As John Maeda points out in his bestselling book The Laws of Simplicity, companies can unlock a tremendous amount of innovation by embracing the principles of simplicity. There are the obvious examples from Apple and Google, as well as numerous other examples from the likes of IKEA and Bang & Olufsen. Some of the most interesting examples, though, are only tangentially related to business. For example, the Japanese culinary tradition of omakase, in which master sushi chefs choose every element of the menu for guests (literally, “let the chef decide”), is a clever form of simplicity. The Laws of Simplicity is a deceptively breezy little book – Maeda intentionally limited the book to 100 pages in order to encourage as many people as possible to learn about the basic principles of simplicity. (Elsewhere in the book, Maeda laments the size of many instruction manuals for digital products that overwhelm the reader, so the size of the book is keeping with the theme of simplicity.)
Formerly at the MIT Media Lab, John Maeda is now at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. As a result, his thoughts and musings on simplicity have migrated from the popular Laws of Simplicity blog to a new RISD blog.