Doing the right things right. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Working smart may be easy, but working smart without perspective or guid- ing principles can ultimately become an ef- ficient pursuit of the wrong goals.
Consider historical approaches to industrial prob- lem solving: Applying engineering strategies to make a wasteful or hazardous process more sustainable might seem like a beneficial course of action—there are many such examples—but is fine-tuning a fun- damentally flawed system actually the goal we want to pursue? Conversely, engineers can be headed toward positive ends yet be undermined by tools that will never get them where they want to go. For example, in early approaches to the manufacture of pho- tovoltaic cells, more energy was often consumed in their construction than could ever be recovered over the systems’ lifetimes.