Making things ten times cheaper

Something to ponder for the social sector (thanks to Clay Shirky):

“Dr. Amy Smith is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where she runs the Development Lab, or D-Lab, a lab organized around simple and cheap engineering solutions for the developing world.

Among the rules of thumb she offers for building in that environment is this: “If you want something to be 10 times cheaper, take out 90% of the materials.”

Perhaps this is also true for the social sector, i.e.  what can we automate, so that we can devote our limited labour resources to what really matters – quality interactions between people?

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