Inspiration from Apple for the core of Technology Justice


October 6th, 2011

There is little doubt that Apple did things differently from other computer companies.  In no small measure that unique approach came down to the inspiring leadership of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple who died at the age of 56, at the height of his powers.   Practical Action, built on the inspiring leadership of Fritz Schumacher does things differently from other international development organisations.   The comparison might end at that point had I not listened to the speech Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University in 2005.   It gives me hope.   Don’t settle.

During the day there have been many poignant tributes to Jobs.   The BBC evening news ended with the words of Jobs (quoted directly here): “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.  Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.  And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.  So keep looking until you find it.  Don’t settle.”

Practical Action is in the business of human development.   The process of human development is to enable people to choose the life they have reason to value.   Promoting and enabling that choice is key to success in our business.   Today we have more technology available to us than any previous generation.   You and I (living in the UK) can choose to buy an Apple, or not.   In the world at large 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation and 1.3 billion lack access to safe drinking water.  Those people have no technology options.   Why?   Many reasons are apparent but geography and the place of birth have a major role to play: that is an injustice.  Don’t settle.

It is an injustice that there are unmet needs in the world while much of the world is driven to innovate by consumer wants.   A world that chooses wants in preference to needs is an injustice.   Don’t settle.

Don’t settle for less than technology justice for all people where ever they live.   Join with Practical Action to dispose of the dogma…follow your heart…have the courage that there is a different path to create.

One response to “Inspiration from Apple for the core of Technology Justice”

  1. Ella Jolly Says:

    a very inspiring blog david, thank you.

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