In search of "Common Sense"

Dec 15, 2008

Simplicity Principles - By Edward De Bono

  • You need to put a high value on simplicity
    To get simplicity you have to want to get it. To want to get simplicity you have to put a high value on simplicity.
  • You must be determined to seek simplicity
    People quite like simplicity if it does not cost anything but are usually unwilling to invest resources in making something more simple.
  • You need to understand the matter very well
    If you do not seek to understand a situation or process, your efforts will be 'simplistic' rather than simple. Simplicity before understanding is worthless.
  • You need to design alternatives
    It is not a matter of designing the 'one right way'. It is more a matter of designing alternatives and possibilities, and then selecting one of them.
  • You need to challenge and discard existing elements
    Everything needs to justify its continued existence. If you wish to retain something for the sake of tradition let that be a conscious decision.
  • You need to be prepared to start over again
    In the search for Simplicity, modify if you can - start afresh if you cannot.
  • You need to use concepts
    Concepts are the human mind's way of simplifying the world around. Warning: If you do not use concepts, then you are working with detail.
  • You may need to break things down into smaller units
    The organisation of a smaller unit is obviously simpler than the organisation of a large unit. The smaller units are themselves organised to serve the larger purpose.
  • You need to be prepared to trade off other values for simplicity
    A system that seeks to be totally comprehensive may be very complex. You may need to trade off that comprehensiveness for simplicity.
  • You need to know for whose sake the simplicity is being designed
    A shift of complexity may mean that a system is made easier for the customer but much more complicated for the operator.

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