Building The Vision For Bold Projects
Can bold projects cure what ails our world?
At the beginning of this year, the editors of MIT Technology Review published a list of 10 Big Global Challenges Technology Could Solve, which included everything from embodied AI to a universal flu vaccine. Solving these problems could transform life as we know it.
There are hundreds of projects in development that seek to address some of these and other daunting problems we face over the coming decades, from creating carbon-neutral cities to providing everyone with clean water. These bold projects have the potential to redefine our realities, and they are happening today!
But what is required to take these bold initiatives from idea to adoption? Project management. And, while many of the core tenets of traditional project management apply to bold projects, these endeavors also pose some unique and exciting challenges that require new ways of thinking. This series will outline some of the nuances of project management for bold projects, beginning with vision.
Building the Vision
Bold projects require collaboration, stakeholder buy-in, and team member dedication on an unmatched scale. Some of these projects span multiple continents—even extending beyond our atmosphere. To succeed, these projects require a unifying vision.
Vision ignites the energy, human, and capital resources, and establishes the framework that defines project success. As the world races to put a crew on the moon for the first time, the resources and cooperation it took to land Apollo 11 have become clear. However, President Kennedy’s bold vision for America’s mission in space still inspires and resonates today.
Although not every project promises the allure of space travel or solving world crises, vision is substantial to project success at every level. Vision creates an emotional pull that incites action and unifies the project team. Vision instills a sense of purpose and breeds trust within the team as they work towards the same end. Whether your project aspires to curtail global warming or simply to implement new enterprise software, casting a bold vision can produce bold results.
The key to framing a compelling vision is to connect the project to both sentiment and intellect. It should be concise and straightforward — “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth” — while also providing motivation and direction for the project — ”Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.” The vision should resonate with the team on an individual level, while also fostering a sense of camaraderie within the team itself.
Although vision is the foundation for bold project management, it is not the only thing required for success. In our next post, we will discuss a model of execution capable of turning bold visions into reality.