We tend to fall in love with our first idea.

But just as our first love doesn’t always lead us to a lifelong partner, the first idea is seldom the ultimate solution in our innovation journey. With time pressing and deadlines looming, the desire for quick answers can be overwhelming. I often sense this eagerness to bypass the details and rush toward solutions working with innovation teams.

Another reason why we tend to fall in love with the first idea is our reluctance to delve deeper into complexity. Many challenges we face exist in a intricate web of threads- such as layers of processes, the interplay of human dynamics, lack of knowledge and the uncertainty we face in this fast changing environment. Yet, our instinct often drives us away from complexity, seeking the comfort of straightforward solutions. We want to believe that idea we just came up with is the solution, so that we don’t need to climb up this scary mountain of complexity.

Embracing complexity is the cornerstone of innovation.

The truth is that simplicity is born from complexity.
As we embark on the path of innovation, do not fear complexity but to plunge into its depths with optimism and humility. It’s completely normal you feel this way as depicted in the sketch below.

(c)The Simplicity Playbook for Innovators
Source: The Simplicity Playbook for Innovators (c)

Visualise complexity to dissect the fear

By visualising complex processes layer by layer, we can better understand them. We can also map out intricate human interactions, such as how people interact, uncover communications gaps in the information flow. We can even go deeper into visualising complex human minds by mapping out people’s behaviour and emotions to better understand what their functional and emotional jobs-to-be-done.

Keep calm and diverge

“Keep calm and diverge” – a mantra that came to my mind after running a project workshop with a client who was reluctant to diverge further assuming the team had already found a solution. It encapsulates the mindset we need to have in our innovation journey.

Source: The Simplicity Playbook for Innovators(c)

Design thinking consists of divergent and convergent modes. After each round of divergent and convergent mode (I’d call it ‘a diamond’), with each cycle revealing new discoveries. Relentlessly seek to obtain these ‘new discoveries’. These could pertain to be the ‘problem’ we want to solve, ‘user insights’ or ‘solution ideas’ we initially had in mind. It’s a delicate dance between nurturing the initial concept and remaining open to the new discoveries with humility and curiosity. Unfortunately there is no shortcut to simplicity; this process leads to breakthroughs.

The frustration of feeling trapped by complexity is normal, but remember to keep calm and embrace divergence in order to conquer complexity.

You’ll get there. 🚀

#EmbraceComplexity #KeepCalmAndDiverge #dancewithcomplexity #designthinking