It’s not just good taste; it’s a standard to pursue. Using elegant to describe the merely beautiful is, in itself, inelegant. More than good looks, elegance offers a solution. It is refined, dignified, graceful, excellent, concise, and simple (look it up). The word has been co-opted by design professionals … I say we take it back for business. Seek elegant solutions; here are some pathway markers:
- Adornment: Ok, sure. There are valid reasons why we might adorn something to make it appealing. But the point of elegance is intrinsic excellence through relentless refinement. It is not about a new look or story.
- Distractions: Take a page from the minimalists. Acquire only what you value and be certain you get that value. Do only what is effective and be certain the effect is authentic. Otherwise you are just accumulating distractions. Stay focused. Keep a loose grip.
- Math: It’s the language of business and it’s elegant. Mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas (Einstein, he would know). Math calls the iterative process successive approximations (for example, the Picard Method but not that Picard). It leads from estimate to accuracy by converging on the solution. If elegant solutions are refined, concise, and excellent … math will reveal them.
- Intentions: You won’t wander into an elegant solution; you must be intentional. Questions will confirm your intention – answers will test your honesty. At least try these: Why are we doing this? Do we need this? Can we sustain this? Press successive approximation into action.
You may be well down the elegant pathway, Higher Ed. But don’t let dignity and tradition be just accumulated distractions. Find your intention … focus in, do the math. Act on successive approximations until you have the elegant solution … even if it just isn’t done that way. A little risky, I know.