Keep it Simple Stupid

DriftwoodI am in the middle of a few hours working on the ‘Archetypes at Work’ manuscript. I have pushed the word count up to 18,000 words which is really encouraging.

I have just used a quote from Bartok:

“What is new and significant must always be connected with old roots, the truly vital roots that are chosen with great care from the ones that merely survive.”

In striving to produce something startlingly different which pushes into new territory we always need to help the process of communication by creating hooks for the audience. Bartok did it by pushing music into new soundscapes whilst drawing heavily on the folk and ethnic music of his homeland, Hungary. He and Zoltan Kodaly were active musicographers – generating a growing archive of the history of Magyar music. This simultaneous exploration of the historical context with the pushing out into new territory is key to charting new territory.

So, complexity for its own sake, working against the conventions just to be obtuse is counter-productive.

I read a book a few a few years ago by an academic from Warwick University, Gibson Burrell (now at Leicester). The book was called ‘Pandemonium’. It was about a post-modernist approach to organisation studies. In keeping with the subject it was laid out in an unusual format with the text working from front to back for the top half of the page, then from back to front for the bottom half. It was an imaginative approach which worked well. A departure from the norm – but there was a clear guide to get the reader through the book.

So, the point of this post is to remind me that if I experiment, I need to ensure that the communication is not lost because of the lack of cues or clues for the reader. In the words of the title, by all means explore complex issues and enjoy the journey – but remember the acronym KISS – keep it simple stupid!