Your brain fills in the blanks, connects the dots, and finds a way to weave disconnected scenes and facts to find an overarching theme. The same goes for your customers, when it comes to how they interact with your products, stories, and service.

Matthew May, speaker, business advisor, and author of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything, writes in Harvard Business Review about how less is indeed more when it comes to engaging your customers. Instead wrapping everything up in a nice tidy bow, you should leave some "white space" to activate customers' imaginations. In art, from comic books to paintings, white space is just as important as the image. In music, May says, the silent pause has dramatic effect. The same idea of white space is wielded by businesses who know how to engage their customers.

"But when we respect the white space--or when we intentionally create by removing just the right thing in just the right way--we allow others to fill the void, adding their own interpretation and impact," May writes. "In fact, I'd argue that some of the most engaging ideas have something purposefully missing. Limiting information engages the imagination."

The comic book, May says, gets its magic from the white space between illustrated panels. Referred to as the "gutter," the read's brain takes both scenes and blends them into one. (If you think comic books aren't a good business, try telling that to Marvel--Disney bought it for $4 billion in 2009.)

The first iPod embargo

Apple, and its master showman Steve Jobs, knew how to use white space to exploit the powers of their customers' imagination. In during Macworld in January 2007, Jobs held the first presentation of the iPhone. Between January and when the iPhone went on sale in June, Apple did not release anything about the smartphone--no ads, no media interviews, no sneak peaks, no preordering. Apple implemented an embargo on all official information. The hype was powered by bloggers, fans, and tech junkies and leveraged 20 million people who expressed intent to buy. The company continues such strategies to this day--very well, judging from the hype that preceded its iPhone 6 announcement. 

A hit is a hit

Seven years ago, the final episode of The Sopranos cut to black before viewers could see if the protagonist and North Jersey Mob boss Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, continued eating dinner unharmed with his family or got whacked in the middle of the diner like Carmine Galante.

Fans initially were upset at David Chase, the creator of the show, and demanded another episode, or at least to reveal what happened to Tony. "Anybody who wants to watch it, it's all there," Chase said to his fans after airing the historic "no ending" finale. The number of viewers tripled in three days, May said. Chase has since said the art of entertaining an audience is to allow for their imaginations to run wild. Incredibly enough, nearly a decade later, people are still writing about Chase's cut to black ending.

The secret menu

May also points to California-based In-N-Out Burger, founded 65 years ago by Harry and Esther Snyder. The fast-food joint invented the drive-through burger stand in 1948 LA, but the white space they left was on their menu. With only four food offerings--a burger, a cheese burger, a Double-Double, and French fries, they have never changed or added anything to their list. The business left the creation of their "secret menu" to their patrons.

"Not only do the items on it far outnumber those on the formal menu, but they are completely unique concoctions, dreamed up by customers, universally prepared according to a cross-company formula. (Order, say, a "Flying Dutchman," and it'll show up on your receipt that way.) "In-N-Out executives understand the human desire to fill in the missing piece, and they simply go with it, essentially doing nothing, enabling their patrons to create new products," May writes.

So, if you want to engage your employees let them exercise their brain, give them a platform to be creative, build their on products on your platform and encourage them to bring your business to any direction they want.

"The best innovators know what visual artists and neuroscientists know: there is nothing more powerful than the ability of the human mind to create meaning from missing information," he writes. "Whatever form your idea takes--strategy, product, service, startup--if you want it to 'tip,' you might just want to make it more about less."