Moonshot Thinking: a Series on Embracing Failure

Striving for success isn’t solely a matter of chasing victory, but also of embracing failure. Lots of it.

As Jewish professionals, we have big aspirations for our work on behalf of the Jewish people. Achieving these audacious goals requires us to take big risks and try new things. Inevitably, some, and perhaps even many, of these endeavors will fail.

Prevailing wisdom, and common sense, says we must strive for success, but much research confirms what entrepreneurs have long espoused, that failure is also a win. In fact, it’s a critical part of ultimately finding success in any innovative venture.

But let’s face it, celebrating failure does not come naturally. It’s easier and more fun to revel in our wins than to be vulnerable and discuss and dissect our losses. So, how do we actually live this paradigm?

One way that Hillel promotes a culture of risk-taking is by encouraging professionals and students to embrace “moonshot thinking,” a methodology for innovation birthed in Google X, Google’s research and development lab. Moonshot thinking encourages organizations to take on their biggest challenges, imagine how they might make them solvable and pilot many solutions.

Hillels and college campuses are ideal environments for this launch-and-iterate culture because of our young, forward-thinking audiences, a constantly changing group of customers who aren’t mired in the mentality of “this is how it’s always been done.”

In this series, four Hillel professionals from around the world share their stories of failure and what they learned in the process. We hope that these experiences will inspire our colleagues in the Jewish nonprofit world to celebrate their own failures on the path to success.