Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Wisdom of the Day: On designing for the poor

If you make something for the rich, the poor cannot afford it. But if you design for the poor, everyone can afford it. —R. A. Mashelkar, chairman of India’s National Innovation Foundation, as quoted by Steve Lohr in "Can Governments Till the Fields of Innovation?"

This makes too much sense, so something must be wrong. Oh, I know! Mashelkar completely ignores the needs of the rich, who have trouble recognizing the value of anything unless they can own either the best of it or the most of it. So when designing products for the poor, you should always create a gold-plated version for the rich. Otherwise they'll think they're being ignored. Slights such as this can only lead to class warfare.


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