From the “So Obvious Why Didn’t I Think of It?” Department

Photo by Naughty Architect

I think that this story is so cool I just had to share it.  A 13 year old boy recently invented a way to boost solar panel output by modelling their shape after trees.

Nevermind for a moment that the boy was 13 years old (which is amazing in itself) but think about how simple the idea is. The formula: Trees need sunlight to live + evolution would favour those trees that gathered the most sunlight + … well, that’s about it, really. Shockingly simple, yet it’s only simple once you know that it’s simple.

I see this all the time in my development whenever I simplify something that was very complex and I’m amazed at not only how elegant it is relative to how it was but that it took so long to get there.  Sometimes it seems that you need to follow a very winding path just to get back to the start so that you can see the straight and easy path.  It can be easy to get discouraged and think that I’ve wasted all that time on the complex solution, but I have to remember that not all simple solutions appear simple from every angle. Sometimes the hard slog through complexity is necessary.