Complexity is Laziness

Labrys

If this blog post is too complex to read, the reader is gone. While working for your job, if what you do and how you communicate is percepted as complex, your job is soon gone. If your customers’ experience is complex, they disappear in a second and are more than happy to forget your brand’s name without remembering it ever again.

When something is too complex, It often indicates that there’s still a significant amount of work missing in the progress.

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

The concept of ‘Being as simple as Bach’ -sounds fascinating, isn’t it?

From this perspective, we can rephrase the heading and put it in other words: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Last five decades we have been through breath taking technological developments. As for the digital technologies, we’ve spent 80s adapting computers to our lives, 90s for building communication networks, 2000s for better IT architectures for managing our processes and data, then finally for the 2010s, main subject is data & intelligence, being discussed and referred to in many different contextual names like ‘Big Data’, ‘Business Intelligence’, ‘Marketing Analytics’ and so forth.

In their excellent book “What To Do When Machines Do Everything“, Malcolm Frank and his co-authors compares the digital revolution with the industrial revolutions that took place in the history.

What they are basically stating is, each revolution have revealed in time with three stages in an identical manner which can be summarized as 1. Burst of innovation, 2. The stall 3. Build-out phases.

Short version of the statement is that once the innovation reveals, it creates a bubble in the first place. Some of the early adapters leverage it well and get rich in many ways. Others suffer from it and pay the price of their own share which triggers the stall. Eventually comes the productivity phase where masses are finally able to leverage the innovation, resulting significant increase in GDP’s of the nations.

These three phases form up an S-curve. The diagram (from the book) below is indicating the end of the stall period of the digital revolution by 2015 and starting of the built-out phase.

Think about it for a second. Beginning from 80s and probably until the end of 2000s, corporates have been investing heavily into computers, infrastructures, core technologies where we can summarize as IT investments. Objective was obvious, improving the processes and managing the digital assest (there comes the data) in a better, more efficient way.

As in many industrial revolutions this came with a price, giving way to lots of mistakes, failed investments, endless learning curves and shortly, remarkable and expensive stories about inefficiency.

So what are we up to while we’re entering into a new decade? More importantly, what was the significance of the last decade inside this development cycle? What are the opportunities and threads we can’t afford the failure to recognize?

Let’s address these questions and leave the conclusion to next post for the subject ‘Complexity is laziness.’

Labrys