Distill To The Root
In math, we constantly try to “reduce”. It’s one of the best ways to simply the problem to a point where it can be re-used or solved. While studying electrical engineering, I learned to do the same thing with K-Maps but these concepts are not limited to nerdy numbers. They can be applied in a variety of ways to life and even business.
Reducing problems doesn’t just transform a previous complex thing into a less complex thing, it allows us to examine a problem in an easier paradigm that leads to better understanding and innovation in places we previously would not have not been able to look.
When we simplify a problem we are also able to more easily find the trail that inevitably leads to its root. This is one of the most important concepts that Toyota used to become a world leader in quality; lean methodology.
This doesn’t mean to ignore complexity, this just means to recognize that complexity is just representative of many very simple things coming together to cause complexity. When you have a problem, it’s typical because there is a one or many small things that have issues in a larger system. As they say
“don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”
One should not throw away the whole system because of a few broken spots unless it’s more than just a few. Distill complexities down to a series of simple problems and then identify the problem pieces, fix that and then allow the system to get up and run again.
In other words, keep it simple stupid.