Through the looking glass
What's all that got to do with innovation? It struck me that in any new endevour there are some things one can plan for, and some things that simply must be discovered and dealt with afterwards. I'm sure the astronauts and NASA knew that there was dust on the moon, but did not have a sense of how potentially damaging and pervasive it would be. So they now have to determine how to deal with the dust. One of the interesting learnings is that the dust melts easily and can be fashioned like glass - so maybe we can create glass bricks on the moon from the dust.
I think innovation is similar in many ways to the problems and opportunities presented by moon dust. What seems a small problem and somewhat innocuous at first can become a real show stopper, until new thinking and new perspectives are applied. Then, entirely new opportunities open up. Often, we get stymied at the thought that the problem is a real show stopper - after all, we don't want to send astronauts to the moon to load up their lungs on moon dust. The asbestos litigation industry is just waiting for that.
When firms begin an innovation process, there are often roadblocks that seem large but surmountable. Once a team begins innovating and attempts to overcome those obstacles, other, unforseen problems emerge - often ones based on turf, bureaucracy and strategy. These are potential innovation killers and, while hard to identify initially, should be expected. Only by thinking in new ways and offering new perspectives can your firm continue on its innovation path.
Moon dust is a potential threat in many ways to our astronauts, yet with great thinking and new technologies it may prove to be the building block of our Moon base. Problems and challenges with innovation will emerge, and with great thinking and new perspectives will only make your initiative stronger, unless you allow these problems to dissuade your teams and defeat your thinking.