Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jan 2019

Simplicity Then Forward

Staring with simplifying as identifying how forward

In the past weeks, Avanceé has had conversations with companies having trouble identifying how to take their next steps. This isn’t an unfamiliar track when prospects of growth are more certain, or market forces push companies to pay attention to disruptive behaviors which ripple into their context. Still, identifying what to do, versus just knowing something has to be done is the challenge. For those who had reached out to Avanceé, the onus was simple: ingest as much as possible about the stressors, and then listen for what isn’t being taken in.

Using the right kinds of listening methods and tools makes this process easier for Avanceé, but might be a challenge for others wishing to employ similar methods. Nevertheless, the best tool on any strategist’s belt is the ability to listen. For many clients, listening is augmented with sketchnotes and diagramming. While listening, allowing the finger and pen to make connections which might trigger a greater memory later leverages both the conscious and subconscious mind. By no means are humans spiders, but we are likely a lot closer than it appears.

During ingestion there is also digestion (processing). In our case, we are ignoring the bigger elements, listening for repeated and sub-textual items. It is in this layer “under the ice” where some gaps are made a bit more apparent. It is also to this layer were questions are lobbied. Those questions aim to pull those subterranean items to the surface, vetting if they are key to stressors, or merely symptoms of another artifact. These questions are also bolstered with search-and-cross references amongst known data and contexts. Perhaps a bit biased to look for an analogy when listening to specifics, but it helps to shape processing. By the end of this process, an number of clear focuses have been noted, with a few have been weighted accordingly. In our methodology, this gets simplified further to three questions. And from those three questions, a core goal is established.

If this sounds like “simplifying the problem” then you are tracking. Much about what it means to take a step forward means to decompose the problem into structures which facilitate faster and more accurate responses. Simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean ease — some of the most simple solutions have complex underpinnings. Simplicity reduces the friction the problem statement identified. When it does so beautifully, positive forward movement can occur. With positive forward moments, companies aren’t only able to address disruptions, but become one to those who aren’t able to take the heat of newly increased friction.

Can Avanceé help you simplify a complex or frictional item? Get in touch and lets explore the ways forward for you.