More With Less

A week ago, during the TED 2009 conference, Ray Anderson’s talk generated a fair amount of discussion.

During the talk, Tim O’Reilly offered a summary: “The new civilization = more happiness with less stuff.”

This is a theme I’d like to explore. Can we recognize non-traditional examples of doing more with less?

In America at least, more with less sounds like “making due,” forgoing the pleasures in life, the rewards, missing out. Look from a different angle and you can see how less can be more rewarding, including financially.

The world just saw the first $200 million of sustainable business.” —Ray Anderson, (Fast Company, September 2008)

Orthogonal Examples of More With Less

“The reason we aren’t all driving electric cars has little to do with a Detroit conspiracy. It’s that nobody has invented a lightweight, inexpensive battery that can store enough electricity to make such a vehicle practical.

If anyone can change that, it’s Angela Belcher….”

A smaller lightweight battery. the above quote is from an April 2007 Time magazine profile of Belcher, a MIT Professor and MacArthur genious grant recipient. 16 Months later a team including Belcher, announced “… first instance in which microcontact printing has been used to fabricate and position microbattery electrodes and the first use of virus-based assembly in such a process.”

It’s not about sacrifice or limits. Adjust the prism. Microbatteries, an example of more with less

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