In this case specifically, less sugar, more sweet.
The best news this week was that soon we will be able to indulge in sweets and feel less guilty. DouxMatok, a small Israeli startup based in Tel Aviv founded in 2014 by father and son duo Avraham and Eran Baniel, has invented a new way to use less sugar while keeping the taste the same.
It turns out that sugar is highly inefficient. Only 20% of it sticks to our sweet-taste buds with 80% disappearing into our digestive track. Baniels invented a way to add food-grade silica to sugar to act as the perfect vessel to carry more sugar to our taste buds directly. The result is sugar that is 40% more efficient than regular sugar.
Imagine changing desert recipes that call for 1 cup of sugar to almost 1/2 a cup in a few years. A truly “sweet” example of less is more, a quote attributed to the architect Mies Van Der Rohe.
Here is what we can learn from Less Is More, a paradox that is at the heart of many powerful ideas and innovations that we’re familiar with:
1. Have less of a good thing with more of the benefits.
Doux Matox is a great example (which stands for double sugar–Doux means sweet in French; Matox, in Hebrew) of how to achieve having less of a good thing with as much if not more benefits. But so is Uniqlo feather coats and thermal underwear, which generate more heat in the winter but are thinner than other winter garments. As a result, you stay warm without looking like a snowman.
Take a beloved, precious, luxurious but expensive or unhealthy ingredient and use less of it to more effect.
2. Create a small kit of parts with just as much richness.
How can you make a richer system with less parts? Imagine minimizing an office system from 300 pieces to 20 and still making almost an endless variety of different work settings. That is what I worked on with the Resolve System office furniture system for Herman Miller which as a result was 1/3 the weight of traditional office systems and those of its competitors. More recently, I worked on a similar problem with the Overlay Boundary System, helping to define space within the open office without cutting them off from others and the environment around them.
Reduce the parts to make a system richer.
3. Choose less stuff for more joy.
Marie Kondo asked us to dump our closets, bookcases, and pantry in the middle of the room and then hold each item in our hands and ask ourselves does it bring you joy? If it did you kept it. If it didn’t, you lost it. Similarly but in a different vein, Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger became an ambassador for less space, less stuff so that we can be freer to have more joy.
Does it bring you, or your user, joy? If not, drop it.
4. Create more clarity and focus by simplifying.
Boil the world’s best search engine to one white page with a simple logo and one interactive field where you type in your search. That’s Google. Few experiences exemplify the power of vastness meshed with simplicity.
Find simplicity in complexity.
5. Minimize breaks to strengthen the whole.
Space X engineers use friction stir welding to create large but light expanses of aluminum sheeting, something that wasn’t done before on a spaceship. Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please clothing don’t have seams–they’re woven three-dimensionally and then heat cut. They’re a feat of engineering and design, and a commercial success since the 1970’s.
Every time there’s a break, a seam, a connection, explore how you can delete it
Next time you need inspiration to think differently, think less is more.