‘Houston, we’ve had a problem here’. John Swigert’s famous words, delivered in a voice as calm and clear as the mountain air in his native Denver home. But to the Apollo 13 mission controllers thousands of miles below in Texas this fired the starting gun in a race against time. At 2am on 14th April, 1970 an explosion in the main oxygen tanks and the failure of a major part of the electrical system suddenly put the Apollo crew’s lives at risk. The extreme conditions in which they had to work to repair it required rapid creative thinking on the part of a large group of people on the ground and aboard the ship itself.
As the drama unfolded the whole world watched, holding its breath. This wasn’t a simple case of pulling a ready-made solution off the shelf; instead it required exploring the nature and dimensions of the problem, redefining and shaping it. Only then did the solution route become apparent, emerging gradually as a direction worth travelling in.
Sometimes it's worth spending time exploring and reframing innovation problems before we begin to solve them - as this podcast suggests.
You can find a transcript here