Embrace Simplexity

Improvement Insights Blog

Embrace Simplexity

Yogi Berra is often quoted. When asked how he came up with these nuggets of wisdom, he replied: “I use simplexity.” What’s simplexity and how can we use it in quality improvement?

“Hi, I’m Jay Arthur, author of “Agile Process Innovation” as well as QI Macros [software].

“A friend of mine and I went to see the Yogi Berra movie and it was all about Yogi. He won like [10] World Series rings and… what a guy, right? But he was always known for ‘Yogi-isms,’ right? One of his Yogi-isms was: “If they don’t want to come out to the park, how are you going to stop them?” I always think about that with Quality: If they don’t want to use Quality Improvement, how are you going to stop them?

“When asked how he came up with these Yogi-isms he said, “Well, I use simplexity,” When he said it in this movie I thought, “I’ve never heard him say that before: simplexity.” Well, what is simplexity? It’s complexity reduced to the simple. Almost everybody, when they hear a Yogi-ism, they [think] “Oh I get it.” That’s simplexity.

“I believe in Quality Improvement we spent too much time making things complex and giving them deep, rich names like ‘Six Sigma,’ right? Oh my gosh. ‘Statistical process control,’ right? We’ve made it so that people just lose interest instantly, and I think that’s sad.

“So my question for you: How can we start to use simplexity in all of our communications about Quality Improvement so that everybody can [think,] “Oh, that doesn’t sound too hard. Let’s get into it.” Again, in in my book “Agile Process Innovation” I start to explain how we could hack Lean and Six Sigma to get results in a day or two. Not weeks, months, years and however long everybody else says it takes. Nope. No. Stop doing that. I’m again’ it.

“So that’s my Improvement Insight for this week: Embrace simplexity. Let’s create a hassle-free America; hassle-free healthcare. Let’s go out and improve something this week.”