“Simple” can be Hard

During 2012 my organization was challenged to “simplify”. One example I looked to was tablet apps which tend to be simple and limited…yet effective. Yeah…people involved in technology can over think and make our processes (not to mention our products) more complex than they need to be.

With an engineering background and working in a company that has hundreds of engineering apps I sometimes struggling to get started (knowing that I’m starting down a long road), then end up creating something very complex over more time than I expected. I sometimes find myself hindered in making progress in areas where complexity seems (to my mind) to be necessary. I’ll admit that I’ve found myself working through a myriad of details and options in trying to craft the best (multiple choice…process, system, proposal, report…even email)…while taking a looong time to “ship” it. Stepping back to look at this now, much of the issue is due to starting to craft the work too soon; without the benefit of creative thinking. Sure…I can plow through a complex topic to an extreme level of detail but, in reality, that’s easy work…it just takes a long time. And, that sort of creative process can produce something unwieldy and difficult to maintain.

Now…creating something simple, yet worthwhile,  isn’t easy. (Have you tried to convey a thought via Twitter?)  And it might just take as much time as it’s uber-complex counterpart. But which is more effective?

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs






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