What is Moonshot Thinking?
Moonshot thinking is an inspiration from going to moon! In the 1960’s, President Kennedy said that:
Moonshot thinking celebrates the concept of “positive” hardship, choice and radical change. It embraces the idea of pushing ourselves and iterating (learning by mistakes, making prototypes and constantly improving), it’s innovation into practice!
This approach is used by Google to develop projects such as the self-driving cars. It’s about creating something which initially seems impossible but becomes a reality. Of course, you need to have evidence that your crazy idea can still work in reality 🙂 It’s all about looking at a world of possibilities and applying agency to make relevant changes.
Recently, Esther Wojcicki has taken the Moonshot Thinking idea to the educational field, here is a quick video presenting her work:
I personally encountered Moonshot Thinking for the first time when I attended the Google Teacher Academy and I was immediately hooked! I read Esther’s book and started to apply this in my approach to coaching, training, organizing, planning and of course doing!
I appropriated this approach as a way to make relevant changes in my school community. For me, moonshot thinking is the way we can solve problems using radical solutions. The role of technology is to become the means to solve the problems faced.
We are often afraid to make big changes but it’s not about being “safe” and improving by 10%, it’s about wanting to do 10 times better, pushing ourselves towards something that is wild and crazy, something that can be scary, something that is hard but we choose to go with hardship. We must remember that everything is hard before it’s easy! We need to have the guts to do it anyway!
One person I consider a moonshot thinker is the inspiring and energetic Jennie Magiera who keeps sharing her “failing forward” mindset with educators around the world. I love what she says about shooting for the moon:
“When you get in that rocket ship and you shoot for the moon, when you are about half way there, you see all the obstacles, you want to give up and turn around, […] but once you get to the moon and you touch down and you reached that goal – even if it doesn’t seem like the same goal you originally shot for and went out for – when you look back at Earth and see all those problems that seemed insurmountable, they seem really small from the view from the moon.”
Manifesto for Innovation
Following this extremely stimulating approach to problem-solving, I decided to write a MANIFESTO FOR INNOVATION that embraces Moonshot Thinking. A manifesto is about expressing your purpose and voicing it in an inspiring way (hopefully!):
A practical example of Moonshot Thinking
1 year and a half from ago, there was no one in charge of edtech in my school and when I joined, it was a real moonshot to take people on this journey with me. It was going to be very hard to transform and innovate because people were in their comfort zone, doing their usual work and they could not relate to the vision yet. I had to make them connect to a PURPOSE (reference to Daniel Pink) and needed them not to “comply” but to feel trusted and in control of their learning. I created my plan into phases and allowed myself to adjust my plan as it went. The top skill of a tech integrator, I believe, is flexibility, to be able to adapt to anything anytime. The only constant is change 🙂
In the beginning, all my ideas seemed to be “disruptive” but I dared asking “killer questions” (like Lisa Bodell says) and push my school forward with projects that we would never had thought we could accomplish: creating an innovation team of Students, Teachers and Admin “Mentors”, opening a Makerspace by starting from scratch, and redesigning spaces for personalized learning…
When we look at the possibilities and embrace change, we can definitely reach the moon!