The power of simplicity

The power of simplicity

Il potere della semplicità
7 Aprile 2020
Arredo&Design: Davide Cremese, Managing Director Americas Molteni&C | Dada
8 Aprile 2020

The brain needs simplicity. Its weight is 2% of our body but it consumes 20% of our energy.

The companies and ideas that have been most successful in recent years are those that have been able to offer simple purchasing, use and communication experiences.

The word “simple” is scary. It is associated with superficiality, banality and simplicism. The opposite is true. As Leonardo said, simplicity is the highest of sophistications.

Being simple means getting to the essentials, saving the value, throwing away the superfluous.

Simplicity is not the antagonist of complexity. It feeds on it and is the right way to deal with it. Often, however, we challenge complexity with the complications.

In these hours, days, weeks of emergency, simplicity is invoked everywhere. It has been found that, where things were already simple, it was possible to better cope with the situation.

An emergency creates a fertile ground for innovation. So, simplicity is a journey, not just a destination. It is not an intellectual habit, it is a business practice. Proof of this is offered by the Simplicity Index which weighs the economic value of the impact of simplicity on the profits and reputation of companies.

Siegel, a great expert of simplicity, wonders why, despite the undoubted advantages of simplicity, complexity wins out in everyday life. It is because complexity is of the status quo and nobody is ready to change it. One of the explanations he offers is that complexity also has something fascinating and perverse about it. “How well he speaks, I did not understand anything, but he must be good if he speaks like this”. No, if he speaks in a manner that nobody understands, he is not good, he is incapable! Good is the one capable of transmitting that concept in an understandable way.

Complexity has its adherents who defend it: those of “It has always been done this way”, those of “The procedure foresees it”, those of “We would not be compliant”. They are the ones who raise the barriers of complications.

The emergency we are experiencing is shocking, but if you really have to find a positive aspect, I say that it is pushing us to accelerate the change. Indeed, not pushed, brutally imposed.

Siegel always reminds us that simplicity is based on 3 “pillars”: transparency, clarity, usability.

  • Transparency generates trust, and where there is trust, there is efficiency.
  • Clarity generates rapid understanding which is a lever of efficiency.
  • Usability – forgive the horrendous but in this case, functional, anglicism – is the ease of use, also an accelerator of efficiency. The American toy industry loses millions a year as a result of game returns that families don’t understand how to use.

The building of simplicity is not for everyone. Anyone who innovates knows that simplicity is not only a goal, but a way of doing and being.

Among the ingredients for building simplicity, we said, there was clarity. I will talk about this in the next articles. How can you be clear? What should you do to build immediate, usable and simple communication?

Simplicity is far from easy: it requires commitment and discipline, intelligence and courage, ability and determination.

Those who want to innovate and solve complexities with simplicity will have a hard life in the company. It is easier to be born simple than to become one.

Therefore, those who want to innovate and bring simplicity in the company as in the institutions, have to be prepared to fight, and hard indeed.

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