I continually remind myself that my work needs to remain simple. Annie Liebovitz
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo DaVinci
Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art. Frank Lloyd Wright
Simple is often associated negatively with inexperience, lack of intelligence or lack of sophistication. In order to gain some perspective maybe we should look at the word simply then? It seems like a better word. It has a more favourable connotation.
Simply wonderful. Simply delicious. Simply beautiful.
What’s interesting about the adjective simply is that it communicates a singular basic notion of an idea that is stripped of complexity; back to its basic form. Wonderful. Delicious. Beautiful.
With that in mind, consider Occam’s Razor, to paraphrase, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Well, it’s easy to say but not necessarily easy to do. You actually have to stop and think. It’s not necessarily natural to think that way, is it? In our world today everything we do or touch has the propensity to be complicated. Technology has given everyone the ability to create, complicate, analyse, evaluate, redo, rethink, rework and the list goes on. What happens? Complexity trends toward the extreme.
Doesn’t it typically go something like this?
I have an idea. I want to implement it. I need to have a plan. So, what do I do? I start to think of the options. I write them down. That’s how I work. In doing so, the complexity builds. We are presented a problem. How do we resolve it? We start to analyse the options and modify the processes we know and we start looking for solutions. We start to use the tools around us to evaluate the options. It’s easy to complicate the process.
But it’s no big deal, right?
Why do phrases like “It’s no big deal” seem so risqué to us? Are we missing something when that is said? Is everyone else seeing something that we have missed? That phrase is considered cavalier and most, if not all, clients should never hear those 4 words strung together in a sentence. Sometimes you can’t help but feel some form of relief when you think it. Its ok, no one’s perfect. However, “it’s no big deal” leaves us thinking about simplicity. Yes at times the capacity for understanding complex problems by the individual who utters it leaves us frustrated; however, it simply reminds us that we need to strip a problem to its core. “It’s no big deal” disarms complexity.
So, what does it take then?
Simply put simplicity takes intelligence to actualize (ha, ha, very funny). You have to agree that it is not easy to strip a problem to its core; to understand it in its basic form. It takes time and time is oh so precious these days, isn’t it? Consider this approach; spend the time now, distil it down, find the solution, test it and then implement it. It’s not rocket science (now there’s a cliché) but if we all could do it well then we would all be rocket scientists, wouldn’t we? Back to Occam’s Razor. Cut to the chase and base your decision on the following logic; the best solution is the one that has been distilled from eliminating the redundancies in process. What’s the alternative? Spend more time and effort fixing a problem later.
What about this as an approach?
- Listen to the problem.
- Understand what is being asked.
- Ask someone else if you are not sure.
- Learn as much as you can – knowing more means you have a broader perspective.
The one person that cannot tell you if your plan is at its core is you. Share it.