LOONSHOTS - How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
What exactly is a loonshot?
The most important breakthroughs never come fully formed. Instead, they are typically fragile ideas which readily get dismissed as crazy. If you're not careful, you can bury them and forget them which can be a big mistake. Loonshots can change the world.
Four rules for nurturing loonshots
Rule #1 – Separate the phases
Rule #2 – Create a dynamic equilibrium
Rule #3 – Spread a system mindset
Rule #4 – Create critical mass
How to champion a loonshot
People who are responsible for developing your high-risk early-stage ideas are like artists. You have to separate them from the soldiers who are responsible for the already-successful steady-growth parts of your organization. You have to create a nursery where loonshots can grow, flourish and shed their warts.
You have to maintain a healthy balance between your artists and your soldiers. Both are important to the long-term future of your firm. Have equal-opportunityrespect and provide both with the tools and resources they need to win. Focus on managing the transfer of new ideas between loonshots and franchises.
Keep asking why your organization makes the choices it does. Analyze both your success and your failures and ask how your decision-making process can be improved in the future. Analyze the quality of decisions, not just the quality of eventual outcomes.
You have to make it possible for loonshots to attract enough resources to reach critical mass. That often means getting more people involved. To bring more people onto projects successfully, you have to reduce the return on politics and increase the fit of incentives. If you can do this, you then are in position to bring a gun to a knife fight.
If you are called on to champion a loonshot, take heart from the fact loonshots always flourish in a loonshot nursery and not in empires dedicated to established franchises. Nurture your loonshots and use them to test established beliefs. Use disruptive innovation to move forward boldly into the future. It can be done.