Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

LEARN : Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution.

Do the hard work needed to find a simple solution. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”—and it is the key to this type of design work.

What a philosophical subject this can be.... Simplicity vs Complexity. A lot of questions could be asked and questions always need be asked first before you can come up with solutions.

What stands out for me, is how we as a people approach things in life that are thrown at us. Everything we KNOW affects how we react to what is thrown at us. Simple right? I believe so, but theres plenty of complexity involved to getting to that point where something specific is tossed our way. Simplicity vs Complexity is not just whats in front of you physically, but a state of mind as well. How we look at things(our state of mind) is truly affected by knowledge. The more you know, the easier is it to come up with first questions, then answers, and then finally solutions.

Simple solutions arent always the easiest. What seems like a simple solution for problem for me might not be a simple solution for a person living a different culture and country. Once again, the more we know the better. We must gain more knowledge, study, ask questions, talk to people, design a plan, find issues, test something out....(if it doesnt work start again)...to find a simple solution to someone else's problem. Sound complex and hard? Sure, but if you only already knew all this possible information then it would be simple. Simple solutions for what is needed, not what is wanted.

Views: 142

Comment by Nathan L Verrill on March 3, 2010 at 4:20pm
Hopefully within social entrepreneurship space the effort required to achieve simplicity. In the working world, many clients question the investment if the end product is too simple, complexity becomes an indicator of price tag. It is an unfortunate dilemma. Thankfully not all companies feel this way. I wonder if the same dilemma exists in the social innovation space?
Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 3, 2010 at 7:31pm
Complexity seems to have been chosen as the indicator of sophistication, civilization, and status for industrial culture. We seem to have forgotten the beauty and power of simplicity. It is also a way of resourcefulness IMHO. As you mention Jason, sometimes finding the simplest solution requires developing a network of people you can ask questions and learn from. Drawing on their knowledge and experience to build a simple solution.
Comment by Zach Cardinell on March 3, 2010 at 10:51pm
I have to piggy-back off of Nathan, it is far too frequent that a simple answer to any problem is quickly overlooked. In my life experiences, simple is always the best answer to solving problems. I work with disabled adults, where a simple solution or simplifying something in order to achieve an answer is the best way to breach language barriers, and teach to others. Not everyone knows calculous...hell not everyone knows algebra. Simple is an efficient and effective way to teach others how to answer their problems. Look at how many people know how to make peanutbutter and jelly sandwhiches.
Comment by Crystal Bellar on March 4, 2010 at 4:10am
I really like your last paragraph! You are so right :) Nothing is effective unless it is what someone needs. Simplistic solutions are adaptable, flexible, removable and not as costly as complex solutions.
Comment by Karen Rustad on March 4, 2010 at 5:10am
What I understood the post to mean is that simplicity is the goal. But it is not the starting point. You have to attack and understand the complexity first before you will ever find the simple solution. It is oh so easy to be simply wrong.
Comment by Jason Ashman on March 4, 2010 at 4:14pm
Thanks for all the comments. I enjoy your vies more than you ever know.
Comment by Jason Ashman on March 4, 2010 at 4:16pm
Baaaaaah!!! views****
Comment by Gerald Malagrino on March 5, 2010 at 2:43am
I like the insight. Simplicity is often the overlooked attribute.....Simplicity for the user vs Simplicity for the implementor. Looking forward to these next missions !
Comment by SaraBB on March 5, 2010 at 9:50am
I like that you chose this "secret" because I think it's a sign of the times; we are slowly starting to simplify our lives. From minimalism in the home to back-to-basics ideas such as rainwater harvesting and community gardens.

That being said, you end by mentioning that more information would render solution-finding simpler. On that point I have to disagree. We often cloud our judgement with too much information; American psychologist Barry Schwartz and Canadian Pop Sociologist Malcolm Gladwell both devote some attention to this phenomenon in their books "The Paradox of Choice" and "Blink", respectively. Faced with too many choices and too many pieces of information, it's easy to overlook what's really important and base our solutions on less important pieces of the puzzle. This is not to say that we show walk blindly into problem, certainly we need some level of big-picture understanding. But finding that balance that gives us the maximum necessary information to develop solutions, that's the hard part - in my opinion.
Comment by Jason Ashman on March 5, 2010 at 2:39pm
Miss SaraBB, I think you might have misunderstood my statement. The statement you use (the way I read it) supports all that I've said. In the end, you want a simple solution or typically the simplest solution possible.

".....more information would render solution-finding." These words completely support "finding a simple solution" IS (yes) the hard part...but in the end the solution needs to be simple(not just simple to put together, but simple for (per say) the person in need of a solution).

Sure...Schwartz and Gladwell make a valid point about too many choices and too much information, but their thinking comes with "cans, ifs, whens, & maybes." While valid, their thinking is very blanketing. The issue wouldnt be whether too many choices and/or too much information is available......its whether a person, a family, a city, etc..... can process all that information. An intregral part in finding the simple solution is having the best possible people to process that information.

An example : I'm pretty creative when it comes to building things. I've helped build shelter sheds for animals, tools sheds, framing inside a home, some drywalling, a little roofing, and other construction(on a very small level for some of these). Do I feel as though I could build a small home? yes.... But let me tell you...I'd have A LOT to learn and the research I'd have to do would be a massive undertaking as well as the project itself. The only way I'd be able to deal with the information and choices, would be to make sure I have the right support group helping me understand this information....be it family, experienced architects, contractors, friends and so forth.

I do however disagree with a statement of "one can have too many choices and too much information." A person can NEVER have too much information available to them. (period)
Theres sooooo much more explaining behind Schwartz's and Gladwell's thinking. I'm willing to agree with that statement if there are...ifs, depending on, whens....after it.

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