Lessons from Apollo 13

In this clip from Apollo 13 we are told “Houston, we have a problem”

It quickly becomes apparent that this problem is ill-defined, critical and has only minimal resources to hand. Taking some classic quotes from this great movie, I believe there are some important lessons to be learned for the budding innovator.

“I don’t care what it was designed to do, I only care about what it can do” 

When improvising, function is more important than design. Objects should be reused, modified and repurposed to get them to do what you want.

“failure is not an option”

Innovators need to stay focused, and maintain a sense of urgency. I was once advised that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to act as if you had a rocket up your arse. Sound advice.

“find me a way to put a square peg in a round hole”

Sometimes we need to set our sights firmly on the impossible. You might just find a way to get there, even if it involves duct tape and cardboard.

“with all due respect sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour”

Staying focused on your goals, and ignoring the nay sayers is harder than it sounds. If everyone thought it would be easy it would have been done already.

And for those of you not aware that this actually happened, here is footage from the real Apollo 13 mission.


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