Jun 3, 2010

complexity inside, simplicity outside

When we are designing systems, there are always the balance between complexity (functionality) and simplicity (integration and management). A good software application (such as google map, amazon.com, linkedin.com, adobe pdf reader, Microsoft Excel, etc.) always appears to be simple in interface (human to machine or machine to machine, or even human to human) but rich in functionality/content under the hood.

We can almost extend this paradigm to people and organizations. The great minds, (such as Einstein, Mendleyev, Newton, Darwin, etc.) and the great organizations, (such as the old U.S. government, GE, Mackinsey, Disney, old HP, etc.) have very simple principles (their interfaces to the world) even though they have very deep and complex knowledge, experience, organization and processes to support such “simple” and “elegant” images.