Moonshot thinking

My sister-in-law is taking a course on innovation and sent this to me after reading my last post:

She sent it because it is incredible, it is moving, and an important lesson we should hang next to our bed, a lesson about following your passion, leaping out of that plane to build the parachute on the way down, all in order to solve problems that we either don't have the solution for, or didn't even know were problems yet. 

Videos like this strike me in all of those ways and just one more way that keeps me searching for stuff like this - how did they see it?I ask this question a lot because I find it fascinating to try to get into someone's head and figure out how they view the world. The idea of a radical solution to jump start a breakthrough is something that seems inherent in some and fostered in others but needs to be exercised in everyone order to be good at it. 

The thing about training is that it can be hard to do, hard to see immediate results, and not nearly as fun as flying to the moon. But in order to land on the moon, someone had to figure out how to make rocket fuel and that someone could not be told their idea what "stupid" or met with laughter or most certainly they would never speak up in a meeting again. 

It becomes vital then to create a process that can foster radical solutions at every organization of every shape and size. How?

Try these three to start.

1. Pick people.

This isn't glib, I mean pick people that will participate in the exercise and not sit on their phone or laptop and count the minutes away while not contributing to the solutions. It is okay not to include people that just aren't ready to change the world. 

2. Kill the sacred cows.

If you aren't comfortable with the first step, you HAVE to do this one or you will stall out. Innovation cannot happen if words like "but" or phrases like "the client wants" or "we have always" predicate the excuse why the new idea is a bad one before it has a chance to bloom. Everything has to be open to change or you are going to get a different shade of what you already have which isn't innovation, that's painting the wall of your office. 

3. Sit on it. 

Set a hard and fast meeting time and walk out when it is over, leaving the opened conversations and more importantly the half-baked ideas the ability to finish baking while people are going for a run, eating with family, observing the stars, reading a book, listening to music. Breakthroughs may happen at work, but probably not. 

4. Ship it.

Seth Godin nails this one, you have to put some of the ideas out into the world and see what happens. That is how we discover, that is how we test, that is how we learn. 

Perhaps it is the video above or the movie version of The Martian, or my second child on the way, but I am overly excited about the idea of doing radical things and seeing what works. I would love to share that excitement with you if you have any moonshots that you want to talk about.

Have a great afternoon. 

Eric HultgrenComment