Referring to JFK’s 1961 speech in which he said “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth”, the moonshot has become tech product legend. So what is it and why does it matter?
Whilst not officially defined, a moonshot has a few fabled elements:
- It is a seemingly impossible, stretch goal.
- It needs a team to achieve it.
- It starts with a blank sheet of paper.
- It’s not clear if it is even possible at all.
- It will need a totally new approach to give it a chance at all.
- It’s bigger and bolder that anything anyone else is doing.
Is having a moonshot just posturing?
Beware of this. Moonshot is a term that’s all too often just thrown on the table by someone who’s, as the Texans like to say, “all hat and no cattle” – meaning they like the idea of doing something amazing, but don’t have the guts to drive through with it.
There is a serious element to it though. With no stretch goal, without the ability to plant a problem so big it doesn’t break convention, you run the risk of making reaching for mediocrity the normal. Think about how many organisations you have worked for where there is an endless cycle of documentation, meaningless meetings and reports that are never read – they get there because just keeping going is the job. Organisations that face real challenges have to change – so in some way a moonshot is a tool that synthetically creates a sense of pressure and urgency needed to ignite the human spirit of creativity.
How do I develop a moonshot?
Don’t hold back. Dream an idea that will knock your socks off and then get a team together to make it happen. If what you have come up with is too achievable and comfortable, then it’s probably not a moonshoot to begin with.
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