There are three interesting moments in a project. The start, the end and the red convertible in the middle.
“The what?” you ask.
The red convertible:
“I think a project can have a “red convertible” moment. It’s that breakdown, or more that revelation, in which you remember why you were doing something in the first place. … This transition is the “red convertible”. After years and years of perfecting the process of earning money and status, middle aged men just realized their childhood dreams and intentions. The proverbial “red convertible”.”
The red convertible is a transition somewhere in the middle of the project. I think all projects have them one way or another. A transition is the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
This transition may be part of Johnston’s creative cycle, like a midlife crisis. This cycle
“… divides the creative process into stages through which form emerges and differentiates from its creative context. This creative process applies equally well to an individual life, a relationship, a creative project, and global culture. … Central to his model is the notion that context is necessarily forgotten in order for form to develop. The task of the first half of the creative cycle is differentiating context and form. The task of the second half is integrating them into a creative whole.”
Or it might be the unavoidable breakdown as part of the adaptive cycle:
“Lets assume that people prefer like minded people. In an environment that changes these homogeneous groups would become larger. It is more comfortable to be among “your own people”. So, a changing environment would create large clusters of homogeneous closed social systems. Homogeneous closed social systems become less and less resilient. Because of their lack of diversity and lack of outside feedback. When the environment keeps on changing, the large clusters will collapse. These social systems cannot perform their function under the new conditions.
The collapse of these large clusters levels the plain field for new groups to form.”
Transitions reveal patterns. And antipatterns. It’s the moment when contrast is at its peak. When everything remains the same, we don’t notice our rhythms and boundaries that much. When all of a sudden everything is changing, we start to notice what felt natural before.
Did you experience a red convertible in your project?
The red convertible is not planned. The other two transitions are though.
That’s why we shouldn’t waste those moments. Especially the start when actions still have impact on the outcome.