“Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.” – Alan Perlis
Many people work this way: brainstorming, whiteboarding, creating convoluted Visio diagrams, writing pages and pages, prototyping elaborate algorithms, then stepping back for a moment, ruminating, and finally landing upon a simple and elegant solution.
Sometimes I work this way as well. When I have a complicated problem, the best ideas are those I discover myself through writing it out, longhand. I achieve the best result when I am able to continue writing until I’ve rationally removed the obstacles and disgarded irrelevant variables. I not only discover the root and truth of the problem, but also the solution which works for me.
The problem so many of us confront in business today is that there is usually not enough time allowed for such exercises. We are expected to carry solutions in our pockets, which can be showered like candy to our employees and customers. We are expected to wave a wand and make all ills disappear, magically provide information, pull the answer out of a hat with impressive flourish.
The outcome though is that we seduce with smoke and mirrors. The simple and elegant solution is sacrificed in favor of a darling scheme – one which all too frequently extracts a longer term price.
Best that we follow the strategy which works best for us; even if this means we are the unromantic tortoise, we still ultimately win the race.