Saturday, September 09, 2006

Simplification is essential, but dangerous

Situations are complex. They are often too complex for individuals to grasp. Whether we are examining the situation in the Middle East or the market for flash memory, it is incredibly convoluted. So management consultants, academics and journalists work hard to simplify the situation so that people can understand the issues. As a result, politicians, executives, and voters often think that the issues are simple. So we are caught in a "Catch 22." If we do not simplify, the issue is incomprehensible and often goes unadressed. If we do simplify, the problem can be tackled, but later it can come back to haunt us. Sometimes even the people who do the simplification become victims and start seeing it as easy.

While we may have to deal with a situation by simplifying it, we need to recognize that there is often much complexity which lies behind the issue.

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