Saturday, 28 April 2012

Downs and Ups

If you've been reading this blog from a macro point of view you may have detected something of the ebb and flow of the project. In one of my earlier posts I mentioned the cycle of 'overwhelmed-ness' as a result of encountering new ideas, followed by a sense of accomplishment as a structure to incorporate the new ideas is developed, followed by the introduction of new ideas . . .

Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft describe a similar experience in their excellent book Make Space, based on their experiences with the Stanford University They outline (pg 176) an 'emotional arc' as moving through the following phases:  

Up - "A sense of excitement and limitless possibility" as the project begins
Down - "Overwhelming complexity" as the project's participants realise how much they've taken on
Up - "Unifying insights" as breakthroughs to solutions are achieved
Down - "Complete loss of confidence" during periods when it seems as if you won't achieve the goal
Down - "The brutal realities of implementation" as things take longer and cost more than you imagined
Up - "Completion"

At the end of last term we'd come to a bit of an impasse as a group, when it seemed that we had a short period of time to sell an unreasonably large amount of advertising to fund the printing of our project's magazine. Everyone (including me I have to admit) was pretty down in the mouth about it.

When we returned to school after the Easter break we took some time to review what we've achieved so far, and what we had left to complete. We also looked over the feedback that students had provided in the 'How I Learn Best' box and discussed how these suggestions could be facilitated (more structure; tasks broken down more; less things to do at once; more affirmation of successes, among other things). This morphed into a series of 'what if?' questions, which resulted in a small change of focus for the production side of the project (more web-based, less in print) and a request for some new quotes from the printers.

And now, to quote project member Jeremy Healey's in our Facebook Group
Well, everything is starting to come along. Things feel achievable now. Much better than last term.

And by the way, if you are interested in advertising in a magazine that targets young creatives (16 - 19 years) in New Zealand, please feel free to contact me (s.cunnane AT Seriously!


  1. Another recent positive for the project was being covered by the Waikato Independent in an article written by Fraser graduate Sharn Roberts -

  2. Will the more web-based content include podcasts, audio visual? Or is that likely to bring up more downs if you get my drift!?

  3. Yes, we will include a mix of video and audio elements on the magazine website. This is already throwing up additional challenges (not least of which are to do with school proxies and being in the middle of a network upgrade!), but if what was said by Annie Murphy Paul in Time recently ( is true, then at the very least the struggles are helping the students learn things better!