Complex Problems – Simple Solutions

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Let’s face it. We work on complex problems. Usually problems no one has been able to solve before. But does that mean the solutions have to be complex? Sometimes there is no way to avoid it, but why not try for a simple, yet elegant solution first?

Scott McKain, a speaking colleague, tells a humorous story of arriving in a town to give a speech the next morning and finding that he forgot his cufflinks. After numerous visits to a variety of stores with no luck finding cufflinks, a clerk in a Walmart quite innocently suggested he simply purchase a shirt with button cuffs. Brilliance in its simplicity.

Prepackaging certain types of rescue gear ahead of time dramatically improved emergency service response time for one municipality avoiding doubling the size of the department.

There are many examples of simple solutions revealed for complex problems. Usually the simple solution reveals itself after the many more complex approaches are discarded. Let’s try starting with the simple approach. What might we do with the extra time we save?

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On June 9, 2008
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