Maeda’s Simplicity Design Workshop

John Maeda of MIT is leading an effort called the Simplicity Design Workshop. As quoted by Jessie Scanlon in the New York Times, Maeda says that “simplicity is an endangered quality in the digital world, and it is time to break free from technology’s intimidating complexity.”

Along with several other designers, Maeda has formulated a list of the fundamental tenets of using simplicity as a way to design technological solutions:

1) Heed cultural patterns

2) Be transparent

3) Edit

4) Prototype

What I find stunning about these design principles is that they apply equally well to the domain of designing business models and venture structures appropriate to the realities of the 21st century. We need ventures that are willing to live in symbiosis with the cultures that surround them. We need ventures that are willing to be honest and transparent in the financial dealings — more of the old HP Way and less Enron kniving. We need ventures that edit what the scope of what they do, so that what they do end up taking on is rich with meaning; we’ve got too much generic, me-too crap in the world today. Finally, we need ventures that are willing to prototype their way to a better and ever-evolving state of being.