Expanding perspectives exposes new opportunities to improve value. This can be through time, people, space, or any factor relevant to a problem.
Helping More People
In most cases, any solution requires much less societal effort if we try to help more people. This often adds some complexity to the design, but the cost per person is far less. Discoveries are the best examples, as we can share them globally with little additional effort.
The video is actually an example of 2 types of discovery:
- Knowledge new to anyone
- Knowledge new to early adopters
First, it is critical to make the initial discovery, but it cannot have meaningful impact if no one else learns of it. Fortunately, some people love to geek out on the newest research, which offers some benefit. With a little extra effort, by serving as curator and sharing the best discoveries, countless people can benefit from the obsession. Sticking with Two Minute Papers, such efforts can also be rewarded.
Looking Further Into the Future
Many people will put up with seemingly insignificant problems, without realizing the tremendous total burden over time. While some problems can solve themselves in time, others will compound over time. Even if the solution requires a significant pause in workflow, the benefits are often worth the cost.
In design situations, quick and crude solutions are often promoted, so we can get a head start with testing. Applying this concept recklessly, without considering the impacts on next steps, leads to trouble. Instead, we should attempt to create solutions as foundations for the further work. This may increase the initial burden, but we can also realize we were quickly and crudely overproducing.
Cancelling Out Problems
Many problems are the solution to others. If we can combine them effectively, the cost of each could be heavily reduced.
Think of any northern region, heating is required for a majority of the year. Even now, most people heat by burning or running electricity through an element. Where is heat a problem that we could address safely at multiple scales? Computing is one option. There are already startups that have designed servers to look and function as space heaters, far more “efficient” than heating the ocean.
Is there another problem adjacent to this one? Poor utilization of an expensive asset, a computer. Distance from computation, experienced as latency, could also be addressed as more systems are utilized. While crypto-mining receives the most press, it is even easier to generate heat from an underutilized computer by supporting research. The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) system allows us to direct our computing power to any variety of projects.