Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: complexifiers and simplifers

  1. #1
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    2,642
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 94 Times in 77 Posts

    complexifiers and simplifers

    While reading LifeHacker this morning I came across a blog article about simplifiers and complexifiers

    I would like to be a simplifier (just look at the name of my company) - I'd like to be able to reduce complex things to simple ideas, and take pleasure in finding the simplest and most elegant solution to problems (even though it may require the most work).

    One of the questions that can be asked though is, do we need "complexifiers"?

    It may be that that the pairing of the two will result in the best solution. A complexifier can create grand and elaborate ideas, which the simplifier then takes and forms into elegant solutions. It could even work the other way around, when a simple idea needs to the complexified to create the best solution.

    What do you think?
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

  2. #2
    Email problem Chris B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, KZN
    Posts
    78
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I must say that I agree...

    I found that to simplify something is good when you deal with a broad based structure, i.e. procedures and documentation in a company. The only problem is that simplicity doesn't solve complex problems or scenarios that seem to surprise as every now and agian...

    I have a saying in Afrikaans that I live by: " Voorsorg is die oplossing vir nasorg. "

    Simplicity makes things run smoothly when all is hunky dory, but when the paw-paw hits the fan, it is preparing with complexity that will simplify the reaction and best outcome of a problem.

    So just like the mythical Jeng & Jang (I hope I got this spelling right) symbol, I second the thought of both providing better results.

    Any thoughts on this?


    Carpe diem, all the way!

  3. #3
    Administrator I Robot's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    783
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by dsd
    One of the questions that can be asked though is, do we need "complexifiers"?
    Damn right we do. They're normally called customers

  4. #4
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    2,642
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 94 Times in 77 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris B
    Simplicity makes things run smoothly when all is hunky dory, but when the paw-paw hits the fan, it is preparing with complexity that will simplify the reaction and best outcome of a problem.
    I suppose it really depends a bit on what your definition of complexity and simplicity is.

    A couple of things that simplicity is not,

    • Simplicity is not simple
    • Simplicity is not the easiest solution to a problem (in many cases the most complex solution is the most obvious)
    • Simplicity does not gloss over the details


    I would say that you may possibly be grouping simplicity with simpleness, and complexity with completeness.

    To me simplicity does not exclude complexity, but, if complexity is needed simplicity does tend to encapsulate it.

    Let's use the example of a computer - a very complex device, with a relatively simple interface (considering the underlying complexity). At the base we have a bunch of switches (transistors) which are either in an on or an off state (1's and 0's). On top of that the internal commands of a CPU which manipulate those switches. Then raw commands from system which tell the CPU what to do etc. until you get to the operating system which (theoretically) provides an easy to use interface to millions of tiny switches.

    Maybe not the best example, but it illustrates the point.
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    There is something so sweet about elegant solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of what we see nowadays is the "brute force" solution.

    I'd like to suggest it is critical that regardless of the level of complexity, the simple objective must remain clearly apparent. And that is where a lot is going wrong nowadays. Life/legislation/meaning is becoming so complex the simple objectives are being lost.

    I've exerienced a cycle in this. I start with simple objectives and launch a simple action plan. Gradually the plan accumulates complexity. Periodically, I make an effort to return the plan to simplicity.

    It takes effort to produce order out of chaos. It only takes neglect to reduce order to chaos.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. #6
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    2,642
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 94 Times in 77 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Alcock
    It takes effort to produce order out of chaos. It only takes neglect to reduce order to chaos.
    I like that - a great thought.

    Wanted to add to your reputation, but was told that I had to "spread some reputation around, before adding to yours again"
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

  7. #7
    Email problem Chris B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, KZN
    Posts
    78
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Um, Ya bru...

    Well dsd,

    Let me just put on my blue-teeth on my cell phone so I can smsing my files to my CPU, that is if I can find the files. They must be really tiny to fit into this small phone...

    I'm not that advanced on my Russian yet, still taking classes.

    If you talk cars and motors then I might be able to understand you better but I do see your point.

    I must say that my thoughts were in a similar line, that is if I understood you correctly.

    Where are you going with this thought though?

    Carpe diem, all the way!

  8. #8
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Cape Town
    Posts
    2,642
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 94 Times in 77 Posts
    Hey Chris,

    To make the same analogy with cars, you could start with the pistons and the timing of the engine. For a fuel injected car this is quite complex and engineers spend years working on getting more efficiency out of engines by playing with all the variables.

    There are a whole lot of layers of complexity of a car that make it work (such as engine management, ABS, EBD, cooling etc), but the interface to a complex device is actually quite simple - 1 steering wheel, three pedals and a gear lever (unless you have a BMW and have to figure out how the dashboard computer works )

    In a lot of ways a car is a very complex device to achieve the simple solution of moving from A to B. The complexity of vehicle is hidden by a relatively simple interface.

    I'm not necessarily going anywhere with the thought - just juggling it, poking at and talking about it to see what comes out of it
    [SIGPIC]Engineer Simplicity[/SIGPIC]
    Turn ideas into products | The Art of Engineering blog

  9. #9
    Email problem Chris B's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, KZN
    Posts
    78
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Duncan.

    Well if you put it that way I can say with confidence that I tried to bring the same point across with my original thread reply.

    Basically the crux is that in order to 'achieve' simplicity's full 'potential', the hard miles must be run by 'tackling complexity'.
    Guess its this order of things that make the world go round.

    Meaning that if there weren't any individuals who were willing to complicate for the sake of simplicity, the wheel would not have been invented and the economy would be a whole different ball game...



    Just an observation I've made from time to time: " The lazy person is most likely to come up with the simplest solution to a problem, purely because he/she is to lazy for the complexity of the matter... "

    I honestly have personally seen some of my laziest staff come up with the most brilliant solutions purely because they were more willing to mentally think of simplicity than to physically tackle a hard task at hand (complexity). It's like using a tractor instead of a wheel barrow, or Windows instead of Dos..
    Again, the reason the wheel was invented, ...

    Yes, or No?
    Carpe diem, all the way!

  10. #10
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,979
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    I like the car analogy.

    Now imagine, for a moment, all you can and ever have seen is the engine compartment....
    You're not even aware that the rest of the car exists.....

    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •