13 minutes to the Moon. What can we learn from Apollo 13?

Apollo 13 Mission

The single focus of today’s news flow and the daily, lone, exercise regime has afforded me some fantastic opportunities to broaden my listening catalogue. 50 years on from the fated Apollo 13 mission the BBC World service has broadcast a series of podcasts with fascinating insight into everything from the genesis of the equipment failures right through to the personal journeys of the staff and families (13 minutes to the moon). The superb narration is punctuated by never heard before audio from mission control. The tension is palpable.


What is striking, aside from the genius and calm diligence of everyone who ultimately turned this doomed mission into celebrated history, is how things could have been different, and I don’t just mean worse !.


Every process and scenario had been methodically documented and tested, bar one. This scenario was where the command module failed and the lunar module was switched to be used as a lifeboat.


This had neither been tested nor even considered. Were it not for the cast of a thousand brains and experience available onboard and in Houston, the mission would surely have failed cataclysmically.

The parallels with demands on corporations today are uncanny. In much the same way as America was in a Space Race, corporations today are in a race, but their “moon shot” is greater profits and enhanced customer experience.

America successfully won the space race by bringing together a collection of 3rd party companies and their technology and software. Corporations today are also adopting the same approach to create rapid technological advancement by adopting best in class 3rd party technology offerings.

However, these new technological tapestries demand we consider the risk of failure of one of our software providers and the subsequent implication on our operations. We should continue to build on the Apollo program and identify, assess and mitigate risks whilst also ensuring we have created and tested a lifeboat policy for each provider that ensures the availability of their service were they no longer able to provide it.

Only then can you ensure you both win your race and that everyone makes it safely home.

#Adoptech Predict – Prevent – Protect

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