Why do businesses make it so complicated for themselves, their customers and you and me as consumers? How come some businesses get it and keep it simple making more money as a result? These were two questions I was interested to find answers to @VECCI Business Leaders lunch with Ken Segall, Ad Man and New York Times Best Selling Author of “Insanely Simple” oh, and he’s also the guy that put the “i” in front of iMac, that lead to the iPhone and iPad that lead to a lot of other ‘i…s’ out there.
The ‘Simplicity Principle” is just that – think minimal – less is more! For example minimise and humanise the words in your advertising. Think Different. Have less people at your meetings. “Use common words to explain uncommon things” as Di Vinci said. Recent examples shared by Ken of ‘simplicity’ include McDonald’s new $1 for every cup of coffee (all sizes) in the US, recently extended to soft drinks.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? So why don’t more businesses KIISS you once rather than confuse us multiple times with the evil twin of “complexity”? Let’s look at two more examples of ‘simplicity’ triumphing over ‘complexity’ or is that ‘stupidity’? iTunes @99c a song is pretty simple right? So why did Microsoft invent Zunes with Xbox like points that translated to odd numbers that resulted in customers being in credit despite the fact their points to cents to songs conversion was the same as Apple iTunes @99c
Brains plus common sense = Simplicity. The important piece is the upfront thinking and brains at the start. In pursuit of inclusion, everyone puts their mark on things and business gets more complicated. As business grow so does complexity. It took a lot nerve for Steve Jobs to kill all 28 products existing in the Apple portfolio in 1999 when they literally had only 90 days cash to burn before bankruptcy. The resulting iMac, 2 new products + 1 to come more than made up for the lost complexity.
Being authentic, striving for perfection and achieving it only when there is nothing left to remove is what simplicity is all about. Its sounds simple doesn’t it but just give it a go and watch complexity creep in around you. If that happens revert to Simplicity principle #1 “no compromise”. As Ken confesses himself in writing his very own book on simplicity he made it overly complex by adding 10 principles. Less is more – time to sign off!
Dermott Dowling is founding Director @Creatovate, Innovation & International Business consultancy. Creatovate help businesses create innovate and grow through innovation and spreading their wings outside their home base. Contact Dermott if your business needs help simplifying your idea-to-innovation process or expanding internationally.