Where Science Meets Muse

Seek Simplicity in Creativity and Innovation

Posted by Plish on December 5, 2008


There is no doubt that in order to be creative we need to suspend judgement.  Children are great at it.  Innovators are as well. 

Think about Goofy and Pluto….

…Both dogs. 

One is anthropomorphized, the other is, well, a dog.    But children don’t look for reasons why one dog is literate and the other is, well, a dog.  They see the deeper reality, they see the relationships, they see the deeper truths being communicated through what many adults perceive as dogs separated by eons of evolution. They see things simply.

According to Leonardo da Vinci,

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

When trying to be creative, let go of the complicated and go for the simplicity.  Don’t look at the surface incongruencies in the relationships.  Look for the deeper meaning.  Look for the truths.  Look at the essence.

Plato said:

 “Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”

What are we striving for in our problem solving, in our designs?  Isn’t it beauty in style,  harmony and grace?

How often have you heard the words ‘style, harmony and grace’ used in context of solving a difficult problem, of innovation? Not as often as they should be. 

I once worked with an non-degreed engineer who would judge all his ideas through the lens of ‘style, harmony and grace’, through the lens of simplicity.  We would discuss if a design had that zen quality to it where we just knew it was right.  We didn’t stop brainstorming until it did.  But the hard work wasn’t the brainstorming, per se.   It was in ignoring the obvious while looking for the deeper simplicity that screamed to be discovered if only we got out of our own need to justify our creative endeavors.

 Children recognize it.  Walt Disney used it. 

Can we?


2 Responses to “Seek Simplicity in Creativity and Innovation”

  1. KyNam Doan said

    Very insightful post…and I have to add – I never even NOTICED that while both are dogs, one is literate and the other is just a dog. Blows my mind, wow. Perhaps this is a good sign for me, that I focus on just the deeper reality 🙂

  2. Plish said

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comments- your insights are truly welcome here!

    That is a good sign! Nurture that perspective!

    For the longest time I never thought about it either. Someone pointed it out to me once. When I dug deeper I began finding that there was a subset of people who noticed this and who ponder it. Some in fun, others with profound seriousness!

    It’s a testimony to Walt Disney that he gets people to “buy into” this animated worldview. Because he was creative and knew new human nature, he communicated truths on deeper levels extremely effectively. It’s really amazing and awe-inspiring!

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