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Less is more: when simplicity earns a premium!




In an interview from Business week in 1998, Steve jobs said:

“That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains” Indeed, simplicity earned a premium the past years. Did you know that 64% of customers are willing to pay more for simpler experience? And this trend will be even amplified by the shifting behaviors of GenZ and millennials.


“Less is more”, the new mantra of millennials and GenZ?

For Millennials, simplicity also means owning less. We noticed in a JLL survey about the future of retail that 70% of GenZ and millennials are willing to rent rather than to buy products in the traditional way. We can link these behaviors to the emergence of the functionality economy, which could be described simply as “sell usage, not products”.

We could say that environmental footprint is the main reason for this behavioral shift to this functionality economy, but it’s not the only one and simplicity is also a huge motivation. If you decide to buy a car, you’ll have first to save a large amount of money to buy it, then register it, insure it, maintain it, repair it and finally to resell it a few years later at a fraction of the initial price. Many millennials find it a bit grotesque and would prefer to pay for the usage of a car (per km, per day or even per hour) rather than investing time and money purely for ownership. Overall cost is less of an issue, for them, the true value lies in reducing complexity.


The simple experiences I personally enjoy


Personally, I really love companies that focus on designing experiences that will make my life simpler! It enables me to save time and replace pain with pleasant experiences. For example, I used to hate booking medical appointments, not because of any fear, but just for the reason that I could easily lose one hour of my life to do so. Now, with Doctolib, I can use geolocation and see immediately practitioners around me, and even book a slot on their real-time updated agenda in an instant. The same kind of friction-less experience enables me to book holidays (Airbnb) or a haircut (Planity), to choose my itinerary (Waze), to store safely at the same place all my passwords (1password), or to summarize business books in 20 min audios (Koober)…

Airbnb, well known for its very simple homepage & interface

The design of both user interfaces and products is becoming more clean, for example, the dozens of buttons in our cars are being replaced by the single touchscreen of the latest Tesla models.

How do we practice “Less is more” at Lyreco Innovation?

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said « Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away »

At Lyreco Innovation, we put a huge focus on being simple and removing the unnecessary. A few examples:

  • We have a simple roadmap Following our company project GREAT26, we worked on our innovation strategy and priorities for 2021. We know what we have to do, we focus only on that, and it makes our days simpler.

  • We have a written culture It forces us to describe concepts, tasks, priorities with simple words that could be understood by anyone. We also remove as many acronyms as possible from our documents, they represent for us “fake” simplicity.

  • We have decision meetings We don’t like losing time in endless meetings. So, we have a clear modus operandi, and we have to take decisions in every team meeting.

  • We use only a few tools…

  1. Microsoft Teams for all our team communication and file storage (never WhatsApp that we keep for personal interactions)

  2. Mural for workshops.

  3. Airtable for all collaborative databases. We decided to switch even our project management to Airtable (it was on Trello until now) in order to streamline our set of tools.

  4. Canva for everything linked to design

  • …and we like no code / low code tools. As we like to test quickly, we like to prototype ourselves. No code/low code has been an emerging trend for a few years, and it’s now possible to set up an application without any coding knowledge. No code tools like bubble.io are allowing people to build any application with only a few drag and drops and super basic algorithm skills (if, then, else).


We used a tool even simpler to build ourfutureworks.com, our innovation platform. Everything was designed with Wix. Wix is a platform allowing you to create mobile responsive websites in HTML5 without any coding skills! Wix reported a revenue of 1-billion-euro last year. Using it is very cheap and you can start from existing templates to build your website (even a merchant website) in a few hours.

www.ourfutureworks.com, built only with no-code tools

We didn’t have any training on the platform, and in case of more specific requests all the resources are available online. We were able to build our platform from idea to launch in a few weeks, dedicating only a few hours per week, and with a spending of around 30 euros per month only. We liked the result, but we liked even more the painless journey to build the website. This kind of simple platform opens incredible opportunities for anyone willing to not only prototype, but also to run a project. When we see the success of brands that have focused on simplicity, removing the complexity and the unnecessary should become a priority for every business in the coming years.

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