Sustainability Resolutions for 2009 (ctd)

Matt May offers an important prescription for moving toward sustainability in 2009. The path to sustainability can be much shorter and straighter if you follow his formula: create a "stop-doing" list.

I suddenly realized that I had been looking at the problem in the wrong way. As is natural and intuitive, I had been looking at what to do, rather than what to not do. But as soon as I shifted my perspective, the vaunted Toyota Production System became for me a study of what wasn’t there, and of how and what to stop doing. The Lexus line of cars, which had by then become America’s leading luxury nameplate, was suddenly a shining example of eliminating anything that lacked passion and perfection. The singular thought that what isn’t there can often be as or more powerful than what is presented me with a completely different view of the world. In fact, it presented an altogether unique reality—and a life-changing one, at that.

It's how the concept of elegance -- which is by and large a subtractive approach -- took shape in my work and life.

It may be much easier to stop doing what you know is not really working than searching for the right solution to the problem you have created. Then you will find what you really care about. Problems don't exist out there in the world. You create them in conversations to yourself and others. Great sculpture is the result of what has been taken away.

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