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Occam's Razor

Today we discuss simplicity in it's purest form, an analogy of finding solutions based on going back to the basic.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for tuning into our blog topic: Occam’s Razor. William of Occam, was an intriguing individual. He didn’t fit into the Church, because of his views (Fraticelli). He was excommunicated, and known for a heuristic device, Occam’s Razor. So, how does this term involve business?

Business is complicated, and can be extremely intricate. We have to account for culture, law, generational implications, and economic factors simultaneously. Additionally, as business owners, we must recognize our human behavior and capability limitations. A streamlined organization, a medium to large business, overcame barriers small businesses face daily. Medium to large organizations leverage experience from individuals seasoned in problem solving; furthermore, continue solving far more complex challenges enhancing their innate capabilities. Small businesses are entering into the realm of problem solving, and attempting to solve one simplistic question; which direction are we heading?

Occam’s Razor is typically leveraged in the fields of science, logic, medicine, and chemistry. The law of parsimony is also derived from the term Occam’s Razor (parsimony is advocating Occam’s Razor). Parsimony is, simplicity, and the investigation of simple explanations. For example, 24 hours in a day. Saint Thomas Aquinas stated, “If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several; for we observe that nature does not employ two instruments where one suffices.”

As business owners, we must acknowledge that Occam's Razor is not based on theory, but on quantifiable determination. Recall the blog post I wrote in December, Quality Management Systems (QMS), which encompasses streamlined processes (simplistic procedures). QMS is developed to dissect complex problems and create repeatable deliverables through systematic approach. Easily derailed is the mind of business owners, and simplicity is far from thought. Occam’s Razor may be leverage in taxonomy to produce phylogenetic trees, but I apply this frame of reference on a daily basis exploring the many outcomes choice produces. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” (Leonardo da Vinci).

When faced with challenges, I recognize two outcomes. One of which involves testable mechanisms, Occam's Razor, and one based on theory. The ideology of a theoretical outcome must account for experience and intuition. When I was a small business owner, attempting to solve challenges with no definitive trajectory created difficult situations. Looking back at the many solutions because of failure, I can attest that both outcomes proved beneficial depending on circumstance.


Courtney Schreiber, USN Veteran

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