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What Lego can teach us about saving the planet

Interesting article from the Financial Times drawing a similar comparison to ourselves between Lego and moduralization:

‘we could work wonders if instead we used a principle most familiar from lego sets. That principle is modularity: a complex Lego model is assembled from a limited range of bricks, each of which is precision- manufactured and interchangeable with other bricks. Modularity has a number of advantages. The first is that the individual components can be manufactured at scale, which rapidly reduces costs. In the 1930’s an American aeronautical engineer named TP Wright made a careful study of aeroplane factories. He concluded that the more often a particular model of aeroplane was assembled the quicker and cheaper the next plane became.

The workers learnt the best ways of working, and special tools would be developed to assist with particular tasks. Wright found that the second plane would typically be 15% cheaper than the first. The fourth would be 15% cheaper than the second and the eighth plane 15% cheaper again. Every time production doubled, unit cost would fall by 15%. Wright called this “the learning curve”’

Article by Tim Harford, based partly on a new book by Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg with Dan Gardner, How Big Things Get Done.

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