There is plenty for us to do. Technology enables us to create, improve or completely irradicate things previously inconceivable. When we plug this immense ability into areas of great need, say abject poverty, the can easily run away with the horses.
This is not because the stuff we can do is not amazing. It truly is. The potential interventions seem almost limitless. The most important question is not “What can we do?” but rather, “What needs doing?”
“What can we do?”
The focus is internal. We are concerned with our abilities and capacities. We are passionate about creating the best solutions known to man, harnessing all the technology on offer.
“What needs doing?”
The focus is on the people we are trying to help. It requires us to first intimately understand the core problem statement. What is the first domino in the chain? If we cannot accurately pinpoint this specific intervention, the ones we decide to tackle end up being larger, and much more challenging to push over.
Once we understand the problem statement, not as we see it, but how it actually is. Then figuring out what we can do about it comes more easily. The interventions might still need tweaking, but at least they will be in the ballpark.
This is where you need to be for validated learning.
You don’t learn much from shooting in the dark.