Tag Archives: thinking the unimaginable

Power of Moonshot Thinking– Beyond Crazy, Stupid, Even Fringe of Sci-Fi: But Without It, There is No Giant Leap…

It starts with a dream, a crazy thought– moonshot thinking is a concept that revolves around radical change… According to Shamash Alidina; moonshot thinking is opposite of the way most organization think… most organizations think about how they can make themselves– 10% better, not 10x better… But 10% better is what most competitors do…

But there is different way– it’s another level of thinking; it’s stupid, crazy, science fiction (Sci-Fi)… More than 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy captured world’s imagination when he said; U.S. will land man on the moon and return safely to earth… and thus the term ‘moonshot’ entered the lexicon as shorthand for– ‘difficult and unimaginable task, the outcome of which is expected to have great significance’

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According to Scott D. Anthony and Mark Johnson; all good moonshots have three key ingredients: 

1.) It inspires: Kennedy’s quote raises the spirit; a more typical corporate goal of increasing return on invested capital from 13.4% to 13.9%, not so much. That kind of financial target might be important, but it’s unlikely to get people to do extraordinary things… 2.) It’s credible: It’s easy to assume that a moonshot is just a ridiculous stretch target, but before Kennedy made his speech he had made a detailed assessment of the underlying technological trends to ensure that the goal had a reasonable chance of success… 3.) It’s imaginative: It isn’t an obvious extrapolation of what’s happening today (which for Kennedy would simply have been to fly farther into space), but something that offers a meaningful break from the past…

In the article Moonshots by Astor Teller writes: Moonshot’s live in a place that is between audacious, and pure science fiction… Yet the lessons people are taught from early age is to– play it safe, don’t do stupid things, walk before you run, slow and steady wins the race, under-promise and over-deliver… In repeating these mantras the message is very clear– don’t think big… Moonshot thinking starts with picking a big problem; something huge, unthinkable, impossible…

Next it involves articulating a radical solution– one that would actually solve the problem, if it exists– something that might that sounds like it’s out of a Sci-Fi story… Also, there needs to be some kind of concrete evidence that the proposed solution is not quite as crazy or impossible as it might seem…

Something that justifies at least a close look at whether such a solution could be brought into being if enough– creativity, passion, persistence… were brought to bear on it. This evidence could be some breakthrough in technology that could actually make the solution possible within say, a decade or so… Without all of these things, you may have a Sci-Fi or crazy idea, but you don’t have a moonshot… And for sure not one where you can aim for new heights, and address a big challenge in a ‘maybe-not-totally-crazy’ kind of way… Often, if you just step back and apply enough audacity, creativity, persistence– you can get new perspective that makes doing the impossible, possible…

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In the article Future-Proof Your Business With Moonshot Thinking by Anthony Scherba writes: Any organization can use moonshot thinking to anticipate change– not to mention brainstorming more effective ways of developing a new competitive strategy by asking questions, such as: Is your competitive advantage truly sustainable? Will current strategies be competitive in your industry for 5, 10, 20 years? According to Clayton Christensen; there are serious pitfalls focusing solely on fulfilling the needs of current customers… The dilemma comes into play when a successful business gets comfortable, and neglects to explore new ideas because customers are happy with the current state of the solution…

But moonshot thinking is easier said than done: It’s very tempting to pour big money in futuristic hypothetical ‘what ifs’, as opposed to investing money in more immediate, less exciting improvement projects… But you don’t need to make big investments to start looking ahead; holding occasional brainstorming sessions focused on the future of your industry can help solidify your organizations place in that environment… and you can get a better sense of what challenges you are facing in future… and to better understand how you must evolve to drive the organization forward. Get ahead of the curve by asking ‘what if’, before your competitors do…

In the article Applying Moonshot Thinking by Zog writes: Great leaders should be the optimal blend of– creative and analytical…They should represent a constant balance between the– right and left brain. They should take great pride in trying something new knowing that there is risk but also great reward… Thinking in moonshots doesn’t mean abandoning the analytical side; it just dares you to think beyond immediate metrics and traditional practices– it allows freedom of thought…

Making moonshot thinking part of strategy means– accessing risk and optimal flexibility… The correct blend of moonshot in a strategy can help propel your ‘brand’ and organization forward… Taking risks can yield incredible rewards; when an organizations allows its team members to think boldly they can reap great rewards… and even with failures the journey will make your organization stronger, more resilient… The best (most profitable) ideas often come when you allow  your people to forgo the status quo and think big…

Moonshot thinking is a very risky proposition, it’s totally different approach to innovation, but one of the most important lessons is that– some things are perceived to be impossible until you actually try them… The moonshot thinking is not encouraged or embraced by most organization, because of the risk it involves and low probability of successful outcome… but despite its hazardous aspect it does give whole new twist for thinking…

Society needs 10x gains to solve many of its biggest problems; most of the difficult issues are exponentiating, e.g.; world population is rising on exponential curve… use of resources per person is rising on an exponential curve… Humankind needs to keep pace with these and many other challenges to manage and sustain life on this planet… and incremental thinking isn’t going to get you there…

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In the article Stop Looking For Moonshot Ideas, Focus on Simple Solutions by Bobby Emamian writes: Not every idea has to be an earth-shaking innovation… the key is that every strategic step (whether big or small), should be an important improvement for a more competitive organization… and although tempting, big or crazy ideas (moonshot) are usually big waste of time and resources, and a distraction from the core business… Power of an idea isn’t in its– creativity, brilliance, originality… because ideas have no value until they are actually put into action… true value of ideas lie in their potential to solve real problems. The so-called ‘moonshot’ ideas that don’t solve real problems only distract the mission and derails progress…

Business needs ideas that will actually advance the organization– new initiative that address a real problem, or perceived problem, or issues that customers face, or that improve the existing organization… An idea need not be game changer ( moonshot) to make a big impact on the organization… The best way to avoid chasing useless ideas or ignoring important ones is to ensure all solutions align with organization’s core purpose… Next time someone comes-up with an idea that’s going to be game changer (moonshot); first, determine if it solves real problems or provides convenience that really matters.

Most organizations would be perfectly happy improving their organization by 10%… but according to Larry Page at Google; if you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you are doing wrong things. He challenges his company (Google) to think in moonshots — ideas so large that they require the kind of creativity and innovation that are necessary to literally and figuratively put a man on the moon… This thinking tasks an organization to do things by 10x– 10x bigger, 10x cheaper, 10x faster… Either disrupt your organization, or someone else will… When you shoot for 10x improvement you approach the problem in a radically different fashion…

moon2 thDo you have a moonshot idea? Many people who discuss crazy ideas, get laughed at, e.g.; when the mission of landing man on moon started, most people just laughed and thought it was crazy, bizarre! No one believed that it would ever happen. Who thought about; Internet, social media, driverless car, mobile phones, new medicines… would really happen? These all started with an idea that was thought to be stupid, crazy… Nobody actually knew how to build an airplane till it was done… We always appreciate– courage, and audacity of a moonshot, once it’s accomplished.

Luckily there are a few people who are– stupid enough, bold enough… that they follow a dream: Yes most moonshot’s fail, but the few that do succeed change the world…