Entrepreneurial Research

  • Chris Hadfield: the singing astronaut

Astronauts see the world from a different angle. The Canadian Chris Hadfield went to space three times, most recently in 2012 as Commander of the International Space Station. He tweeted pictures of Earth to Earth and sung David Bowie’s "Space Oddity" in zero gravity – to an audience of millions.

Chris Hadfield also is quite a writer. His "Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth" is an inspirational autobiography and written with a brisk pen. It is instructive for entrepreneurs, consultants and all other earthlings who want to learn constantly.

Working the problem

Hadfield describes how astronauts train repeatedly potentially hazardous situations. Your goal is not to have any fear, for example, when a fire breaks out in the space station. The astronauts train immediate, but inwardly quiet acting along the lines of "warning, gathering, working" – warn the others, come together, work together to investigate the problem.

Hadfield describes his inner attitude in dangerous situations as "focused curiosity," – a concentrated kind of curiosity with which he explores problems and tries to understand them.

Concentrated entrepreneurial curiosity for extinguishing fires

The above can be applied well to challenges in organizations. If there is a fire somewhere in the figurative sense, it is very bad to choose the wrong approach for extinguishing it in the heat of excitement. Not every fire extinguisher is suitable for every kind of burning fuel.

Moreover, the technique is key to stopping a fire. If you try the wrong way, the fire crackles on merrily or puts up new and unexpected fires. Then, one can lose control of the situation – and it may be too late to get help.

It’s much more helpful to inform all the relevant people, e.g. external experts like us, the Buildership guys. Without hassle, but quickly we will discover in a concentrated, curious and structured way the causes of the problem. Based on this understanding, we design a solution and coordinate or consult during its implementation within the team.

The singing astronaut

The link to the video is missing above, because we didn’t want to distract from the reading right away. For space flight in mind and musings about life away from Earth, here you go: "Space Oddity," sung by Chris Hadfield in the ISS.