When in Doubt, Simplify

The simplest solutions are always the best solutions.

I've been thinking about this for two reasons:
  1. One of the projects I'm working on has multiple tiers, aggressive deadlines, a complex operating landscape, and many comparatively small components that must eventually function as a cohesive whole.
  2. My challenge at each stage is to seek and find ways to eliminate obstacles and streamline the strategy, processes, content, graphics, imagery and layout, so everyone involved can produce the best interim outcomes and achieve the ultimate goals.
These complicated circumstances are subject to ongoing change, so it would be easy to feel overwhelmed.


To circumvent that particular pitfall, I always think of this anecdote from childhood shared by Willis Carrier, the inventor of the first functional air conditioning technology:
My mother told me to bring up a pan of apples from the cellar. She had me cut them into halves, quarters and eighths and add and subtract the parts. Fractions took on a new meaning and I felt as if no problems would be too hard for me - I'd simply break them down to something simple and they would be easy to solve.
Through the years, we've looked at the value of simplification in numerous circumstances and from varied perspectives. No matter what challenges you may be facing, remember: When in doubt, simplify and it's likely you'll find workable solutions there.


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