Why Complexity is Simpler than Simplicity

It seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  “Complexity is simpler than simplicity.”  But it’s true! It is easy to be complex.  And it takes time to boil things down to the simple, core elements without mucking it all up.  That’s why, too often, we prefer complexity.  It is a time/effort issue.

We think everything should be this simple.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgwF8mdQwlw’]

This reminds me of the story of the cereal maker that had a little problem.  Every now and then a box would come down the line without anything in it.  So they bought a machine (costing thousands of dollars) to weigh each box take it off the line if it was not full.  That worked fine until it stopped working and broke.  For the interim, a line employee create another solution.  Grab one of the industrial fans around the factory and put it up against the line.  When an empty box came through it was blown off of the line onto the floor.  Problem solved.

We often don’t take the time to think about things all the way through.  We rush to conclusions and in our rush make things more complex.

Very simplistically, we have two choices and they involve two different times: The up front and back end.


  1. Take the time up front (which often uses only a few people) to come up with a solution which is simple.
  2. Quickly reach a solution and come up with a complex solution (which affects many people).

(But we have all seen where large number of people create horrific scenes of chaos.  So the above model isn’t always true.)

Take the time to think.  Put your feet up on your desk.  For a few moments, stop being productive in the traditional sense so you can enable productivity for many others later on down the road.