“Zoon.ing.out| Stepping back from immersion in data and analysis of ideas of particulars to big picture thinking, letting go of details, and seeking the simplifying core.”
I return to the book «Idea Work» whenever I need inspiration and refresh ideas and strategies. This post talks about the importance of doing «Zoom in, Zoom out» when dealing with design problems, and that can perfectly be a concept applicable to life in general.

“Small ideas are connected to larges ones. Zooming out requires deep knowledge of the whole, and sometimes an eye for comparison. This is an ability not so easy to develop, specially when is necessary to see conections.

There is a process called “circular and interpretive nature of all understanding”, the never-ending dialectic between parts and their wholes (Palmer 1969, Klein and Myers 1999), which states that every idea of something is colored by being placed in some larger and often implicit whole and vice versa – every whole is derived from its parts, which may also be implicit (Polany 1966). The book “idea work” infers to switch between zooming in on particulars and concrete ideas and zooming out on some larger coherent whole. To complicate things, there are many alternative wholes for every detail, and metaphors are a major device for being set on the pathways towards seeing new wholes. Any idea or building can be placed in alternative stories, alternative landscapes.

Big pictures, landscapes, embedded knowing, the fold, zoom, and focus – these are the metaphors that signify what they call zooming out.

According to the philosopher Deleuze, the power and beauty of the fold is that a finite number of components can produce an infinite number of combinations. There is nothing “inside” or “outside” the fold – it folds in and out on itself. There are a variety of modalities of folds: the folding of time, or simply memory, the folding of the self on its own conception of the selves it has been or could become.

ZOOM IN – ZOOM OUT work consists in the discovery of new combinations, of new ways of folding the world into a new way of seeing – by holding details or prior understanding lightly, or letting them go. When stuck or looking for a breakthrough, see the fold from a new angle – zoom out!