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[Vision] Is it OK to just try without thinking about whether you can or can't do it?




This week I resumed our SDGs classes at Clark Memorial High School after the summer break. This week, as it has been a while, we reflected on the previous semester. One of them is vision. The most famous vision story is probably President Kennedy's moonshot. He declared in 1962 that the USA would send a human to the moon and bring them safely back to earth by the end of the 60s, and he succeeded in doing so.



One of the questions a student asked me when I told this story was, "So, you don't think about whether you can do it or not, you just do it? One of the methods used by the UN and other international development organisations to manage projects is the log framework. It takes a vision and applies it directly to project management, setting a goal that is bigger than the project you want to achieve and then placing a project goal as a middle ground to reach that goal. As the SDGs are a UN goal, they are a very grand vision and can be incorporated into the log framework. The probability of achieving the SDGs is a bit tenuous, but I believe that the achievement rate for international development projects is 90% or close to it.



There is something similar to the log framework, OKR (Objective, Key Result), in the private sector. This OKR is a management method initially created by Andy Grove, former president of Intel, and made famous by John Door when he brought it to Google. Google recommends that the probability of achieving an object should be set at 60% to 70%. The reason for this is that if you set a goal that is always achievable, you are not contributing sufficiently to the company's vision and mission.


In public sector international development, projects are created in such a way that they cannot fail because if they do, there is a need for transparency and accountability of the reasons for failure. Therefore, it is difficult for public projects to set targets that are only 60% to 70% successful. I often work on projects for public organisations, so I tend to set a target that will not fail. This risk aversion is partly appreciated, but the student's question made me think that our projects not involving public institutions should be more stretching.

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