In Search of Elegant Solutions

15 08 2008

I’ve been posting with less frequency lately. All the while VERY busy trying to find elegant solutions to complex problems. It’s something every engineer or programmer is used to. Engineers aren’t lazy, they’re just looking for simple, elegant solutions to complex problems. (OK, maybe a little lazy. Your quality, typical engineer hates wasting time on an inefficient solution.)

Yet elegant solutions aren’t always easy to find, unless you’re doing the hard work on the ground floor where ideas and creativity can pop out of anyone and anywhere. Which to some extent is why I think the book called The Elegant Solution by Matt May exists: because Toyota recognizes and leverages this to create the biggest and best car company on the planet.

The definition of an Elegant Solution as posed in The Elegant Solution’s ChangeThis Manifesto:

An elegant solution is one in which the optimal outcome is achieved with the minimal expenditure of effort and expense.

It’s also whittling down a problem to the essence of the problem. It’s also finding and solving the root cause of a problem, and really sort of ignoring everything else. And sometimes it’s a process and time consuming (a topic for later) to find that elegant, lazy solution to a problem of any size. But it’s honestly that process that is always the most fun and most rewarding.

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