Ajax, and the pile of techniques and technologies that get lumped in with it, are all about breaking that page-by-page web experience into smaller chunks. If the traditional web was letter writing, Ajax is instant messaging.
The UK government Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Global Watch Service provides funds to assist small groups of technical experts from UK companies and academia to visit other countries for short, fact finding missions. And this is their latest report: Innovation through people-centred design – lessons from the USA (PDF – free registration required).
I guess you could argue that the local Department of Trade and Enterprise is doing something similar, but in reverse: bringing the likes of IDEO President Tim Brown for the upcoming Better by Design Conference in March 2005 (people-centred design, design-led business – we’re all fundamentally talking about the same thing…)