Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

May 2019

Efficiency and Sufficiency

There’s a pattern to each week here. The long-post to start the week is both summary and launching. Then something in the middle of the week — a concept or a flashback. Then the close of the week where items of the week’s interest are shared (and those following via the site/Microblog see a bit more throughout the weekend). It’s not all that efficient for creating, but it is sufficient for the type of things created.

This navigating of efficiency and sufficiency comes up often in prospective and active projects. Usually, the intention/ask is to make something more efficient — but what’s really being sought is a better association to sufficiency in process, activity, and/or product. In being given a look into what creates outcomes, efficiency seems to be the measuring stick. And to some degree, you can merit some success when removing friction. But, that can’t be the goal. Sufficiency can be the goal, but after a very early point, it’s not so much measured as it’s felt — that is, what’s actually done becomes understood and analyzed well above the scope of what metrics define efficiency.

Can’t take credit for this framing. A recent read at Treehugger opened the topic and made very clear that the aim shouldn’t simply be making a process or series or products efficient. If looking at what people are doing isn’t the metric first, no amount of efficiency actually solves the problem. It actually adds inefficiencies.

But, can an effort like Avanceé subscribe and then ascribe to its clients such a philosophy? Likely, yes. This is the domain not only of an SME, but also of being forward in such a way which respects the people who own the journey. It’s likely a divergence from what you might be used to — but, it wouldn’t be drawing on the outside of the box if it didn’t look at effects/affects like this now would it?

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