12 – To achieve the American spacefaring dream, we must first “think differently,” then “act differently”

A book I re-read periodically is The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.  It is a business novel that focused, being written in the early 1980’s, on improving manufacturing profitability.  Dr. Goldratt had formed a small business to sell a computer software program to improve the scheduling of manufacturing processes aimed at increasing the profitability of the company.  To help explain what the software was intended to accomplish, he wrote the business novel–a story about a manufacturing plant that was being run “by the book,” but was unprofitable.  The story focused on the plant manager having a fortuitous encounter with a Goldratt-type business advisor that started the manager on the path of “thinking differently” about how the plant should be organized and then “acting differently” to implement needed changes. 

Rolf Smth, in The 7 Levels of Change, focuses on this “think different-act different” point.  I summarize and expand on this element of his excellent book as:


  • A different outcome requires different action
  • Different action requires different thinking
  • Different thinking requires a willingness to think differently
  • A willingness to think differently requires recognition that a different outcome is needed
  • Recognition that a different outcome is needed requires intellectual honesty of self
  • Intellectual honesty of self requires setting aside “wishful thinking”
  • Setting aside wishful thinking requires courage


Most people who are reading this blog consider themselves to be members of the American pro-space community–either professionally or through “grass roots” involvement or interest.  As a member of this community, here are several questions you may find helpful in assessing your current participation in the pro-space community:


1. Do you share the dream of America becoming a true spacefaring nation? (See Spacefaring America blog 1.)


2. If you answered “yes,” is it important for the United States to become a true spacefaring nation to remain a world leader in the 21st century, as identified by the Aerospace Commission? (See SA blog 4.)


3. If you answered “yes” to the second question, are current American space policy and actions achieving the desired outcome, in your opinion, of America becoming a true spacefaring nation with the progress necessary to remain a world leader in the 21st century? 


4. If you answered “no” to the third question, are your professional and grass roots pro-space organizations supporting changes in American space policies and programs needed to put America on the path to becoming a true spacefaring nation?


5. If you answered “no” to the fourth question, are you willing to act differently to achieve the outcome of American becoming a true spacefaring nation?


6. If you answered “yes” to the previous question, what are you going to do differently?

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