Top of Mind: Adopt Moonshot Thinking

August 2, 2017 01:37 AM

How you run your farm today is dramatically different than a generation ago. Likewise, the skills your successor will need to be profitable and prosperous in the future will be radically different. 

“The only constant is change, and the rate of change is accelerating,” says Peter Diamandis, an entrepreneur, author and executive chairman of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that studies exponentially growing technologies.

For business leaders to stay relevant, he says, it’s important that they shift their mindset and shoot for the moon.

“Moonshot thinking is the notion that today any of us can think about going 10 times bigger while the rest of the world is going 10% bigger,” says Diamandis, who spoke during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, an international conference held in Lexington, Ky.

Little tweaks in your business plan will create more success, but what if you completely overhauled your strategic vision? A 10 times versus a 10% improvement is 100 times more worth it, but it’s never 100 times harder, he says.

“When you shoot for 10 times improvement you approach the problem in a radically different fashion,” Diamandis explains. “When you attack a problem as though it were solvable—even if you don’t know how to solve it—you’ll be shocked with what you come up with.”

Here’s how to adopt and apply moonshot thinking to your business.

1. Appoint a taskforce. Hire some 20-somethings to dig into your operation. Young people are smart, hard-working and naïve—all qualities you want in someone trying to reinvent a system, Diamandis says. They have no preconceived notions about the way the world is supposed to work.

2. Question everything and everyone. Give your taskforce four to six weeks to walk around your company and examine everything. Let them talk to all employees, advisers, suppliers and so on. This will help them identify your business’ major challenges. 

3. Generate ideas with no limitations. Encourage your team to think about how the biggest challenges could be solved. Insist they have no boundaries for their ideas.

4. Catalogue, prioritize and select the best ideas. Have the team compile their findings and write up their top 10 to 20 recommendations. Then rate them by financial impact, competitive impact and the time and money needed to implement.

5. Act on the ideas. Most of these strategies will require money, Diamandis notes. Fund the best ones for either an internal business improvement or an outside entrepreneurial endeavor. 

This process will generate some out-of-the-box ideas, but that’s the point. Heed this advice from Larry Page, co-founder of Google and CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet: “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”

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