Work with wonder and imagination

WHEN the US space agency NASA needed to figure out how to dispatch bulky objects into outer space in the lightest, most compact way, it turned to an unlikely medium to generate ideas: origami, the Japanese art of paper folding. Using the principles of origami, a team of engineers — including the most accomplished paper folders — were able to design components of a telescope, which was eventually launched on Christmas Day 2021 to, among other things, give us a view into the farthest, oldest galaxies to better understand how our universe evolved.

This exercise in imagination for solving a complex work problem may seem par for the course for an organization such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which was built on the spirit of exploration and daring. But considering the uncharted territories that are now opening up due in large part to technological advances, it may be time to take NASA’s cue and put a premium on imagination and wonder in the talent pool.