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A love letter to NASA

Moving to an ecosystem of partners

NASA Image source: NASA

Jim Bridenstine
300 E St SW
Washington, DC
20546
United States

Hi Jim,

I don’t work at NASA. Or SpaceX. Or United Launch Alliance. But I heart what you have done at NASA.

You see, I work in the financial industry and we believe in collaboration. Working with partners, competitors and enablers creates more value for customers and, in the long-run, more sustainable businesses. I believe that when we build ecosystems, rather than silo information, we unlock value and achieve more.

And that’s why I’m a fan.

NASA is a 62-year-old organisation with a massive amount of legacy technology, processes and culture - one that’s used to build everything in-house - all of which had served it well for decades. But all that wasn’t going to get you back to the moon. Or Mars. And so you made the conscious decision to switch to an ecosystem model.

As you said after Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley’s successful splashdown, “It’s a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible. Partners are key to how we go farther than ever before and take the next steps on daring missions to the Moon and Mars.”

Our industry suffers from a lack of clear models for how long-established organisation can make the transition you took NASA through, from viewing production and expertise as something to be owned and controlled to something you envision, demand, certify and finally leverage through partners.

Most impressive, and indeed, most relevant to the Financial Service industry, is the choice to exist as one consumer in a broader ecosystem. NASA is still the biggest single consumer in your industry, yes, but you understood that creating competition on innovation, safety and price ultimately allows you and the industry to move from incremental improvement to a new level of hitherto unforeseen capability. It is my sincere hope that the Financial Services industry can profit from your example and invest in ecosystems that allow us to aim for a more ambitious strata of goal: our Moon or Mars.

Perhaps the success of NASA’s return to human space flight will give you time to share more of the journey within your organisation for the rest of us to learn from.

Yours,

Will

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