Josh introduced readers to the moonshot forum in his recent blog, 5 Steps to Psychological Safety in the Workplace. We were intrigued and wanted to learn more, so he graciously obliged. Here’s his step-by-step for hosting a moonshot forum with your team.
The idea of the moonshot forum comes from an interview I read about Google X, a company started by Google to “create radical new technologies” to solve some of society’s biggest problems. At Google X, they encourage everyone to think really, really big. No idea is dismissed out of hand. That is one way to engender psychological safety.
If you are interested in hosting a moonshot forum for your veterinary or animal welfare team, it might work like this:
Periodically—perhaps once a quarter, if possible—set aside 30-60 minutes for the team to suggest ideas to “make us 10 times better.” Encourage them to think really big.
Make it a point to encourage creative thinking, not just problem identification. The moonshot forum is less about identifying problems as it is about imagining big ways to create something better than what we currently have. For the first 10 minutes or so, people get 30-60 seconds to give an overview of their idea. Then the team votes on which idea they want to explore together. Spend the rest of the time imagining:
- How could this actually work?
- What are ways you could actually bring this to life?
- What are obstacles?
- What might help overcome those obstacles?
It’s important to make sure every idea is genuinely accepted and explored. At the end, set aside 5-10 minutes to review what you (as a team, collectively) have learned, and what actions, if any, you can take as a next step.
In time, these moonshot forums will become productive exercises in problem solving, collective growth, and improvement. But in the beginning, I encourage leaders to worry less about solving all the problems, and more about creating a space where every perspective, every voice, every idea is accepted, considered, and explored together.