Moonshot Thinking

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31 July, 2019
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Moonshot Thinking

In 1961, the World stopped to hear American President John F. Kennedy speak about the mission of taking man to the moon. At the beginning of the decade, the race between the Americans and the Soviets was brighter 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 that time, NASA had outlined multiple goals to achieve, through a varied and dispersed list of objectives. JFK’s speech came to give a new focus, a clearer vision to the American space agency … And the “moonshot” began to be prepared.

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 approach to the market. They do so because in the current reality of work and the corporate world, the space to differentiate and be relevant involves bringing disruption to the equation.

The most successful companies are those that solve big problems, or that 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 to the equation something that changes the modus operandi, improving it, “disrupting it”.

In the short term, multiple industries will also be marked by disruption in an unavoidable way. For this reason, 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 in large and ambitious companies, because although they are the ones where innovation is more difficult, they are the best positioned to solve the missions of the future more brilliantly.

At first 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 point to the stars and be prepared to think 10X and not 10%. Only by fostering this mindset and creating the conditions for doing so will companies be able to increase the likelihood of prospering (and not just surviving) in the future.

Thinking and doing differently implies a transformational process with the acquisition of new knowledge. In this sense, the role of active learning gains special relevance, in which experiencing firsthand an experience of exponential growth allows to empower people with this new perspective.

This kind of experience provides inspiration based on organizations that already use this type of thinking and provides a framework that allows its application to several corporate challenges, consolidating the change of mindset necessary for an effective transfer to day-to-day.

When JFK reinforces the statement of his speech as the priority mission (taking man to the moon by the end of the decade), scientists had no idea how they were going to make something so unrealistic happen. In addition, they did not have the resources we have today, either near or far. In the face of all these adversities, what they did was to generate courageous and bold ideas and develop the technology necessary to fulfill the mission that had been assigned to them, successfully overcoming the challenge in 1969.

After the success of the Apollo 11 mission, “we choose to go to the moon” became history, emphasizing the role of the choices we make, the challenges we propose to embrace and how far we want to go. There is a suggestion for reflection… What is your organization doing to leverage dreams and missions and stay relevant? In a more individual perspective, what are you doing to promote “moonshot thinking” in your company?