Unlimited: Money=Laziness

At the Unlimited Symposium, Mark Ingham, talked about a project in PNG and community initiatives a large oil company was doing to help local farmers.  He had mentioned community concern that influx of money would make their people lazy.  The concern being if people have money they can just buy things and not work.

Money = laziness, seemed provoking and at times a very true equation to me.
In the design process, I would say having money can make thinking lazy and hinder innovation.  Consider an urban issues like water, with money there might be more opportunity to be lazy and “buy” out of issues (like the investment of big technologies or infrastructure).

Also at the Symposium, Paul Bennett talked about IDEO’s strategies and the focus on fast actions (actions that could be “done tomorrow for nothing”).    In this case the very lack of money, does change the work.  I feel a lack of money usually makes you get more creative and resourceful.  It requires you to simplify and distill actions and design.  Often making it a better and more appropriate solution.    Low tech design solutions in developing nations often prove this.  On my own projects, lack of money for events like PARK(ing) Day made us borrow, recycle, get donations and really use the power of community, partnership and shared resources.

I always found it enjoyable to work with materials, and using those constraints to lead the design/building process.  Similarly with money – it is actually the constraint that helps design at times.


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