The Dalai Lama once said that simplicity is the key to happiness in the modern world. This timeless philosophy is as true in today’s hyper-digital world as it would have been centuries ago.
A case in point is an incident that took place in Greece recently during lunch with a few colleagues, at a simple but excellent taverna facing a bay with boats anchored just a few meters away, we noticed a new boat had come to the bay and it had a fairly prominent flag with a turquoise background, some white stripes and a small multi-color circular design in the center. One of us innocently wondered about the country of the flag and that set rolling a wild goose chase. We started playing the guessing game, first out of memory but very soon we forgot about the high-quality fresh seafood we were eating and started testing our internet search abilities and buried ourselves head-down on our smart phones. Seeing our misery, a friend (not a colleague and not from the corporate world) got up, walked the 10 meters to the boat and just asked the owner of the boat about the flag. It was not any country’s flag, but a German provincial flag and we could have been searching for a very long time had the friend not taken the simplest, most efficient route to arrive at the end result, aka, the correct answer.
What happened during that lunch is unfortunately very common these days in the digitally savvy corporate world. All the digital tools and information readily available at our fingertips may be liberating on one hand, it also may get us too inward focused and get into an ‘invented here’ syndrome. This is especially true for organizations with widespread geographical footprints for whom critical success factors are similar everywhere, be it for business in Madagascar or in the US. And despite these uniform needs, there is tremendous duplication by individual organizational entities who end up creating their own processes, systems, tools and practices in silo every time there is a challenge or an opportunity. In today’s scenario, this translates into millions of hours and dollars towards developing digital and software tools that are predominantly serving similar needs in different parts of the world.
A simple call to some other geo colleagues may possibly save the time, effort, and money to create many of these silo-ed solutions and the de-duplicating effort that follows!
So, yes, let us all use the available digital capabilities but let us remember that these are always supposed to be a means to an outcome. If the same outcome could be achieved in a much simpler and faster manner, why use a road-roller to crush a peanut.