Terms such as “exponential growth”, “disruptive changes” and “moonshots” have been used for several years now to characterize the times in which we live.
In this context, Uber, AirBnB and Netflix are repeatedly mentioned as examples of companies that have “made it”. These so-called Moonshots refer to projects or companies that radically change our consumption, our behavior and our communication.
In the meantime, there are also more and more consultancies and companies that offer methods called “Moonshot Thinking” and promise to develop ideas in a few steps and with simple tools that are as daring and visionary as the flight to the moon.
But where do these moon shots come from? And why has it become so important to think more visionary?
Distant goal: Departure into space – Photo: NASA on UnsplashJohn F. Kennedy, damals Präsident der USA, prägte diese Metapher in einem Vortrag 1962 an der Rice Universität. Er versprach: „Wir werden im kommenden Jahrzehnt zum Mond fliegen“. Er kündigte in seiner Rede an, etwas so Unglaubliches zu erreichen, ohne eine konkrete Antwort darauf zu haben, wie genau dies möglich sein sollte. Dennoch setzte er einen klaren Termin. Trotz oder gerade wegen dieser Ungewissheit schaffte er es mit dieser Aussage, eine ganze Nation hinter diesem Ziel zu versammeln, das letztlich Realität wurde. Ein Moonshot wurde so zu einem Synonym für besonders ambitionierte und die Welt verändernde Ziele.
A NEW METHODOLOGY
In addition to its advertising business, the search engine company Google is continuously searching for the next big idea. These activities are bundled in a department called “X”. When Eric “Astro'” Teller took over their leadership, he developed a specific approach to systematically develop such great, visionary ideas and put them into practice. He called these kinds of ideas with the potential to change the lives of millions of people, Moonshots. His concept consists of three main elements:
– A meaningful challenge.
– A radical solution
– A feasible way to implement
In this way, of course, a lot of nonsense is being created. That’s why Teller set up a kind of jury of proven nerds from very different fields. This Rapid Evaluation Team evaluates the proposals quickly and without mercy: For the right mix of boldness and feasibility – twice as good is not enough.
One condition of moonshots is that they should bring about a 10-fold improvement of the current state or even solve the problem completely. Because as Google founder Larry Page described it, “a 10% improvement […] means that you do exactly the same as everyone else. This is probably more true today than ever. The ever-increasing level of innovation, the fact that markets are saturated, and the abundance of existing products are making incremental improvements the normal way of doing things. These developments increasingly challenge companies to bring about radical changes and innovations.
COMPLEXITY IS EVERYDAY LIFE
Developing a moonshot sounds easy, but it is hard work. It’s essentially about learning to ask the right questions. This also characterizes today’s world, which is marked by ever-increasing complexity. More time and energy must be invested to really understand a problem. This also explains the great need for tools such as Design Thinking and Co. that provide a concrete framework for this approach.
Today we are facing major challenges that can hardly be solved with conventional incremental thinking. Moonshot Thinking seems to belong to the toolbox of an innovator more than ever.
For this reason, we also have set out to transfer this way of thinking into a tool to help ourselves but also our customers to learn disruptive thinking and to develop powerful visions for projects.
PLAYFULLY TO THE BIG PLAN
With Moonshot Thinking to the disruptive idea – Photo: Tools of Innovators
The Moonshot Cards are a set of cards that can be used to develop ideas. The core component are task cards, which describe the major problems of our time (example: “How can we ensure that we ourselves will still be able to develop [example], These task cards challenge us to develop as many different solutions as possible. This covers the aspect of facing the right challenges.
To make sure that the solution is radical, there are booster levels – 3 guiding questions on the back of the task cards, increasing the exponentiality of the ideas.
- Does the solution change the lives of many people?
- Is the solution radically different?
- Does the solution use groundbreaking technologies?
Thus, bit by bit, the idea is being pushed to even more innovative spheres.
To further challenge the users, the facilitator adds so-called disruptor cards. Here, resources suddenly become limited, politically motivated regulation makes certain procedures impossible or people’s behavior changes on a large scale. These massive changes disturb the participants in their habitual thinking and challenge them to think outside the regular scope of conventions.
We have made the experience that the cards can be applied in the most diverse groups, because the challenges affect us all! So even people who do not know each other are quickly working in a team.