Some focus on improving existing solutions. Incremental changes can lead to a 10% improvement, but in this case no one is challenging commonly-held assumptions or applying new tools to create a totally new solution. Those that aim to make something 10 times better end up challenging the status quo, and typically end up taking a completely new path. This type of innovation requires bold, courageous thinking. 

The grand challenges require a 10x approach because these are not incrementally growing problems. These problems are accelerating on an exponential curve, as are the technologies that hold the solutions. 

So herein lies the definition of a moonshot, somewhere between bold thinking and science fiction: Moonshot thinking involves taking aim at a global challenge, ideating radical solutions that can otherwise seem like the stuff of science fiction, and then leveraging some initial validation or tangible breakthrough that could make the solution achievable in the not-too-distant future.  See article on Singularity Hub.


“We live in a time of an unprecedented abundance of learning opportunities… but education is fragmented and disconnected from how the world really operates in the 21st century.”  Outdated classroom education is causing this disconnect, but moonshot thinking around the role of the teacher and the use of class time can change this.

Education Moonshot: Moving from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘a guide on the side’

Think about it like this: the more a teacher does for the student, the less empowered the student feels. The sage-on-the-stage teaching models make students dependent on the teacher at each step of their learning journey.

The guide-on-the-side model, however, focuses on empowering students through building autonomy in the classroom. Wojcicki says, “We need to empower kids so that they can control their future,” and we can begin this by giving students control over their learning.

But giving up control can be extremely hard for teachers, and it requires a shift in mindset. To do this, Wojcicki says, “The trick is T.R.I.C.K.!” Teachers should engage with their students in ways that foster the following classroom values:

  • Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, Kindness

With about 20% of teens dropping out of high school and 5.6 million Americans between the ages of 16-24 (that’s 1 in 7) disconnected from both school and work, it isn’t too wild to say that we have an engagement crisis in the US.

This lack of engagement comes at a high cost to the economy and to taxpayers, who spend $93 billion dollars annually on disconnected youth (those not in school or working) and $1.6 trillion over their lifetime.

But that spending isn’t preparing the population to thrive in today’s workforce.

In fact, 40% of U.S. companies cannot find qualified candidates to fill their jobs, and employers spend more on skills training annually than universities and government combined.