I have often cautioned against doing something simply because we can. In process improvement for example, it is tempting to automate every thing to the hilt. But this can alienate and disenfranchise the people in the process.

When it was first introduced, the boxed cake mix only really took off after Betty Crocker stopped putting the powdered egg in, and instead “allowed” the busy homemaker to add the goodness of the egg themselves. There was tremendous value in not making something too convenient!

Here’s a flip that occurred when I read Don Norman’s essay Technology First, Needs Last recently.

New conceptual breakthroughs are invariably driven by the development of new technologies The new technologies, in turn, inspire technologists to invent things, not sometimes because they themselves dream of having their capabilities, but many times simply because they can build them.

When inventing something revolutionary, you need to make and do everything you can think of to do with that piece of new technology, new technique, new concept...

This is like an artist meeting a new media for the first time. Buy a boxed set and start doing everything you can think of to do with it.