From Stupid Complexity to Smart Simplicity

I don’t know you yet, but I ambitiously strive for creating and maintaining a simplicity mindset in all walks of my life because complexity was almost ruining my life. I noticed the value and learnt how to consistently turn simplicity to a healthy mental, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and professional habit. My initial inspiration for value of simplicity came from the insights of my all time hero, the genius Leonard da Vinci, who paradoxically pointed out that, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

In my technology, architecture, and design career, I learnt the critical principle articulated as “the art of being wise is the art of what to overlook” by my another inspirational hero, the legend William James, the “Father of American psychology”. This principle turned to be a panacea to cure my earlier design maladies.

As a grateful transformational technology leader -focusing on value creation, business modernisation, and architecting digital transformation engagements- creating simplicity has been a critical success factor in my humble professional life therefore I want to passionately share my valuable learning experience with aspiring entrepreneurs. With fascination and amazement, I observed that simplicity posed an immutable requirement to be fulfilled for compelling value creation in successful delivery of digital transformation and business modernisation offerings.

Simplicity consistently topped the list and turned to be one of the fundamental and universal attributes of digital transformation leaders, value creating entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, thought leaders, and the original content creators in all disciplines. Especially contemporary entrepreneurs are expected to be capable of turning undesirable complexity to intentional simplicity effectively and productively in order to create novel products and services for consumers eagerly expecting and ferociously demanding simplicity.

Simplicity requirements touch and relate to every angle of our business creation and transformation goals because business environments can incredibly be complex, difficult, cumbersome, and sophisticated due to diverse stakeholders, convoluted processes, intricate systems, emerging technology stacks, and mushrooming productivity tools that surround them.

Creating and maintaining desired simplicity, particularly in sophisticated business environments, can be paradoxical, as alluded by the legend Vinci. My interpreted rationale for this paradox is that to create simplicity, we must deal with a lot of complexity, complications, and sophisticated matters. Value creation, business modernisation, and digital transformation engagements are complex tasks and require sophisticated intelligence such as in-depth knowledge, varied skills, unique capabilities, and extensive experience in order to create and maintain simplicity.

More specifically, during the simplification process, we need to deal with complicated processes, convoluted systems, myriad of tools and technology stacks, and simplify them leveraging our multi-faceted intelligence (mental, emotional, social, digital, data, technical, architectural, and even spiritual), coupled with entrepreneurial leadership capabilities.

Developing such multi-faceted intelligence, obtaining the required knowledge, acquiring advanced skills, gaining substantial experience, and displaying courage, and demonstrating unique leadership capabilities are challenging, similar to drinking from a fire hose, hence not indeed trivial activities. Worst of all, during the simplification process, we, as transformational leaders and value adding entrepreneurs, must deal with tremendous setbacks, constraints, limitations, challenges, uncertainties, and obscurity to create simplicity for our clients, keep our sanity, and remain resilient for more simple productivity.

From my recent observations and experience in complex business settings and environments, digitally intelligent transformation leaders and innovative entrepreneurs, who have to deal with complexity and sophisticated matters on daily basis, depict extraordinary focus to simplify things for their stakeholders and target consumers. Their starting point and primary focus areas are effective communication, diligent interactions, and strong collaboration enabled with fusion, innovation, and agility principles.

The other key areas and focus points are two-pronged approach in the form of top-down consumer-centric simplicity and bottom up design and specifications simplicity in the life-cycle of products and services creation.

There are of course more impactful areas requiring granular details in the lifecycle of business solutions. These are beyond the scope of this short article as pointed out and detailed in some my recent practical publications such as “Digital Intelligence”, “Architecting Digital Transformation”, “Modern Enterprise Architecture Approach”, and “Agile Business Architecture for Digital Transformation”. My goal in this short article is to offer you a quick taste of simplicity so that you can sense how delicious it can be for your entrepreneurial palette and appetite within business success context.

In a nutshell, simplicity is a critical and one of the well sought-after characteristics of entrepreneurs investing on creating digital services and products for modern consumers. We cannot survive and thrive without creating simplicity for our business because the modern digital business organisations are mandated to offer simplified solutions to consumers. The competition is substantial and tough. This is the business reality that we need to accept and deal with creativity, focus, patience, commitment, and determination.

Let’s simply keep in mind that, as opposed to stupid complexity, smart simplicity is definitely favourable by consumers. We all witness that, in our frenetic modern world, attention span of our consumers are relatively lower than those in golden times. In the simplest terms, to re-iterate with emphasis and no shame, our contemporary consumers expect and demand easy-to-use products and services; they would brutally ignore and discard convoluted ones.

Because of these compelling business reasons and robust merits, digital service and product creators must simplify their offerings and are expected to simplify complex situations and complicated problems by offering simple and easy to use business solutions to delight their consuming customers. I plan to discuss and provide insights on how to create simplicity based on architectural methods, practical techniques, and agility oriented design thinking principles in my next articles on Medium. I’d be delighted to obtain your feedback and guiding requests to be able to customise my message and add better value to your learning by understanding your specific requirements for future articles.

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