Some more thoughts on inversions

Without noticing it, I suddenly found myself retrieving experiences from the past, or at least, making connections with them.

Lately, in the post “Problems/Solutions – Inversion of terms“, I got in contact with the method of inverting concepts again, as at the University, studying Architecture, sometimes when we were not completely satisfied with some results, we used to turn drawings on tracing paper round, to find out how a layout that had been developed one way, now fitted much better with some of the restrains, just by operating on symmetry of the plan.

What was so surprising was not only the improve in the design, but the unexpected outcome of such simple action of flipping the drawing on one of its axis. This set a completely new relation, for instance, between the variables of the design and the constant factors of site (geometry of plot, neighbour constructions, North, sun, etc.).

This “accidental” method awoke us about how a geometrical operation, which in advance and just by simple symmetry, should not have a major impact, changed substantially our perception of the project and made us realize how little “natural” decisions had to be.

Inversions, thus, apply in many other aspects of our lives, and reveals a completely different approach of the matters we are dealing with.

An example I like is that of the concepts of “strength/weakness”,  so commonly used in SWOT analysis by marketers.

Although it’s not that obvious, almost every time the same features that constitute the strongest resource of a company, paradoxically are at the same time, the weakest link.

Think about a car, which designers decided for whatever reason, to provide it with the most powerful engine, that would allow it to reach speeds as double as the usual in the same type of cars. Considered in itself, it could appear that engine is the best advantage of that design, but what happens in terms of fuel consumption, what about the cost of developing that design from conceptual stages to manufacturing. Would it be sensible from a profitability point of view? How will the market respond to such defying design?

I think this is what must have happened with the Concord, as an example of the “most” anything, that in the end didn’t work.

Another example is any sport team. There’s a star player that scores at least a couple of goals in each match. Again, that would clearly be an advantage in terms of winning games. But, quite contrary, the team would be weakened if the rest of the players start to depend on their brilliant mate, to play their game. The team is completely off-balance. What would happen if,  for any reason, this player suddenly disappears?

What I’m trying to get at is that having full control of things is not as easy and evident as it might seem, if we wanted durable results, sustainable behaviour, long term success.

The question is then, who wants long term success these days?


One Response to “Some more thoughts on inversions”

  1. […] irrelevant difference between mental concepts and their names, and reality. Also, how actions like inverting concepts can enlighten some of our previous inaccurate conceptions. This structure of thought is also very […]

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