve yet to see a really striking semantic web application that isn’t essentially a clone of an existing service or really does justice to the data. Are there exciting, challenging, or innovative user interfaces that I’ve missed? Parallax is great, but what else is there? What needs to happen to encourage more innovation?
I can remember a couple of years back when all of a sudden there were information architects and interaction designers at conferences like XTech, when it became clear that there were a lot of synergies between open data publishing and good (website) design. How long before this happens at Semantic Web conferences? There’s a couple of papers on this topic at ISWC, and a workshop next year. But what else can we do? How do we foster some good cross-pollination?