The Business of Simplicity

June 7th, 2012

This week on Business Matters, our topic is simplicity. Simplicity is a notion that we speak about, like we know what it is. Yet, if you stop people in the street and ask them,  “What is simplicity?”, they will generally say something like, “Well… it’s  uhhh  simple.. It’s something you know what it is when you feel it.” Yet creating something that’s simple is hard. Kind of a paradox isn’t it.

First, we talk about the value of simplicity in a business context with someone  known for cutting through complexity to find the underlying simplicity.  He has talked to over 1/2 million people  in his survey, In search of a Simpler Way.  In our conversation, we glean the secrets and challenges of bringing simplicity into a corporate world.

The success of Apple computer has brought simple products into the awareness of millions of consumers and businesses.We talk with someone who worked directly with Steve Jobs. His new book, Insanely Simple, give us a glimpse into how challenging simplicity is, even when you are so good at it and why its so hard for others to emulate.

At the end of the program, we talk about voluntary simplicity. What you ask is voluntary simplicity? It’s choosing to live more simply because its good for you, rather than a required response due to a crisis. Voluntary simplicity started as an oddball idea 30 years ago and now is moving to the mainstream.

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Today’s Guests

Bill Jensen

Bill is an internationally acclaimed bestselling author and speaker who is known for extremely useful content, and his passion for working smarter, not harder.

In 1992 Bill launched an ongoing study, The Search for a Simpler Way, and has interviewed and surveyed over 500,000 people around the world about what really matters and how they get everything done. That research has supported all of his books.  Bill Jensen is a passionate simpleton and an outspoken gadfly against corporate stupidity that wastes people’s time, attention and dreams.

He’s President/CEO of the Jensen Group, a change consulting firm he founded in 1985 travels the world as an inspiring speaker and practical workshop instructor.

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Ken Segall

Ken Segall served as Apple’s agency creative director under Steve Jobs from the NeXT years on. He is an engaging writer, consultant, sometime humorist and keen observer of what’s simple and not. Now he’s written a book, called Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success, which gives us clear insight into how Apple turned Simplicity into the most valuable company in the world.


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Duane Elgin

Duane Elgin is a social visionary who looks beneath the surface turbulence of our times to explore the deeper trends that are transforming our world.  In 2006, Duane received the Japanese “Goi International Peace Award” in recognition of his contribution to a global “vision, consciousness, and lifestyle” that fosters a “more sustainable and spiritual culture.”

His books include: THE LIVING UNIVERSE: Where Are We?  Who Are We? Where Are We Going? (2009); VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: Toward a Way of Life that is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich (three editions: 2010, 1993, and 1981);PROMISE AHEAD: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity’s Future (2000); andAWAKENING EARTH: Exploring the Evolution of Human Culture and Consciousness (1993).  With Joseph Campbell and other scholars he co-authored the book CHANGING IMAGES OF MAN (1982).

Over the past twenty twenty-five years, Duane has co-founded three non-partisan and non-profit organizations concerned with media accountability and empowered citizens.

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