September 14, 2016

The Moonshot

By Shane Wallace; CEO CultureSmith Inc.

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to attend OnwardYYC, an Innovation and Thought Leadership Conference organized and hosted in extraordinary fashion by The Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

It was there that I learned about the concept of a Moonshot.

This happened during the keynote address delivered by Dr. Peter Diamandis. For those of you who follow Dr. Diamandis or who have read his book Abundance, you know that "Thought Leader" barely begins to describe what he's all about. He is truly a once in a generation thinker and I found myself riveted to his every word.

He poured through countless case studies and data, illustrating how the world is no longer evolving in a linear fashion but rather an exponential one. He argued that this exponential rate of innovation lays the foundation for Moonshots; ideas so big that when you say them out loud they almost seem ridiculous.

Sitting there listening to him, Dr. Diamandis made Moonshots not only seem entirely possible, but entirely necessary. We as a planet are not going back. The world is changing at breakneck speed, and the disruptors among us have unprecedented access to the resources they require to change the way we live, work and interact. He provided countless examples of those who failed to embrace this reality and who were left behind as a result. From Kodak to Blockbuster Video, there is a litany of former staples of the S&P 500 that are no longer with us. Displaced by better, faster, cheaper and more scalable options, companies who were once thought too big to fail, are now the primary targets for extinction.

Over the course of his presentation Dr. Diamandis provided incredible evidence for how and why this trend will not only continue, but accelerate. One of his stories in particular caught my attention, and crystallized my own Moonshot in an instant.

He was speaking about OneWeb, the global super-constellation of satellites that will bring broadband internet to the entire planet as early as 2019. Presently there are over 7 billion people on this planet, yet of those, only 2 billion have access to the Internet. That all changes once the OneWeb constellation is operational. In what amounts to a blink of time, 5 BILLION new people will hit the Internet, literally tripling the market for anyone who sells online. Imagine what your business can do with a threefold potential increase in your market.

Now while the consumer potential is overwhelming, the chord that was struck with me was the fact that this means there will be 5 billion new MINDS to hit the Internet as well. Those with ideas yet no outlet to express them will suddenly be able to get their message out. Just imagine how disruptive it will be when 5 billion new ideas flood the globe in such a short amount of time.

It was then that I learned what my Moonshot would be.

You see much like a person brimming with ideas yet no access to the Internet to get those ideas out; every entrepreneur in this city is limited by their own subconscious and the emotional barriers inherent within. In almost every way conceivable, we are our own worst enemies, thwarting our own genius at every turn, unable to get out of our own way.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

I know this because for the better part of a decade and a half, I was one of these entrepreneurs who spent more time planting emotional landmines for me to step on at a future date, then I did growing my business and bettering my life. That all changed roughly two years ago when I began to employ a team of experts to help me create a system to help get me out of MY own way. The system worked, and while the noise around me only increased thanks to an economic crisis the likes of which has not been seen here in close to three decades, my peace of mind continually improved. My ability to cope grew. My ability to innovate increased. I was suddenly able to access everything about me that was remarkable and get it out into the world.

At first my team and I did not fully understand what we had. All we knew is that we had something that was making the pain go away and in our desire to help others pain go away we started lending the system to our existing clients. Their pain started to go away as well and what filled the void left where the pain once lived, was innovation. New ideas began to flow, connections between thought and execution grew and engagement took over. Our clients started having dramatic pivots in their businesses and their lives, not because we showed them how to run their companies better, but rather because we helped eliminate their internal interference, creating a conduit to their own insight, allowing THEM to make their businesses better.

To paraphrase another visionary thought leader, Mr. Jerry McGuire, we helped them help themselves.

And therein lays the Moonshot. Presently, according to Calgary Economic Development, there are 56,688 Small-Medium Enterprises in Calgary. This means there are at least 56,688 entrepreneurs getting in their own way, struggling to get their ideas to market. 56,688 entrepreneurs with the potential to change the way the world works. 56,688 points of disruption trying and failing to unlock their own engagement and drive innovation.

We can unlock that engagement. We do it every day and our Moonshot is to do it another 56,000+ times in the next decade until every entrepreneur in this city has the emotional capacity they need to grow their business and change the world.

We do that and we feel we have lived up to everything that Dr. Diamandis encouraged on that stage those few months back.

Now is when my Moonshot begins.

Are you in?

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