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John Maeda, at Rhode Island School of Design, focuses on imagining how design and technology can bring clarity to leadership in years of social media, where the CEO of a company becomes a moderator.  Maeda is a former professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has taught Media Arts and Sciences and served as Associate Director of Research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published five books including The Laws of Simplicity (2006).


Advertising today means utilizing the ideas of others, and providing a platform for the public to contribute.  Companies that will survive the bear economy will be those that learn to use the web as a platform to harness collective intelligence by getting users to add value.


When a company builds a simple system and leaves it to the public to add innovation, information shadows will tie together information or give meaning to spaces. Meaning does not need to be formalized.   It can be statistically extracted.


As everyday people get into the creation of products, companies will produce fewer services from scratch.  This means there is power in less.  Companies will license or take consumer techniques and apply them to the several industries in which they market, including government and healthcare.


Maeda once spoke on simplicity at Web 2.0 in San Francisco on April 1, 2009, by stating simplicity was about saving time, living to get dirty, not being afraid of danger, and being real.


Simplicity may be the new way to design and market products.  It has already taken over to make several aspects of life easier to live.  For example, the U.S. Postal Service invented the Forever stamp.  A person no longer needs to remember how much postage to put on a card or letter.  A person no longer needs to stand in line at the post office to buy new stamps or to buy more postage when the U.S. Postal Service increases its rates.


Many start-up companies are doing away with hierarchy to lead authoritatively by posting photos of each of their employees instead of just senior management on the staff pages of their websites.  This may mean each employee has a part in advertising the services or products of a company.  By letting each employee be creative, ideas will take off because of “Maybe,” not “Yes” or “No.”  Creativity is a symbol of inspiration.


Soon advertisements will not come from what is clear or right, but the ability to talk to anyone.  Ads will be more personal, and speak to people one-on-one.  Simplicity in marketing and design has made companies such as Apple flourish.  The iPod, for instance, is easy to use and clean gadgetry that speaks to the individual.

Simplicity by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes