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FCW : June 30, 2014
20 June 30, 2014 FCW.COM ideas to t budget and schedule param- eters. But if you don t go large at the beginning, you will never achieve great- ness. This was phrased with eloquence by Dr. Jakob van Zyl, associate director of project formulation and strategy at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: "I want to rst be completely unconstrained and think about what are the kinds of things [we can do] that will touch humanity. Then we can gure out how to make it affordable. We are spend- ing taxpayer money after all." This is a quietly voiced grand vision, and it points us toward some lessons from NASA s decades of leadership in space. First, be bold Words like "bold," "daring" and "passionate" are not always associated with NASA today, but they should be. Given proper resources, NASA has shown bold- ness in its ve decades of work in space that makes most indus- tries pale by comparison. By its very nature, space exploration is a dangerous business, and bold- ness is required to take even the rst steps: considering where, then how, to go. When President Kennedy sent a three-year-old NASA the man- date to go to the moon within nine years, it was an audacious goal. As was said at the time, the engineers didn t even know what they didn t know. The metallic alloys, the machining equipment, the methodologies and much more were not even on the drawing boards. And yet, by mid-1969, the manned landings had been achieved. Astronauts would walk on that airless world six times. The shuttle, compromised though it was, represented a complete and total departure from what had gone before: a winged, reusable space plane that was capable of hauling heavy cargo into space and, when necessary, back to Earth. It bore little resemblance to the Saturn V moon rocket and shared few components with the Apollo pro- gram. Yet it ful lled its mission for the next 30 years, albeit at a premium price. Then the International Space Sta- tion came into being, the most expen- sive object ever created. This football- eld-sized machine wheels overhead every 90 minutes, providing up to six occupants with a place to live, work and conduct research for the better- ment of humanity. It is a triumph of engineering, international cooperation and accomplishment. The boldness of these programs and of the people who created them can be an inspiration to all of us in daily life, not just our business endeavors. When we set out to bring innovation to our own workplaces and businesses, it is often with some degree of risk --- sometimes minor, sometimes great. But if we believe in our ideas, if we have con dence in ourselves and if we are bold in our plans and assertions, great things can happen. Without boldness, they will not. Next, be daring Bold plans require daring execu- tion. When NASA accepted the mission of traveling to the moon, it took tremendous amounts of daring on the part of dozens of top executives, managers and other leaders to make the dream a reality. The bold goal was fol- lowed by daring execution. Likewise, so did a more recent example: landing 2013 s Curiosity rover on Mars. The bold decision to land a drivable machine on its wheels with a rocket pack, with a couple of thousand potential points of failure, took a lot of convincing to pull off --- not just with NASA upper management, but with the American scientif- ic community and the public at large. The idea just looked crazy when it was presented, but the daring of the people who invented it and their raw determination to make it happen are inspiring. And proceed with passion Visit any NASA facility. Talk to the engineers; observe the ight control- lers; chat with the thousands of peo- ple who design the missions, build the hardware, pay the bills, download and process the data, and all the rest. To a person, if you look closely, you will nd a driving passion behind what he or she does. It may be harder to spot Additional reading Agencies need to manage their public images --- something NASA has been doing since its inception. This book, by marketing experts David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek, explores the space agency's earliest experiments with "brand jour- nalism" and "content marketing" and shows how a careful and fact-driven campaign about the Apollo lunar pro- gram helped cement the reputation that bene ts NASA to this day. Innovation
May 30, 2014
June 15, 2014