THE CHALLENGE OF KEEPING IT SIMPLE

When Mark Dwight founded Rickshaw Bagworks in San Francisco, he wanted to sell customizable bags for people and companies.  He also wanted to offer very low minimum order requirements with fast delivery.  His strategy required design decisions that have since infused all aspects of his business.  He kept everything as super simple as possible.  As powerful of a strategy as this has been, Dwight affirms that while achieving simplicity is one thing, maintaining that simplicity might be something else entirely (Mark Dwight “Simple Designs for Complex Times” Inc., June 2014, p. 60):

I’ve found that maintaining simplicity is deceptively difficult.  . . . Organizations, especially big ones, . . . over time . . . create layers of complexity, and this creates opportunities for smaller, simpler, nimbler competitors.  At Rickshaw, it’s OK to brainstorm wildly complex ideas.  But at the end of the day, we say, ‘How can we simplify this and make it work under our set of constraints?’

I agree with the idea of maintaining the proven simplicity.  What I appreciate even more is that the company remains free to brainstorm and explore new methods, strategies, and approaches.  This means that it never assumes things are perfect.  It also means that once the company identifies a new idea, it also looks for ways to simplify it while still maintaining the kernel of the idea.





About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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