THE BIRTH OF MOONSHOT PROJECTS AND WHERE THE TERM ORIGINS FROM: A Google story.
„Good ideas are always considered crazy until they are not crazy anymore,“ said Larry Page, founder of Google. He lives up to a philosophy that makes Google so successful: Moonshot Thinking. Eponym of this inventor’s philosophy was John F. Kennedy’s dream to send a man to the moon.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in which he said: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade”, that planted the seeds to align an entire country to go discover the moon.
JFK did not set that goal by knowing how America could achieve it or by promising it would be easy, he simply said that America was going to accomplish something incredible, setting the timeframe and inspiring toward action.
50 years later, in a timeframe where technology so drastically changes society in less than a decade, Moonshot thinking was created.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin always believed in investing some of Google’s resources in hard, long-term problems. This is why in 2010, a new division was formed with the initial aim to work on moonshot projects: in search of a big litter, this is how Google called their sci-fi sounding, future-oriented technological projects that aim at making the world a radically better place.
This new division within Google is named X – whereas X stands for the search for the unknown – and is intended to look 5-10 years into the future, invent new technologies and launch them into the world.
Google X (nicknamed ‘moonshot factory’) started with the development of Google’s self-driving car – a project that has in the meantime successfully graduated from the factory and become the independent company WAYMO operating under the umbrella of the parent Alphabet Inc.
„The world’s biggest problems can’t be solved
with conventional, incremental thinking.“
At X, according to X’s director Astro Teller, “breakthrough innovation happens when passionate teams of people have the audacity to challenge each other’s perspectives and aim for the seemingly impossible.”
The ‘THINK BIG’ philosophy is also present in Google’s mantra: „If you change the lives of 100 million people, then you’re not successful. That’s when you change the life of a billion people.“
There are so many challenges in the world that one can either feel taunted and sort of appressed by it or, differently, one might say how could we tackle these challenges. And that is where moonshots come into play.
The idea behind moonshot thinking is to think and act big, to do something that has the potential to change the way we live or work.
For this to happen people have to abandon the idea of creating a 10% incremental improvement and focus on a solution that will instead bring ten times (x10) improvement, or completely solve the existent problem.
Google X works on the basis of 5 simple operating principles that enable the development of outstanding moonshot projects that have a real impact on people’s life and routines:
AUDACITY : Aim for a 10x instead of a 10% improvement
INITIATIVE: Ditch the playbook (As you approach new ideas, there is no strict way how to do or not do things)
LEARNING: Learning by doing
TEAMWORK: Innovation is a team sport – benefit from the exchange with others
CREATIVITY: Find inspiration in the unexpected anywhere
Having kept in mind how the idea of moonshot projects was born within google’s moonshot factory, we are dedicated to bringing you the concept of moonshot thinking closer in your individual setting and surrounding, tackling problems that are prevailing in your daily working routine, on the market, with your customers. In cooperation with GERBUS Academy we offer you the framework to experiment, think out the box and dream big @ our future lab kicking of next year!
Have the courage to try and think big. This is how great thinks happen.
Author: Stefan Hackländer, Co-Chairman of our Future Lab #Moonshots. Originally posted on LinkedIn. More information through the links below.