Five innovation ideas I had on my evening commute today.

-WHEN WILL MACHINE LEARNING HELP KNOWLEDGE WORKERS PRIORITIZE THEIR TASKS? Will machine learning ever enable professionals to avoid their most productivity-destroying behaviors? Will my Outlook ever ping me a warning when I stumble back into an unproductive behavior pattern, like spending 10 minutes deleting old emails, or rearranging a to-do list? Can a machine learning algorithm suggest that I focus on task X as the most “important” of the day, versus the “urgent but not important” tasks begging for my attention? In other words, when will office email and calendar tools get smart and help us focus on work that matters?

-WHEN IS THE SOCIAL UTILITY OF SOCIAL MEDIA GOING TO INCREASE? What does the next generation of social media look like? When are we all going to get tired of tapping “like” buttons and demand something more transformative, helpful, life-enhancing? Is social media capable of more than making us obsessive about our like count and our life optics?

-HOW CAN WE DIAGNOSE ONLINE CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS FASTER THAN TIME-CONSUMING ANALYTICS TOOLS? What is the best way to diagnose problems with one’s sales funnel? Is there a non-intrusive, non-bothersome way to get inside the customer’s head as s/he abandons at a certain part of the funnel? Figuring this out with analytics tools post-hoc — or conducting exit surveys — is what we do now. But is there a better way?

-WHY IS NECK AND BACK PAIN A GIVEN FOR KNOWLEDGE WORKERS?¬†If there was space in the eyeglass market for a startup like¬†Warby Parker, isn’t there space in the furniture market for a startup that offers a new take on office furniture (delighting petite people everywhere)? Why can’t physical discomfort in the workplace be eliminated? Muscular discomfort saps productivity.