Keep it Simple

You’ve all no doubt heard the acronym K.I.S.S., which stands for “keep it simple stupid.”  It is a concept often touted but seldom heeded  in marketing, in public speaking, in systems development, in boardrooms, in classrooms, in the world of medicine and health care and just about every other department of human life.

Alan Siegel, a branding expert, makes an interesting case for keeping things simple in this short but sweet TED presentation:

Think about your world for a minute.  Are there areas of your life that are weighed down by complexity?  Your relationships, for example?  Your schedule?  Your outlook on life?  If it isn’t simple, it typically isn’t clear.  

Simplicity is attractive.  It is appealing.  It compels participation.  Did you catch Mr. Siegel’s slide quoting Thomas Jefferson?  It said “When the subject is strong, simplicity is the only way to treat it.”  Whether you are for or against the original intent of the recently “deemed and passed” health care overhaul, you must agree that nothing of its 4,000 plus pages is anything close to simple.

Keep your world simple and call for simplicity in the world around you.  Far too many simple things are overly complicated by faulty human intervention.  Complexity is valuable, but it certainly has its place. 

Have a great, and hopefully not overly complicated, day!

9 thoughts on “Keep it Simple

  1. Lady Leo

    Great subject yet again, thanks!
    I find many times if I’m over complicating something I really haven’t taken the time to think about it.
    A “knee jerk” reaction can give a murky start along with fear, anger or just plain too lazy to think it though.
    I guess it’s like any other change we want to see; it is possible if we start with the ourselves and are willing to do the work in our own lives.


  2. ceraluce

    Through clarity, transparency and simplicity Mr. Siegel is seeking to make the truth apparent. There is a balance there – in simplicity is the truth, but the nature and meaning of the truth can be lost if things are made either over simplified or over complicated.


  3. Mitch

    Great post on the power of uncomplicated expression. It seems an obvious thing to do, to approach from empathy and clarity and make things simpler and understandable in “plain English.” Layering complexities can be a way to diffuse and divert attention and accountability away from what is really at the heart of the issue. So if we are interested in being honest and constructive, simple is smart.


  4. Teryl

    Yes, thank you! It’s easy to get completely lost in the complexity, then the point is lost as well. Alot of time and energy spent when we can just keep it simple and get the job done.


  5. Foxglove

    That’s so true – if it is not simple, it’s probably not clear as you say. If you can’t describe something as simple as possible, it’s probably not clear in your own mind. If you won’t describe something as simple as you know you could, then there’s probably some hidden agenda.

    “How are we going to change the world? Make clarity, transparency and simplicity a national priority.” Great thought from Alan here – after considering this, I can only help but to make it a personal priority!


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