Doing enormous, game-changing “Moonshot Thinking”


Teaching | Thursday, November 27, 2014

Doing enormous, game-changing “Moonshot Thinking”

Where would you like to see exponential improvements? And what would you do if you didn't consider failure? That's moonshot thinking. (Screenshot from "Moonshot Thinking" YouTube video)

Where would you like to see exponential improvements? And what would you do if you didn’t consider failure? That’s moonshot thinking. (Screenshot from “Moonshot Thinking” YouTube video)

What would you like to see a drastic improvement in? And not just a 10-percent improvement … a 10 TIMES improvement?

Today is Thanksgiving for me and my family. I have so much to be thankful for — as a teacher, as a father, as a husband and more.

But I’ve written that post before. Today, I want to present you with something else. It’s something I’m going to face at the Google Teacher Academy next week, and it’s something I’ve been wrestling with in my mind for a while.

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, too, maybe you’ll consider it, too, as you’re preparing dinner, watching football or drifting off to a nap.

Moonshot thinking.

In the description of the YouTube video embedded below, Google describes “moonshot thinking” as the combination of a huge problem, a radical solution to that problem, and the breakthrough technology that just might make that solution possible.”

Think of Galileo and the telescope. Aviation pioneers and their “flying machines.” George Mallory and Mount Everest. The first mission to the moon.

They did things that had never been done before. They were laughed at and told their ideas were impossible. Then they went out and changed the world.

I know that when I write a blog post, I probably only have five minutes or so of your time (if I’m lucky) to equip you with something that will make your life better.

I’d like you to take most of that time to watch the video below: “Moonshot Thinking.”

Then ask yourself: What would I like to see drastic improvement in? What would I do if I didn’t consider failure?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think big like that very often. I stay in my own safe little box in my safe little classroom.

I’m trying to push myself … to do some moonshot thinking.

It’s hard, but I know my students are worth it.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

What does this video make you think? What are some great moonshots that you’ve seen happen? Share in a comment below!


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  • Holly Stachler says:

    Great example of how creativity and curiosity play a role in learning. We need to encourage our students (and our teachers) not to be afraid to try something because it seems “too big”. Great Thanksgiving post!

  • George says:

    Since reading this post, I have thought quite a bit about a quote from the video.

    “If you want cars to run at 50 miles/gallon, fine, you can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you it has to run on a gallon of gas for 500 miles, you have to start over.”

    My moonshot thought is to create a system that enables success for 100% of our students. However, I wonder if it is possible that we’ve growing near to our maximum miles per gallon in our current education framework. Is it possibly time for us to be thinking about starting over?

  • I had no idea what this term meant until I attended a conference about 6 years ago and realized what this meant ….I saw it come to life when my 1st graders at the time had created their own digital footprint with the help of 7the graders from another campus in my district. The things that those little babies did were fearless and yet so engaging! It was clear that this moonshot would be the one to shift my thinking and believing that all students can learn if given those opportunities. I have never looked back. The transformations were incredible for both my students and I that year!! It was my moonshot of the year.

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