Does Simple-ness Frighten You?

July 10, 2013
# min read
Janice Giannini

I recently attended a technology networking forum . The objective is to bring together people with an interest in technology to share ideas . During the course of the evening they presented two different four minute videos on new technology. We were taken aback by 1 of the videos.

Backstory: In the world today clean drinkable ( potable) water is a problem for many people. When a disaster happens, it takes days to get water to people. Witness New Orleans and other natural disasters. Logistics is a real issue. It was also estimated that everyday, the inventor said, 10 to 13 infants die from lack of clean water. So as a scientist and inventor he decided to do something about it.

Most viruses and bacteria are 200 Nano meters. And most filters are 200 nanometers. Therefore most of the bacteria and viruses get through the filters. What we needed was a filter small enough to filter out the bacteria and viruses. So he invented a 25 nanometer filter in a bottle. It looks just like the water bottles that we all carry around with us. . It's a little bit bigger and has a filter at the top. He demonstrated creating filthy water (and I do mean filthy) , filtering it and then drinking it in front of the audience. He named his invention the Life Saver.

So instead of taking cleanwater to the people, he posed the question why not just send these "lifesavers" bottles to people and they can make their own water. It's faster, you can do now and on an on-going basis versus waiting until a disaster strikes. Or worse yet just watch people die due to the lack of clean water.

The technology folk viewing the video, looked at each other and said if this works and clearly it does why don't we do it? The inventor has dollars associated with providing one of these for everybody on the planet I think. It's totally feasible given the amount of money we spend already. As we pondered that question, within a few moments several of the attendees looked at each other and said: 

    · Maybe he didn'tspeak with the right people, BTW who are the right people 

    · It's too simple of asolution 

    · Politics wins again. It's not in "THEIR interest to fix it . 

In reality I have no idea why if this works, we can't makes great strides and solve one problem on this earth. And yes it's not quite that simple; there are considerations that need to be addressed. But that's not really the point. The point is, we offered these 3 potential "reasons" in less than a minute. As I was walking to my car at the end of the evening. The phrases echoed in my mind. Maybe it's too simple and it's not in their best interest. Then I wondered, how often do you let problems go unresolved and fail to make significant progress because the solutions are too simple or it's not in someone's best interest? Think about it! Is this troublesome? What is the inventor in you going to do?

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