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Simplicity – reducing complex ideas into simple messages – is one of the keys to successful innovation.

Simplicity is one of the keys to successful innovation. But simplicity is not the same as having simple ideas. Rather, it’s about taking sophisticated ideas and design and being able to reduce them down to a simple explanation. It’s about reducing the complex into something that is easy to understand. It’s about resisting the temptation of being clever and instead, focusing on creating a message that will resonate with the masses.

But simplicity, like successful innovation, is hard to achieve. Taking an idea and making it overly complex is easy. Taking that same idea and being able to simplify and explain it in less than ten seconds is the real challenge. The market doesn’t reward you for complexity. The market rewards only those ideas that are easy to understand because those are what capture the hearts (and wallets) of your buyers.

Perhaps Peter Drucker said it best when he cited simplicity as one of the key principles of innovation:

“An innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and it has to be focused. It should do only one thing, otherwise it confuses. If it is not simple, it won’t work. Everything new runs into trouble; if complicated, it cannot be repaired or fixed. All effective innovations are breathtakingly simple. Indeed, the greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say: ‘This is obvious. Why didn’t I think of it?'”

Even the innovation that creates new uses and new markets should be directed toward a specific, clear, designed application. It should be focused on a specific need that it satisfies, on a specific end result that it produces.

Here’s the takeaway: Simplicity – reducing complex ideas into simple messages – is one of the keys to successful innovation.

Listen to this podcast to find out what roles curiosity and humility play in innovation.