Less technology is sufficient

O'Reilly Radar has the great posting Tweenbots: Cute Beats Smart where cute robots achieve their goals by relying on the kindness of strangers. The basic idea is to have the robot transport itself from one end of Washington Park to the other. The problem is that the robots can only move in a straight line. To achieve their goal they need people to set them in the right direction time and again. And it happens.

Technologists -- me included -- spend a lot of time over thinking a problem as one requiring a comprehensive technical solution. More often than not, less technology is sufficient. Let the person or persons who have the problem develop their own means of using a new and limited tool -- albeit specialized -- in conjunction with their existing processes and tools to enable a solution. A problem solved this way is more likely to be used and be resilient in the problem's environment -- an ever changing one, most likely.