The power of the Big Idea

May 25, 1961: President John F. Kennedy tells the world that America will send a man to the moon within a decade.  July 20, 1969: Man walks on the moon.  Eight years.

The day after EMC World 2009 ended, I spent several hours touring Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s eastern coast.  It’s easy to take our space program for granted, but as I walked among the incredible reminders of the challenges and victories of the Apollo Program I couldn’t help but be moved.  The nation came together in pursuit of this Big Idea, thousands upon thousands of men and women combined their expertise and their passion and the result were honest-to-goodness human footprints on our moon.

Now, we could have drafted a long-term plan full of nice achievable goals.  “When can we get to the moon?”  “We’ll have a date for you in 5 years.”  But that’s not what we did.  We didn’t put a bunch of small ideas together, we had one Big Idea.  People got on board with the Big Idea, it unlocked their drive, their excitement, their commitment.  And in the end it was a success.

You don’t have to spend your entire working life in pursuit of Big Ideas.  But sometimes it’s worth throwing one out there.  When’s the last time you were in pursuit of a Big Idea?  Is it time for one in your life?

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Malini on 06.02.09 at 2:46 pm

To be effective, a big idea should be visionary, appeal to a larger group of people and be realistically achievable. Few things are as motivating as being part of something truly bold, daring and bigger than oneself.

Everyone should re-calibrate every few years, to keep up their sense of adventure. It’s too easy to get lost in the minutiae of daily life.