Jeff Eaton presented interesting ideas at DrupalCon London under the title "Snowman". In a BoF and a Core Conversation he talked about how Drupal could be improved as a product which out-of-the-box can solve some real life use-cases. At the moment Drupal needs to be extended by downloading contrib modules, to actually build a somewhat realistic website. The idea is not to have every module in core, but at least make it possible to survive the first few hours without the need of installing a contrib module.
The first life-changing patch (IMHO) is already on the way, and probably gives a good idea what kind of changes in core the snowman initiative is aiming at. The patch provides a checkbox for each content-type, where the site-builder can activate a per content-type listing page and/or listing block. That way one can easily have a News content type and can get a News block and a News listing page out of the box. As a listing seems to be a such natural thing to have when you create a new content type, I really like this feature.
While such a listing can also be created using the Views module, having a single checkbox in core makes absolutely sense as its simply a very quick win (aka low hanging fruit).
To get involved in the process, join the group. The next step is to create a couple of example websites to discover more hurdles which make the first site-building steps of a Drupal newcomer cumbersome.