Katherine Jackson (Taraji Henson) calculated the precise reentry requirements to ensure John Glenn didn’t burn up on reentry, and landed in the right spot to be rescued upon landing safely. She was only brought on to the project as a last resort and endured many challenges from her coworkers as she tried to do her job. Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) was a supervisor of the West Area Computers an all black female computing group. When NASA brought in the first IBM computer she had the insight and skill to learn how to operate it and taught herself and the entire group Fortran programming. This computer was used to verify the calculations that sent John Glenn into orbit.
I am constantly thinking of how organizations can be more innovative. Starting with the best team you can attract seems like a simple first step. However, companies today are still blocking talent. I believe people that try to progress by pushing others down do so from a place of fear. Fear that there is not enough recognition, opportunity, or because they are oppressed by another person/group and now cherish the opportunity to be on top. When we make it hard for people of a certain race, sex, or age to use their brain to solve problems for our company and we are preventing innovation.
Hidden Figures was a different story about different heroines and resulted in the #1 movie in the box office over the weekend raking in $22.8 dollars. Willow breast pump, a quiet hands free breast pump that can be worn under the bra, received best wearable and best health and fitness gadget at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas last week. A different product for a different audience that was a winner. Let’s help our companies innovate and endure by attracting and utilizing the best talent for your company. The world needs the new products for different problems and your company needs the breakout successes.