Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

The Daily Tech website reported, “When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he cut the product line down from 350 to 10, and focused only on a few machines that were meticulously perfected. This strict focus has led to effective product designs and communications for Apple. For instance, when Apple released the next-generation MacBook laptops, the company announced that its aluminum unibody enclosure reduced 60 percent of the machine’s major structural parts, making it thinner, lighter and surprisingly stronger. “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on,” said Jobs. “But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

The focusing on doing a few things great has a proven track record of success.  A Bain and company study found that companies that were lowest in complexity grew 1.7 times fasterBottom Line:  As Complexity Increases Growth Slows.

Innovation Engineering Students of the Year Award goes to the attendees at the recent Leadership Institute in St. Louis Missouri. During the homework the first night – the power went off in the hotel.  It didn't impact the students at all.  They used their cell phones for lighting – and kept working on ideas for growing their organizations.

Innovation Engineering HOMEWORK for the week of June 13th

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify Your homework this week is to simplify your business. Do at least one of the following:

1. Simplify an Innovation    Take a project and simplify it.  Reduce the options by 50%.  Focus the innovation project on fewer options, customers, benefits and features.  Take away many of the "good ideas" – and focus on the best ideas.

2. Simplify a Meeting    At the start of a meeting define the purpose of why it's being held – make it ONE THING – not 22 things. Write it down so all can see.   Review the amount of time allocated for the meeting – and cut it in half.  Then – allow no conversations except those focused on addressing the purpose.  Complete the meeting and declare victory.

3. Simplify a System Take a process or system in your organization and reduce it's complexity.   Eliminate steps.  Reduce options. Eliminate Rework.  Trust the people "closest to the work/problem."