With innovation, less can be more.

If your technology solution turns out to be more complicated than the actual problem you’re trying to solve then you’ve probably fallen into the “over-engineering” trap. The temptation to try to be all things to all people, or to cram in as much functionality as possible, can be the death of many technology-based projects.

In the world of innovation, interesting things happen if you train yourself to “think lean”. In the examples below, less is not only more – it’s the secret to success. Google¬†looked at rivals and stripped back their home page, leaving the one vital component – the search box. Blogger, originally a component of a much larger information management platform called Pyra, was spun out after it proved the most useful feature. And Twitter took one small part of Facebook – the status update – and revolutionised how many of us communicate online.

Search engines

From: Yahoo!’s “all things to all people”

To: Google’s simple search


From: Pyra’s holistic project management platform
(ValleySpeak screenshot indicative only)

To: Blogger’s simple publishing tool

Social media

From: Facebook’s rich timeline

To: Twitter’s simple status update

The lesson? Strip back your idea, get to the essence of what it is you’re trying to do, and drop the clutter. Focus is king.