The power of simplicity

This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about recently – and of course the irony to such a post like this is to keep it simple as well

There are some great quotes of course:

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Albert Einstein

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
Ernst F. Schumacher

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”
John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life

Not surprisingly, there are literally hundreds of books explaining how to make this a reality.  I am not going to try and replicate this but , in the keeping it simple context, literally, just propose a couple of ideas…

Idea 1: Reduce rather than increase functionality.  Today, we see the exact opposite phenonema – whether its buying a TV, car, network switch – we are given an array of functionality, most of which is what we don’t want.  As a consumer, its difficult to do too much about this as its all part of their lock-in process.  We end up getting functionality we didn’t want but as its there we start to use it and then become more dependant on it.As a supplier though involving in specifying solutions and designs, we have absolute control and ability to do this.  Just try in a customer dialog, reducing rather than increasing functionality, and after their initial horror they will understand the logic… The knock on effect especially in comparing products, it can be the simpler solution which stands out over the more complex ones

Idea 2: When answering to a complex question or query don’t be tempted to answer through an equally complex response. Provide a simple summarised response

Idea 3: When someone gives you a very complex answer, rather than trying to understand, get them to explain it you in much simpler statements. Quite often, unfortunately, it will show they didn’t actually understand what they were saying…

Idea 4: Although not absolutely to do with simplicity, stay away from proprietary methods and standards as they will tend to be more complex than their neighbouring open standards

Idea 5 (last one). How do I keep my life simple – look at my email inbox – it will never have more than 10 items in it unless I have been away and I have an active list of urgent, and important things to do. I can’t profess to it always working but it keeps my brain running in this mode..









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