Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Creativity of Simplicity?

During the past few weeks i have been presenting a new talk that includes what I call Unique Test Protocols.  In this talk, I outline 23 protocols that will not appear in the literature.  Following one presentation, a student made a comment about my creativity.  My response was first, I did not create all of the protocols I presented.  I was fortunate to work with some very creative people.  Besides, 23 protocols over a 39 year period is not much to brag about.

I really don't think it was as much being creative as it was engaging in problem solving.  It has been my experience that people that work hard at problem solving will appear to be creative.  So often it appears that when someone is looking for a creative way of doing something, they seem to make things so complicated that they don't achieve their objective. However, when someone is just trying to solve a problem, they tend to look at simplicity.  Usually it is the simple approach that appears more creative.  As an example, consider the Forrest Gump story I recently read.  yes, it is a joke but a joke with a lesson.

It seems that as Forrest was entering Heaven, St. Peter stopped him and informed him that Heaven was getting full and they were giving an entrance exam.  To get into Heaven, Forrest had to answer three questions.  First question:  "What two days of the week begin with 'T'?"  Forrest thought for a moment and then said, "Today and Tomorrow."  Not what St. Peter had expected, but he said OK.  Second question:  "How many seconds are there in a year?"  Forrest said that was tough but after a few minutes, he said "Twelve."  St. Peter said, "Forrest, how did you ever come up with the number 12?"  Forrest replied, "January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd, April . . ." OK said St. Peter, "I'll accept than."  Now the final question:  "What is God's first name?"  Forrest said, "That is the easiest, it is Andy."  "How do you know that?" said St. Peter.  Forrest replied that his mother told him in a song that went like, "Andy walked with me, Andy talked with me, Andy told me . . ."  "Stop," said St. Peter as he opened the gates and said "Run Forrest Run."  (Simplicity at its best.)

Just the other day, out of the blue, I received a phone call from an old friend (Bill Kuhl).  Bill recruited me in 1980 to take a position that I didn't really think I could handle.  To be effective, I was going to have a lot of problems to solve.  However, I took the job and survived.  Just thinking back I remember some of our creative approaches to organization and consumer research.  For example:

For years, I keep a sign above my desk that read K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid!)  It worked for me.

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