Open Space Thinking and Entrepreneurship (Video)
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There are many ways that opportunities can be recognized, and one approach is as an architect, according to Amy Wilkinson, who delivered the opening keynote at KMWorld 2018.
Wilkinson is founder and CEO of Ingenuity, lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and author of The Creator’s Code: The Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs.
In Wilkinson’s view, Elon Musk is a great example of this approach. “Just like an architect who wants to build a building from the ground up, you're looking for an open space, a green field. An open space is often a problem, meaning problems are really great opportunities because people aren't tackling them. There's not a lot of competition, often, around solving problems.”
Wilkinson continued, “With SpaceX, for example, Elon says, ‘Okay, let's make life multi-planetary.’ This is a very lofty pursuit. Is NASA doing that? Let's take life to Mars. How come the space program isn't talking about this? He gets online. He's trying to figure it out. He starts calling people at NASA. There's really no plan to take life to Mars. He goes to Russia three times and tries to talk about them. Are they doing this? He goes to China. I mean, he's knocking on the door of major governments saying, "I think we should be trying to reinvigorate this space pursuit.’ The logic here is if you could build a reusable rocket, it would be a lot cheaper to explore space. Is any space program trying to build a reusable rocket? No. Okay.
Eventually, she explained, Musk did it as a business, doing it in-house in Hawthorne, CA. “He stands up SpaceX as a forcing function, really, to try to get governments worldwide to engage here. The idea also is if you flew from Washington, DC, to London, for example, and we threw away the aircraft, it would be very expensive to travel. That's what we've done with rockets. Every time we've launched one, we have thrown them away. If you can make a reusable rocket like we reuse aircraft, it would be a lot cheaper. How about we try to do that?”
While the SpaceX rocketry has had some problems, Wilkinson observed a lot of it is also working. “Now SpaceX has taken over NASA's contracts, resupplying the International Space Station at one-tenth the price that NASA did. It's an extraordinary outcome, actually.”
The idea, she said is to look for a problem and reason by first principles. “Reasoning by first principles is tackling it from the very fundamental axioms, the basic fundamental truths. Elon is trained as a physicist. Physicists and mathematicians talk about reasoning by first principles. Build from the ground up, piece by piece, brick by brick, from the ground up.”
Many speakers have made their presentations available at www.kmworld.com/Conference/2018/Presentations.aspx.