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7 Examples of Keep It Small

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Keep it small is a principle of design that states that large problems can only be efficiently solved by breaking them into small chunks. Although this is a design principle, it can be applied to any problem using design thinking. The following are illustrative examples.


Dematerialization is a long term trend whereby physical instances of technology such as memory, processors or consumer devices become smaller, lighter and less material-intensive over time.


Analysis is the process of breaking something into its component parts in order to understand it. This is perhaps the most common type of thinking used to solve business problems. For example, developing a list of requirements to achieve a goal such as automating a process.

Swarm Intelligence

Swarm intelligence is the collective behavior of independent agents. This is an approach for designing complex systems that is patterned after nature such as the behavior of a skool of fish in evading a predator.


Microservices is a type of software architecture that breaks systems into small, independently deployable services that are developed and operated by small teams. This is commonly deployed by the largest of IT firms to solve the largest of problems. Within the IT industry, solving hard problems with very large teams is considered old fashioned and high risk to the point of being near impossible.


The idea that innovation capital is best invested in very small firms that are likely to fail but as a group are likely to outperform large organizations in producing valuable new intellectual property, business models, technologies, brands, products and services.

Minimum Viable Product

An approach to innovation and business that stresses that it is important to quickly get products and services in the hands of customers before making them perfect. This may benefit from a feedback cycle whereby lead users show you where your product needs to go.

Fail Well

Fail well is the idea that it is better to fail quickly, safely, cheaply and often than to have a large project that fails spectacularly. For example, lightweight prototypes to validate product and service designs.
Overview: Keep It Small
A principle of design that states that large problems can only be efficiently solved by breaking them into small chunks.
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First Principles

This is the complete list of articles we have written about first principles.
Arrow Of Time
Art For Art's Sake
Keep It Small
KISS Principle
Ban The Average
Least Astonishment
Big Picture
Business As Usual
Worse Is Better
Complexity Hiding
Do No Harm
Fit For Purpose
Form Follows Function
Form Follows Nature
Genius Loci
Interchangeable Parts
Keep It Simple Stupid
Less Is A Bore
Less Is More
More Is Different
Path Of Least Resistance
Preserving Ambiguity
Think Global, Act Local
More ...
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