In 1961, the world stopped to listen to US President John F. Kennedy speak about the mission to take man to the moon. At the beginning of the decade, the race between the Americans and the Soviets was hotter than ever… It was important for the leader to consolidate the promise of the “American dream” and inspire his people to dream and aspire to what seemed impossible. At the time, NASA had outlined multiple goals to be achieved, through a varied and dispersed list of objectives. JFK’s speech gave the US space agency a new focus, a clearer vision… And the “moonshot” began.
Recently, some companies have been inspired by this story, adopting the philosophy of “moonshot thinking” to innovate or question fundamentals, ways of working and models of approaching the market. They do this because in the current reality of work and the corporate world, the space to differentiate and be relevant involves bringing disruption into the equation.
The most successful companies are those that solve major problems or introduce innovative processes to the way we make or consume goods and services. Examples such as Uber, Spotify and Airbnb have managed to impact our daily lives by changing and facilitating processes, bringing into the equation something that changes the modus operandi, improving it, “disrupting” it.
In the short term, many industries will also be unavoidably marked by disruption. This is why skills must be fostered to identify problems that can be solved or simplified, as well as the ability to take on all the challenges that this brings. This is especially true of large and ambitious companies, because although they are the ones where innovation is most difficult, they are the ones best placed to solve the missions of the future in the most brilliant way.
At first glance it seems complex, but the first step is nothing more than a change in mentality. We need organizations and their people to be willing to aim for the stars and prepared to think 10X and not 10%. Only by fostering this mindset and creating the conditions for it will companies be able to increase the likelihood of thriving (and not just surviving) in the future.
Thinking and doing differently involves a transformational process with the acquisition of new knowledge. In this sense, the role of active learning gains particular relevance, where living an exponential growth experience first-hand enables people to be empowered with this new perspective.
This type of experience provides inspiration based on organizations that already use this type of thinking and provides a framework that allows it to be applied to various corporate challenges, consolidating the change in mindset necessary for effective transfer to day-to-day life.
When JFK reinforced the statement in his speech as the priority mission (to take man to the moon by the end of the decade), the scientists had no idea how they were going to make something so unrealistic happen. In addition, they had nowhere near the resources at their disposal that we have today. Faced with all these adversities, what they did was generate brave and audacious ideas and develop the necessary technology to fulfill the mission they had been given, successfully overcoming the challenge in 1969.
After the success of the Apollo 11 mission, “we choose to go to the moon” went down in history, emphasizing the role of the choices we make, the challenges we set ourselves and how far we want to go. Here’s a suggestion for reflection… What is your organization doing to leverage its dreams and missions and stay relevant? From a more individual perspective, what are you doing to foster “moonshot thinking” in your company?