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Michael Krigsman

Thanks, Sig! Isn't it amazing how designing something simple is so hard.

Personally, I prefer simple things designed really well.



Michael, just this morning Thomas pointed me to this post http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/simplicity-the from which I cheekily copy this:

"...making something “simpler” is often a case of relocating complexity, rather than eliminating it from the user-technology relationship. For example, from the driver’s perspective, a manual-shift transmission is more complex than an automatic transmission. But from an overall systems perspective, the automatic transmission is equally or even more complex."

Well put I say, and it says something else in my view - you have to understand the complexity, and accept it, so as to "relocate" the complexity and thus make things "simpler".

The big issue methinks is that we have this tendency to rebuff complexity off hand then making a few assumptions to cut things down to something "simple" - and that approach would not work with the gear system in a car, as it should not work for an enterprise system.

The big difference there would be that a bad design of gears would give instant feedback, the car would not budge, while in the enterprise world iffy and badly designed stuff survives - the ensuing problems are simply relocated (duh) to management consultants, coaches and such :)

Paul P Magee

Hi Sig, reminds me of a Rugby practice session with my 12 year old son, on the beach last week. Throwing the ball to each other I suggested we throw and catch only with our left hands for a while. (Both being right handed)

I can't do it! He proclaimed. A fatherly silence (and probably a raised eye brow) was all it took for him to realise his weak arguement and try and justify it, making excuses about distance, how his left arm was weaker, how I was bigger etc etc.

Before long not only had he convinced himself that he couldn't do it, but he had upped the stakes to a world encompassing - It's impossible, it can not be done!

Instead of saying 'It can't be done' I said, why not try asking a question 'if it were possible, how might we do it? and how might it improve our game?'.

So we moved closer together, throwing and catching the ball with our left hands from just 1 meter away. And then slowly we moved further apart, and then further, until eventually we were throwing and catching the ball, left hands only from a good deal further than we had been doing it with our right hands.

It was a whole 24 hours after this life changing lesson before I heard him say something else was totally impossible! Doing the dishes I think, because he had a sore arm. :)


Paul, there you go! :D

Seems the early age "I have never tried it before, thus it's impossible" gets refined over the years to "I cannot understand how, thus it's impossible", most often adding "and that my friend you should understand too" so as to avoid any further discussion!

As I always say, all business leaders should spend months teaching/leading kids, identical reactions and issues as with grownups!


I come to this late Sig but I'm always reminded by a friend who did his Phd in complexity twenty years ago and still teaches the stuff that complexity isn't actually complex - very simple interactions can create complexity - you don't actually need lots of different parts, you just need a lot of iterations - it's the number of connections that are the key.

That said - everything he tries to explain to me seems exceedingly complicated!

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