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  • Jennifer Bishop

Eat Complexity For Your Clients

I travelled to Portugal this week for a friend’s birthday.


Here is a summary of my research to understand what I need to prepare for travel:


  1. www.visitportugal.com says that with a vaccine passport you do not need any Covid19 tests before entering Portugal from the UK

  2. www.gov.uk says travellers from the UK with a vaccine passport MUST take a Covid19 test before entering Portugal.

Hmmm confused.

  1. Specifically a rapid antigen test - however this cannot be from a free walk-in test centre. Preferably it’s a test done at home.

  2. I have rapid antigen tests at home but how do I register them as proof for travel? It’s not clear what I must do.

  3. I ask #1 friend who is currently abroad in Portugal and she tells me I need the NHS app on my phone to show evidence of my vaccines. I set this up. Success.

  4. She also tells me I do NOT need a Covd19 test to enter Portugal.

Hmmmmm confused


  1. I ask #2 friend who is currently travelling around Europe asked what they did and they suggested going to a pharmacy to get a rapid antigen test. However, I'm still not clear how this is better than doing a home test.

  2. Go to my local pharmacy and explain I’m travelling abroad and need a Covid19 test to enter Portugal. Assistant tells me I need to go to the walk-in test centre and get a test there.


Hmmm - This doesn't sound right.


  1. I then went to a walk-in clinic and took a PCR test. Results will be emailed to me in one day. The day I fly. Fine - at least I have evidence or the airline.

  2. Get results of test quickly. I’m clear of any symptoms. Still confused about how to register these results on the NHS app.

  3. #3 friend who has travelled recently tells me a test from a walk-in test centre is not valid and I need a paid test with a certification to take to the airport or I won't be able to board the plane. Ah now I get it.

  4. Check with #4 friend who visited Portugal recently and he tells me he went to Boots Pharmacy the results came back next day. I don’t have 2 days left to fly. I need a same day test.

  5. Check with #5 friend who tells me I need 3 tests in total. Day 2 test, Fit to fly test and return test. He directs me to the gov.uk instructions which is a 27 page PDF of EU fine print of approved Covid19 tests.


Hmmmm very confused now.


  1. Check with #6 friend who tells me she went to travel doctor who gave her same day test and certificate to fly. This is helpful.

  2. Find ‘Fit to Fly’ test at pharmacy and book same day test en route to airport.

  3. Arrive at pharmacy and take test. They tell me the results will be returned by midnight. When I tell them I need same day test because I’m flying today they tell me I booked the wrong test. They help me get a refund, order me a rapid antigen test then give me a certification to take to the airport. They also help me order the Day 2 test and return Fit to Fly. They give me their clinic number to ring if I need support.

  4. Arrive at airport who require printed evidence of my recent Covid19 test but do not check my vaccine passport.

  5. Fly to Portugal.


I tell this whole long story because it’s clear to me what we do for our clients when we create a service or solution.


We 𝐄𝐀𝐓 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐋𝐄𝐗𝐈𝐓𝐘 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐂𝐋𝐈𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒.


  • We take a mess of facts and data that exists in libraries and online.


  • We sequence it, we prioritise it, we define it, we troubleshoot it.


  • We remove jargon and confusing terms.


  • We anticipate confusions and things that might trip them up and misdirect them.


  • We remove any contradictions and supplement gaps in their knowledge and experience.


  • We make it user friendly. We sequence it so it’s logical and coherent.


  • We build the solution in steps, in bite size pieces.


  • We get them to their desired solution in the shortest possible time and make all that work invisible.


  • We help them bridge from their challenge to their desired solution and allow them to get on with their life.

If I could go back in time and advise myself on how to prepare to fly to Portugal I would say this:


"If you are flying soon, you need a fit-to-fly antigen test taken from any pharmacy or travel doctor, usually done same day, costing about £40. You need to take the signed evidence that you are clear of COVID19 to the airport."


My friends helped me a lot but I gained only pieces of information and had to work hard for two days to sequence it all and make coherent sense of all fragments of advice.


In business, we can massively help our clients by simply removing complexity, and helping them navigate to their desired destination with the least friction.


𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐱𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬?




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