Create your next idea using SIMPLICITY
We tend to be obssessed with complexity, thinking that it is impressive and involved, therefore an improvement or form of progress. This is not necessarily true. I think when trying to establish an idea, people envision a great big room, and if you have more space in that room you can go create the biggest and most impressive idea ever. The extra space would be considered your creative freedom.
When dealing with personal projects, or projects where you are given a lot of freedom, that open vacuum for creativity is often going to extinguish the flickering flame for an idea, not bloom into a massive one.
You could start an idea from any of the real estate on the walls of that room. So many points you could start with, but often the most difficult thing is just starting.
When there are too many options available to us, we often encounter decision paralysis – an event where we begin to over-analyze the situation, in the quest for discovering the best of something. The best starting point to solving a problem or puzzle, the best value, and so forth.
Lets say you want to create a new kind of toothbrush, because your kids aren’t brushing their teeth well enough. You think to yourself “I bet a lot of kids don’t clean their teeth all that well. Here’s my opportunity to change the world.” Blank slate. Forget the toothbrush even exists, what can you create that will clean teeth?
Well, maybe you’ll start with some research, because you couldn’t think of anything off the top of your head when you looked at that blank sheet (not that surprising). Turns out that teeth have lots of nooks and crannies that bacteria and plaque love. The gums also need to be massaged to circulate bloodflow and other medical science stuff, etc… moving on.
Maybe your invention can spray a liquid into all those tiny nooks and crannies, blasting away the tooth gunk (I’m totally stealing the idea from the waterpik, just follow me here),. There’s some other massaging head that is above the water sprayer, gently vibrating and massaging to keep the gums healthy.
You need two hands to operate the thing properly. You would invest lots of money into marketing this invention to kids by making it cool and “space-age like”. Buzz Lightyear uses the AstroToothCleanser 9000, so why won’t they? Lots of time and effort goes into making this perfection of tooth cleaning, but still…. kids are barely using it.
Turns out, something simple, like a modified chewing gum that isn’t full of so much sugar – maybe almost like a toothpaste cleanser that you chew – the kids will pop it in their mouths and chew away, cleaning their teeth and massaging their gums at least decently. It’s not going to get their teeth as clean as the AstroToothCleanser 9000, or a dental hygenist… but it’s so simple that people will actually use it – because it’s easy, and it’s simple to produce (hence, inexpensive to buy).
The moral that I’m creating from this fictional narrative is that ideas, products, etc. often have to meet up with people and their behavior. Often the best is only the best if people can actually utilize it.
Let’s combine two principles at once. To generate ideas it’s important to create our own limitations. For ideas to spread and have an impact they need to be simple enough to be expressed to people, and/or easy for people to use.
The absence of limitations is the enemy of art” – Orson Welles
The best thing you can do for yourself to be more creative is to set the limitation of simplicity for yourself. Say “how can I make this product, idea, article, etc. with the least amount of items, tools, sentences, etc?” That way you can use that limitation to springboard into ideas, and in the end your creation will be accessible to its users.
Although Bryan might argue that this post is long and complicated for the purpose of expressing how important simplicity is, really, he could benefit from using the power of simplicity too…
How would you change this article to make it more simple and thereby more approachable? Comment below!
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