The Simplicity Cycle: A Field Guide to Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse

Dan Ward

HarperBusiness,  May 2015

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The Simplicity Cycle is an engaging and accessible field guide that equips readers with practical tools to produce elegant, effective designs. It takes a deep but lighthearted look at the way complexity enhances or diminishes the things we make and use, from PowerPoint presentations and pizzas to spacecraft and software, and shows readers why simplicity is the key to innovation and good design -- whether you're creating new products, services, or consumer experiences.

The award-winning engineer, Air Force lieutenant colonel, and author of F.I.R.E offers a road map for designing winning new products, services, and business models, and shows how to avoid complexity-related pitfalls in the process. With a foreword by design guru Don Norman.

Humans make things every day, whether it's composing an e-mail, cooking a meal, or constructing the Mars Rover. While complexity is often necessary in the development process, unnecessary complexity adds complications. The Simplicity Cycle provides the secret to striking the proper balance. Dan Ward shines a light on how complexity affects the things we make for good or ill, taking us on a journey through the process of making things, with a particular focus on identifying and avoiding complexity-related pitfalls.

The standard development process involves increasing complexity to improve the outcome, Ward explains. The problem comes when the complexity starts getting in the way-but often we don't know where that point is until we pass it. He suggests a number of techniques for identifying the problem and fixing it, including how to overcome several types of wrongheaded thinking-such as the idea that complexity and quality are the same. In clear, compelling language, and using his trademark mix of examples from research, personal experience, and pop culture, Ward offers a universal concept, visually described with a single, evolving diagram.

Ideal for business leaders and technologists, The Simplicity Cycle is helpful for anyone looking to simplify and improve everything we do, whether we work in an office, at home, or at the Pentagon.

Hardcover | ISBN: 9780062301970 | Publication Date: May 2015

Reviews:

"If I could ask my clients to read one book before we work together, it would be The Simplicity Cycle by Dan Ward . . . it's simply brilliant."
-- Peter Morville, President of Semantic Studios

"In The Simplicity Cycle Dan Ward presents a straightforward graphical way of looking at design that is both easily grasped and profoundly enlightening."
-- Henry Petroski, author of To Forgive Design and The House with Sixteen Handmade Doors

"The Simplicity Cycle's combination of powerful tools and memorable case studies makes it an essential addition to any innovator's book shelf.
-- Scott Anthony, author of The Little Black Book of Innovation