The Lines of Progress

Squiggling our Way to the Stars

Jan 15, 2020 – by Ariel

It starts like this.

Dot — Step 1

At a point in time and space that’s floating and ill-defined. A fuzzy need. An amorphous goal. An internal tickling or surface inkling that suggests something could or should be different.

It ends like this.

Shiny Dot

With a brighter dot. A better way. Not necessarily bigger or stronger or faster or bolder. But undeniably, unequivocally and often emphatically better. A point that shines.

Moving from dot to dot is what we do. The line is the work and the dot can be anything, and moving from dot to dot is design. It is progress. It is process. It can be beautiful and it can be painful, but it is movement. And it is squiggly.

Winding Scribbly Road — Dot to Shiny Dot

At the start the dot is a spore. Unbound and untamed. Full of potential and possibility. Hazy and nebulous. Yet teeming with life.

Dot — Close up

Look closer.

Dot — Even Closer up

The dot can be anything. A service, a product, a campaign, a company. But the dot can also become anything. Everything.

And so it requires definition. Fortification. Battening of the hatches and corralling of the swirling seas and framing and alignment and agreement on what it currently is, even if it’s still unclear where it will go.

Dot — within Constraints

It’s not about putting the dot in a box. It’s about supplying the guardrails. Creativity demands constraints.

So we study the dot. What might it be? What is its essence? Its promise? We study the potential paths. What might it become? What is the dream? The rules? The boundaries of the possible? What does better look like?

(And what are the other dots doing, by the way? Did anybody check?)

Other Winding Processes

Then it’s time to move.

Our squiggles come in many shapes and sizes.

Sometimes they dip and jump. Sometimes they fork and branch. Sometimes they loop back and around and in on themselves, iteratively, cyclically. Or split and dance and proceed in parallel before rejoining one another or never crossing paths again.

Four Winding Processes

All the while we balance exploration with choice, divergence with convergence, patience with action. Dreams with reality.

We tip-toe the line between being radically open and methodically decisive. Between casting the net absurdly wide and being ruthlessly selective with all we catch.

Processes — Converge/Diverge

We rely on our methods to give us our structure. Our structure solidifies our constraints. Our constraints lead to results.

Line — Constraints

From afar it can all look so very linear. Zoom out enough and all you’ll see is straight and narrow, direct and true.

Start to Finish — Zooming Out

Zoom in and it’s all the opposite. From the inside the path can seem disorienting. Fuzzy and untethered, swirling and wild.

Line — Zoomed In

Adjusting the zoom lens is critical. Our zoom lens may be our greatest tool. Especially as the dot evolves and becomes unrecognizable.

Line — Shapes Along the Way

All the while changing, morphing, moving, becoming. Arriving.

Star — The Final Beautiful Step