January 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger explodes just one minute after launch. As the world looked on horrified, few realized that this was an inevitable accident that had been predicted by the designers for years. Indeed, the day before the key engineers believed that there was "essentially a 100% probability of disaster."
After the accident, NASA embarked upon major management reforms. Sadly, the reforms made the launches look almost too safe, and as a result over the subsequent years standards and relationships slipped once more.
Then in February 2003, the space shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry and the entire crew perished. The chilling fact was that this was a management repeat of the Challenger disaster – NASA had not truly learned the lessons of the past.
In talking about the Shuttle Case, Stephen Carver will address these key issues: the importance of real communication, leadership of complex and strategic change, risk management, personal responsibility, keeping organizational learning alive, and the dangers of silo thinking.