Audacious goals and SXSW

One of the major themes across SXSW this year has been the huge value that enormous and audacious goals have. I’m not talking about 12 month planning cycles, agency style. More 40, 50, even 100 year plans.

30 years ago NASA challenged themselves to get someone into space for 6 months – at the time this was considered to be nothing but a pipe dream. Guess what, they did it. Not only that, the game has changed. NASA are currently building a space station on the other side of the moon, that will act as a platform to send 10 missions to Mars, 1000 days trips, and it’s going to happen before 2040.

Riccardo Sabatini, an incredibly charismatic Italian statistician, has been working on ‘cracking the human code’ – Or actually physically printing out an individual’s DNA sequences (26 volumes, 100million dollar cost per person)! – Again when he started this research the thought of cracking the code was laughable – He’s 1% of the way there. He can now see a time in our lifetimes where sickness and delimitating genetic conditions become a thing of the past. Oh and the cost will come down to 100 dollars a pop too.

Finally, Elon Musks Hyperloop…. A tube filled with a  vacuum that enables people (in train carriage sized pods) to travel at 1100 KM per hour. Science fiction? Well it’s being built now..… Its 90% cheaper than building rail networks, and its actual cost neutral –  it costs nothing to run, not a sausage. Imagine that in the UK…. You could literally live anywhere (and work anywhere) – Edinburgh to London would take 15 mins…. No housing problems. The airport debate raging in the UK would no longer be a relevant debate. It could affect every aspect of your life in a positive way.

These 3 stories have one thing in common. They identified a problem / opportunity. Set a big audacious goal (with no real way of knowing how to get there) and they went for it – failing along the way. The act of failing enabled them to learn more, to change and adapt. All 3 presentation talked about the journey being for more important than the end game.

Tom Crossley

About Tom Crossley

Managing Partner Digital and innovation. Northerner, lover of sports and food. Trustee at Herne Hill Velodrome. Cooks a mean Sunday roast.

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