One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity. - Bruce Lee
Aaron Levie wrote a great blog posts at Fast Company titled The Simplicity Thesis. He points to a Silicon Valley trend moving its way through the rest of the world: The radical simplification of everything.
The classic online example is the Google search screen. Minimal in its design, it offers a logo, a search box and two choices: Google Search and I’m Feeling Lucky.
When I first heard about Google in 1997 or so, I didn’t think much of the design. At the time, Google was competing against the search engines AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, and Yahoo! Among others. What mattered was the results. It worked and because it worked, I let other people know about Google.
The idea of offering the lowest level of complexity for the maximum amount of value is, according to Levie, driving the next great technology and business opportunity. He predicts that any market where unnecessary middlemen stand between customers and their successful use of a solution is about to be disrupted.
Examples in the consumer space include the photosharing app Instagram, the music-sharing app Spotify, and any number of deal-of-the-day websites.
But who is simplifying in the pharmaceutical industry?
What companies are building businesses or solutions around the idea of reducing choices and unnecessary steps, narrowing clutter while delivering maximum value?
Levie mentions startup SolveBio which leverages the infinite computing powers of Amazon to advance medical research. Our friends at Medikly have developed an educational tool that simplifies the creation of courses for healthcare professionals and the measurement of their progress after taking those classes.
Another healthcare example comes from iClickCare, an award-winning telemedicine app that let’s physicians collaborate on care using pictures and video on iPhones and iPads. Users take a picture of a case and send it to their colleague. The remote colleague gets an email that a consultation is waiting and when she has a chance, she can send an answer.
At One Eleven Software, we recently updated the SampleServer® interface to limit the number of choices. We also redefined the tool so that it fits seamlessly into a physician’s daily workflow.
The idea of simplicity isn’t new. At the recent American Telemedicine Association meeting, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said, “I got better and better at making things smaller and smaller and smaller… The number of chips it took for a design had to be the minimum. And it turns out that led me to some good life philosophies about trying to make everything the fewest steps possible.”
We’re looking for other companies that are hacking away at the unessential. If you know of any, let us know.