choking in complexity…

“We are choking ourselves in a web of complexity. Our financial system is so complex it can’t be regulated. The health care plan is so complex no one understands it. Our politics is so complex it’s become a complete mess” says TED talks curator Chris Anderson.

Arianna Huffington has a post on her hugely popular blog today regarding the most recent TED talks called: “Can simplicity and innovation overcome complexity and cynicism” :

In his opening remarks, TED curator Chris Anderson met the zeitgeist head on, talking about his rage at the fact that every idea about how to deal with our big problems is crushed on a wall of cynicism and complexity.

Maybe he hasn’t tried to read the latest info on fisheries management… speaking of choking, or drowning.

One of the speakers speaking today on “Simplicity” at the TED conference in California is chemist George Whitesides. One of Whitesides previous talks at a TED conference is called “a lab the size of a postage stamp“. It’s a fascinating principle that he discusses – simplifying some disease/ailment diagnosis onto a tiny piece of paper. Think of, for example, pregnancy tests or the little strips of paper that pregnant women pee on to, to identify proteins, sugars, etc.

As Whitesides suggests you need two things to treat a disease:

  1. know what you’re treating – diagnostics
  2. then do something – action – at the smallest possible cost.

The most important factor, suggests Whitesides, is lowering costs – what is the cheapest possible diagnostic?

For Whitesides – it’s a simple piece of paper.

I love the finish to the talk:

What is simplicity?

It’s so simple, it’s impossible to f**k it up?

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