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Layout 1Matthew E. May is the author of In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing and the ChangeThis manifesto called Creative Elegance. He spent nearly a decade as a close adviser to Toyota and works with creative teams and senior leaders at a number of top Fortune companies.

1. Question: How do you define elegance?

Answer: Something is elegant if it is two things at once: unusually simple and surprisingly powerful. One without the other leaves you short of elegant. And sometimes the “unusual simplicity” isn’t about what’s there, it’s about what isn’t. At first glance, elegant things seem to be missing something.

2. Question: Why is elegance so important?

Answer: Elegance cuts through the noise, captures our attention, and engages us. The point of elegance is to achieve the maximum impact with the minimum input. It’s a thoughtful, artful subtractive process focused on doing more and better with less. That’s especially important during this economic crisis when everyone is trying to move forward while consuming fewer resources. (more…)

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I am trying to find mission and vision statements for a project that I involved in. I just realized that mission-vision statement helps managers to pass the elevator test — the ability to explain the project to someone within two minutes. A good framework from Geoffrey Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm can help you to position your company or product. It follows the form:

For (target customer)
Who (statement of the need or opportunity)
The (product name) is a (product category)
That (key benefit, compelling reason to buy)
Unlike (primary competitive edge)
Our product (statement of primary differentiation)

Once you fill this form out, it will be easier for you to find your vision-mission statements.

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