The best leadership advice this former-NASA CTO ever received

4 min read
Eli Woolery
  •  Jul 22, 2021
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You know the feeling: You have an idea for a new project and your excitement is palpable. You see the benefits of your idea on the future so clearly, but when it comes time to convince others to sign on, it seems that no one shares your inherent enthusiasm. Well, Chris Kemp, the co-founder and CEO of Astra, a start-up creating an affordable space launch platform, has some advice to get large, diverse groups of stakeholders excited about your vision: distill the story to its natural importance, Chris says.

Chris, who founded several tech start-ups and served as NASA’s Chief Technology Officer prior to co-founding Astra, appeared on season six of the Design Better Podcast to talk about effectively presenting visionary ideas.

For Astra, he’s managed to do this with a succinct mantra: “To improve life on Earth from space.” Though simple, Kemp says the slogan helps convey the idea that making space accessible to more scientists and entrepreneurs increases the potential that they develop the essential technology we need for the future. For example, Kemp points to the progress of precision agricultural practices that affordably and sustainably feed more people, or the advanced weather monitoring that tracks deadly storm patterns. Highlighting a common goal sparks peoples’ natural inclination to join in on the execution.

“The more you’re able to bring great people in your orbit, the more you’re able to accomplish,” Chris says.

Not only is this a great leadership tactic, but taking a moment to step back and articulate his vision doesn’t take him any more time than if he were to embark full steam ahead.

“Why not be really intentional about how you spend your time?” he says.

Want to hear more about how teams at Astra collaborate on technical challenges? Or how he thinks design plays an important role as aeronautic organizations automate their traditional control rooms? Listen to the full episode of the Design Better Podcast.

Want more advice from Chris?

Learn how teams at Astra collaborate on technical challenges, plus Chris’s thoughts on the important role design plays as aeronautic organizations automate their traditional control rooms on the latest episode of the Design Better Podcast.

Listen now

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