Headline, February11, 2014



Harvard Business School's Professor William Sahlman warns young entrepreneurs about  ''the big eraser in the sky'' :

That can come down at any moment and   ''wipe out all their cleverness and effort''.

What then to make out of these two contrasting views of complexity? The first argument contains a kernel of truth. 

Massive computing power and fast Internet speeds make it easier to create networked, devolved organisations like Kiva and CrisisCommons.

But is easy to get carried away. The most striking development of the past couple of decades is how well monolithic companies have survived the tech storm.

The Internet is now dominated by a handful of giant problem-solvers like Google, with its mission to organise all the world's information.

The second view is more persuasive. It is striking how many of the world's most successful businesses thrive on simplicity of some sort.

German Mittelstand companies are doing well by focusing on narrow niches. Built-to-last companies, such as Coca-Cola, are master of distilling their corporate identity:

Into a simple formula which employees can internalise and customers can easily recognise. 

Macdonald's is a global success because its business model is so simple and replicable. Tim Brown, the boss of IDEO, argues that design companies like his are enjoying success by showing organisations:

How to  ''design complexity out''.

How about being Simplistic about simplicity. The pursuit of simplicity can be certainly taken too far if it is applied in a simple minded way. 

Focusing on simple targets can be counter-productive, for example, a police force told to improve their overall clear-up rates, ends up devouting too much time to minor offences.

And then applying the simplicity mantra to some kinds of businesses can be silly: there is no way that Boeing can Engineer the complexity out of producing its Dreamliner jet.

However, there are good reasons why sensible CEOs like Mr Goings think as they do. The biggest threat to business almost always comes from too much complexity rather than too much simplicity.

The conglomerates of the 1960s crumbled because they tried to manage too many businesses in too many different industries.

Enron imploded because the company abandoned old-fashioned command-and-control in favour of fashionable ideas about running energy as if they were financial organisations.

The banks were so bedazzled by complex mathematical formulae  -and so corrupted by greed-  that they lost sight of the simplest principles of banking.

Therefore, the old saying : ''Keep it simple, stupid'', is not a bad rule for management too,  simple-minded though it may sound.

Welcome to !WOW!  

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of . North Korea, Yemen, and Hungary. See Ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''Where Complexity Comes Naturally '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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