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Form, fit, function and generosity

The solutions you build to help other people can be described in terms of form, fit, and function.

Form is what the solution looks like: a revolving belt, glass bent into a particular shape, an app.

Fit is how well the form meets someone’s needs from their perspective (this might be worth repeating twice).

Function is the action that the solution is intended to perform to meet a need: running for physical fitness, holding drinking water for hydration, facilitating the acquisition of desired goods and services.

Generosity without consideration for form, fit, and function creates the risk of not making an impact. The PlayPump, a water-pumping technology that was backed by millions of dollars in charitable donations but ended up failing due to a lack of consideration for form, fit, and function is a perfect cautionary tale for this.

To the extent that generosity is motivated by a desire to help, it’s important that form, fit, and function are considered in addition to a readiness to give if we want to maximize our ability to help the people we aim to serve.