Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Multiple Perspectives of Digital Simplicity

As the saying is going, simplicity is the optimal level of complexity.

Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make the business progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing a high mature digital organization. Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Take a close look at simplicity from different management lenses, simplicity is one of the very important characteristics of the digital quality. It means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, and responsiveness, etc. Here are three perspectives of digital simplicity.

Simplicity from a management perspective: There is a coherent relationship between simplicity and clarity. When a business becomes overly complex and people get frustrated and annoyed by not being able to accomplish things easily, this drives the search for simpler concepts and methods. When the management sets “Simplicity” as the digital principle, they really advocate a kind of transparency or clarity. Simplicity can be expressed through a comprehensive abstract. The art of digital management is not to complicate things, but to eliminate unnecessary complication. From the business lifecycle of maintenance and cost perspective, how do you know you have the minimum required complexity, as to support flexibility without hurting the support/maintenance costs? Simplicity is the design of looking for what is common for maximum reuse, keeping things simple and optimizing the business are all about leveraging technologies to lower costs, improve operation, and increase revenue. From the organizational structure tuning perspective, delaying becomes a lens through which it is possible to simplify and optimize the organization to get digital ready. An organization achieves the state of digital equilibrium through its optimized management layers, resilient processes, and elastic capacities to examine and fix many other issues including bureaucracy.

Simplicity from a customer’s perspective: At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is how well it can delight customers and the digital maturity of its people. The multidimensional digital effects provide impressive advantages in term of the business speed, the abundance of information, and the quality of the customer experience. The more customer contact points an organization has, the more difficult it is to meet and hopefully deliver on customers' expectations. Engaging customers by providing simplified and intuitive products/services on an ongoing basis to see how their goals are achieved is a good way to orchestrate a people-centric organization. Often, the early solution is perhaps complicated, but after optimizing the business processes and adjusting the working procedures, the following solutions could be better, but simpler. Follow simplicity principle to get ride of complication, remove unwanted complexity, and clarify assumptions and dependencies, clearly reveal the intentions of the business and its purpose, to run a people-centric organization.

Simplicity from a developer’s perspective”: Simplicity is the design principle of looking for what is common for maximum reuse. Everything is designed. Design thinking is a creative process coming up with novel ideas and figuring out elegant solutions. Creativity process could be sophisticated, but creativity is never for making things complicated, the opposite is actually true, creativity is to advance, but also simplify things. Design Thinking is very reliable at producing valid and simplified solutions. In fact, everyone is a designer to a certain degree, but very few are trained in how to design well by following the simplicity principle. It takes both aptitude and attitude. Traditional business thinkers have a preference for reliability, getting the same result every time. Designers prefer validity; getting the right result this time. People complicate the simple things when they don't have the answers. The master designers decode complexity and make it simple but purposeful. The forward-thinking leaders understand how things such as design thinking, can fundamentally change organizations and their societal impact, first by demonstrating wins on simple products and services, and then, on things such as strategy, sustainability, and social responsibility.

As the saying is going, simplicity is the optimal level of complexity. It's all about balance and perception. Simplicity is the building blocks to achieve high quality. The effort and resources have to be put towards doing so, otherwise, failure is a real possible outcome. However, not every complexity is bad, all the intelligent beings are complex at a certain level, the point is how to eliminate the unnecessary complexity (complication) to make it elegant. Therefore, the management needs to encourage desired complexity, simplify and optimize the business for reaching the next level of digital maturity.


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