Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity

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Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, was written by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn. The book outlines the extensive experience of the two authors in helping organizations to simplify how they think, act and communicate so as to dramatically reduce wasted effort (on the part of both employees and customers), frustration, errors and risk. Although, the book does not refer to lean flow, much less process excellence, it is part of the body of thought, as exemplified by lean thinking, that seeks to improve by both reducing the possibility of error and waste (by making things easier to understand, more transparent) and to make any abnormal occurrences easier to spot because things and activities are greatly de-cluttered.

In particular, Simple points out how complex writing such as in banking documents or insurance agreements makes it almost impossible for educated people to grasp what it is they have bought or the risk they have taken on and in so doing increase systemic risk. Similarly, complex procedures, instructions and terminology creates and perpetuates silos of work that begs for errors to occur, such as in healthcare, factories or the operation of things like airplanes.

I encourage those engaged in process excellence-related work to read Simple and to consider how lean flow thinking is applicable not just to process per se but also to language, written materials, and our tools. Lean design is simple; simplicity is lean.

 



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