Mother necessity

John Maeda shared on twitter a phrase that made me remember the need to reflect on what is, can or should be innovation.

Here it is:

“Innovation = Addition (new), Need (relevance), Opposite (surprise), Subtraction (focus), Epiphany (aha)” —R.S. Wurman

This could be the answer or guidance that I seek and involves two seemingly contradictory concepts, the complexity and simplicity.

The complexity that can be described through an expression that I like in particular:

“Complexity is the field of emergency, composed of many different parts and connected in unpredictable flows “.

We will go from here, to talk about innovation, using the words of Tim Brown, as an anchor forwriting:

I think simplicity, complexity, minimalism, medialism, maximalism all have a role to play in design“.

From simplicity to complexity we go easily. With origins in simple ideas we can create interactions with other ideas and the expect results will be complexity. There are the simple rules that usually create complex results.

That way, we stay with a reality that carries an extra work (not necessarily an addition of something new), when we transpose this, for other fields. I remembered now how many simple situations that we have in organizations and who come to become complex and therefore difficult to resolve.

When we look at a pallet, container or a lego, all objects representing simplicity we can identify four principles: predictability, affordability, performance and its capacity to clutter.

In organizations, especially when teams are interdisciplinary and from diverse origins (internal and external), if the organizational behavior is simple it must remain simple.

Donald Norman argues that “Once we recognize that the real issue is to devise things that are understandable, we are halfway toward the solution. Good design can rescue us. How do we manage complexity? We use a number of simple design rules. For example, consider how three simple principles can transform an unruly cluster of confusing features into a structured, understandable experience: modularization, mapping, conceptual models. There are numerous other important design principles, but these will make the point.”

The most salient issue, which Norman referred to, is that we should not talk about simplicity but understanding what keeps the bipolarization created with the concepts.

But the content of thought maintains itself through the use of modularization, i.e. we have an activity (complex) and we divided it into small actionable management modules. In the case of HP multi-function printers designed to perform tasks with scanners, copiers and fax machines. HP has created a common control mechanism, “simplicity”, to the same principles that governs the use of all functions.

Likewise when we manage people or groups of people, we must seek the ignition (primary function), to increase performance or to manage conflicts.

How  to do a function, we know how to do them all.

I understand and it is simple.

Maeda however, goes further and says that the first law, the laws of simplicity, is to reduce.

Just because I’m able to do it and this works, doesn’t mean that I’ll have to add. I have to focus on the people and realize that not all are scientists or have high abilities of reasoning or handling.

Not everyone has the same powers of empathy and not all have the same language skills or using technology.

In the process of innovation, we often import profiles and environments that do not identify themselves with the existing in the importer.

In the laws of simplicity referred arises the issue of organization of functions.

Build a sensible hierarchy so that users are not distracted with features and functions that do not need. After all most of the objects that we use in everyday life are not games with high index of difficulty of execution.

Similarly for people who work in organizations, do not build heavy hierarchies and matrix, in order to simplify the observation of the authority and to facilitate the communication streams.

I got my tendency toward simplicity and recognize that there are things that will never be simple. But if the orientation is to simplify without removing comfort or well-being, create balance, then the results will be magnificent.

This way there we will not need multiple functions that sometimes it is better to disregard.

The need (relevance) is Queen!

Do you want to comment?



One Response to Innovation – A sum made with surprises refined by subtractions

  1. RalfLippold says:

    All action we do is driven by need. Often we are just not aware of it.

    The need (relevance) is Queen!

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