The Simplicity Cycle

  • We all make things every day, whether composing a PowerPoint deck, defining a business process, writing code, or constructing the Mars Rover. In every case, a certain degree of complexity adds valuable richness and depth. However, too much complexity results in a fragile, unsatisfying final product. So how can we tell when we’ve crossed over from just enough complexity to too much? That’s where this course comes in.

    In this story-filled session, Dan Ward shines a light on how complexity affects the things we make, for good or ill. He leads the class on a journey through the process of making things, introducing practical tools that help participants produce elegant, effective designs in a variety of applications.

    The Simplicity Cycle framework introduced in this course helps participants make good decisions about complexity in the things we design, make, and use.

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    You’ll learn how to use the Simplicity Cycle to:

    • Assess the value of a design change.
    • Make better strategic design decisions.
    • Identify and avoid complexity-related pitfalls.
    • Improve communications with stakeholders & partners.

    The course will cover

    • Additive design methods, which improve a design by increasing complexity
    • Reductive design methods, which improve a design by reducing complexity
    • The four phases of a design project and which types of design tools are most suited for each phase.
    • Why simplicity is important but goodness is more important
    • How to apply the Simplicity Cycle to processes, products, organizations, and communications products
    • Nine Simplicity Cycle archetypes and patterns of behavior

    This session can be customized for organization-specific applications and extended to a full-day workshop. It can also be combined with Dan’s Rapid Innovation course.