221: Safi Bahcall | How To Support Innovative Ideas And The “Loonshots” Behind Them

People pushing a risky or new message are in a difficult spot, because the support for their moment is not high. They have to work well with others who do things in a more steady form. In the book “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries”, Safi Bahcall discusses the importance of and ideas behind keeping innovative ideas from being lost into the abyss.

Safi is a technologist, business executive, and author. He got his BA summa cum laude from Harvard, and his PhD from Stanford. He worked as a consultant for McKinsey, and then co-founded a biotech company Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. developing cancer drugs, which he served as CEO at for thirteen years. He also worked with President Obama’s council of science advisors for future national research.

Here are the show notes for my episode with Safi:

  • how Loonshots are separated into two types based on product or strategy
  • what it takes to get an innovative idea through an organization
  • how Vannevar Bush was a big part of the basis for research and development in the United States
  • where the 150-person rule for groups comes from, and why it applies to both social networks and corporations
  • what Dr. Bahcall learned from his school and work experience throughout the recent years
  • when to listen to others and take their message into account as a CEO
  • how a lone individual can only do so much based on the structure of the scenario they are placed in
  • how structure trumps culture as far as application