The University of Minnesota has graciously offered us another opportunity to gather data and insights from observing smart people using Drupal for the first time.
The two lab tests we did with Drupal 6 really brought home the fact that Drupal can be hard to wrap your head around. The community has responded with a drastically reworked Drupal 7 and next week will give us fresh insights on what we improved, what has become worse and which new problems are out there.
Drupal initiative work is spinning up. Research, planning and scoping things. Important, but up till a point. Many of the changes we want to bring to core for Drupal 8 can be done as contributed projects right now.
Starting in contrib has some important advantages. You get to ship your project earlier and more often. Drupal 7 sites can benefit from your solution. The code and concept can be tested and improved based on feedback coming from actual use in the wild.