Rating

7

Qualities

  • Applicable

Recommendation

In this lively, invigorating guidebook, consultant Lisa Goldman and former CEO of U3 Kate Purmal use the Apollo missions as a metaphor for projects that disrupt routines and achieve major breakthroughs. They focus on both the visionary and the managerial aspects of innovation: selecting projects, developing teams, maintaining enthusiasm, and so on. Some content will be familiar to experienced readers, but this is a useful synthesis built on an intriguing metaphor. getAbstract suggests this space shot as a blast for anyone guiding a breakthrough project.

Summary

Moonshots and Why They Matter

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. People were skeptical, but in 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. The technological efforts required for getting a rocket to the moon sent “ripple effects” throughout society. Businesses developed new practices for problem solving and project management. A moonshot – a targeted push to fulfill a “compelling and worthy objective” – requires a breakthrough in science or technology, a change in how people work together, completion by a specific deadline, and direct, clear, skillful communication. Moonshots make individuals into leaders and heroes, and raise teams to new heights of performance.

Moonshots happen in different fields and move organizations in surprising directions. For example, in 1987 Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill dedicated himself to making the company safe, pledging it to “zero injuries.” Alcoa’s “Zero is Possible” program transformed its industry. Likewise, in 2005, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt launched GE’s “Ecoimagination” program, part of a larger commitment to make GE more sustainable...

About the Authors

International management consultant Lisa Goldman was involved with Nokia’s MOSH (“mobilize and share”) project. Former CEO of U3 Kate Purmal was involved with Palm, Inc.’s creation of the PalmPilot. Anne Janzer wrote Subscription Marketing and The Writer’s Process.


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