Steps to Improve Simplicity in Business

Ron McIntyre
3 min readFeb 23


Simplicity of Life

Simplicity is undervalued in a world where complexity is often equated with intelligence and sophistication. Complexity is the diamond of our society. It sits and shimmers, glistens, and diverts people from desiring clarity.

Often this is unintentional because no one sat down and figured out how to simplify the product or service. Other times, it is intentional because the producer wants to hide imperfections, flaws, and poor performance.

However, the truth is that simplicity is anything but simple. Achieving simplicity requires a great deal of effort, thought, and planning. This article will explore why simplicity is so complex and the steps to improve it.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler “ — Albert Einstein

Why is simplicity so complex?

  1. Complexity is the default.

Our world is inherently complex, and complexity is often the default setting. Often we feel that something only has value when it is complicated, but the reality is that simplicity can be priceless. Adding complexity to a system is easy, but removing it takes effort and discipline.

2. Different perspectives.

What seems simple to one person may seem complex to another. Different perspectives, experiences, and knowledge levels can affect how people perceive simplicity. This is often a combination of culture and choice, so both must be considered when looking for a root cause of complexity.

3. Balancing competing priorities.

Simplicity often competes with other priorities, such as functionality, performance, perceived visual beauty, and scalability. Striking the right balance between these priorities can be challenging.

Steps to make simplicity better:

  1. Start with the user.

Simplicity is not just about reducing complexity; it is about providing a better experience for the user. To achieve simplicity, start by understanding the user’s needs and preferences. What do they value, and how can you provide a product or service that exceeds that perception of value?

Conduct user research, gather feedback, and use this information to inform your design decisions. It always starts with listening and responding. There are many great ideas in the market today that someone thought were the next best seller, yet they failed to make it when offered. Why? Did they not do their research well enough?

2. Focus on the essentials.

Identify the essential features and functionality of your product or service. Cut out anything that is not necessary or does not add value. This will help to reduce complexity and make the user experience more streamlined.

3. Prioritize clarity.

Clarity is essential for simplicity. Always use clear, concise language, and avoid unnecessary jargon, acronyms, or technical terms. Ensure that instructions are easy to follow, use illustrations and photos instead of words, and that users know what to expect.

4. Design for simplicity.

Simplicity should be a core principle of your design process. Use simple, clean, and uncluttered designs. Avoid unnecessary visual elements or complexity in your layouts. Ensure the user can easily navigate and interact with your product or service.

This focus on design for simplicity should start with the design of the product or service through the production, marketing, selling, customer service, and resales of new iterations to existing customers.

5. Test and iterate.

Simplicity is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that requires continuous testing and iteration. Test your product or service with real users, gather feedback, and use this to inform your design decisions. Iterate and refine your design until you achieve the right balance between simplicity and functionality. Always keep your team focused on your products and services life cycle and new extension opportunities.

In reality, simplicity is anything but simple.

Achieving simplicity requires a great deal of effort, thought, and planning. By starting with the user, focusing on the essentials, prioritizing clarity, designing for simplicity, and testing and iterating, you can make simplicity a core principle of your design process. Ultimately, simplicity can help to create better user experiences, improve performance, and drive business success.



Ron McIntyre

Ron McIntyre is a Leadership Anthropologist, Author, and Consultant, who, in semi-retirement, is looking to help people who really want to make a difference.