“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Steve Jobs, or was it Leonardo da Vinci or Albert Einstein?
Opinions vary as to the original source.
Complexity is at the root of a lot of process, technological and organizational failures. In this era of digital business transformation, we suffer the impact of complexity more than ever.
Simplicity, on the other hand, is the ultimate sophistication.
It takes a lot of hard work and thought to make something simple, whether that something is an idea, concept, process, system or product.
It is difficult to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.
It is not just minimalism or the absence of clutter.
It involves digging through the depths of complexity.
To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. You have to deeply understand the essence of a concept or work product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.
I wish I had been taught this earlier in life.
It is a critical business skill, and obviously one I have yet to master!
If you are developing individuals, teams or organizations, this is worth investing time on.
It needs quality of thought and critical analysis and requires communication, collaboration, understanding, even human empathy – what makes something complex or unwieldy to a customer or stakeholder?
Of course, the cruel irony is that, to make something simple to the customer, there might be a lot of hidden internal complexity. But that can be simplified too, but starting with the customer/stakeholder experience is always the right call.
The latest cars are beautifully simple, but there is complexity in the engineering.
The renowned thinker and author, Edward de Bono, wrote a book called simply “Simplicity”.
He suggested 10 rules of simplicity. If this concept resonates with you, read this brief summary of the 10 rules here ..
Written by Adam Howe, it is a simple 3 minute read, but you might just want to read it twice to digest it properly!