Star Trek, in all its iterations, has always been about potential. Whether racing across the galaxy in Federation starships, exploring strange new worlds, or serving as ambassadors of peace aboard the space station Deep Space Nine, its diverse cast of humans and aliens has learned—and proven—again and again that creativity and teamwork can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Though the technology featured in the Star Trek television shows and movies is currently the stuff of fantasy, note that 100 years ago many considered it impossible to for humans to escape Earth’s gravity. Flash forward to last year when the space probe New Horizons began sending back photos of the dwarf planet Pluto, an object that orbits the sun at a distance of 4.5 billion miles from Earth. Think about it: Humans launched a spacecraft from a moving object (Earth), propelled it though the solar system at 36,000 miles per hour, and ensured its rendezvous with another moving object 4.5 billion miles away … with sufficient precision to take up-close HD photographs and beam them back to us. That’s the power of potential.
It’s only a matter of time before we’re crossing the neutral zone into Klingon space (let’s hope these Klingons are more welcoming than the ones in the old TV show).
In the franchise’s newest cinematic adventure, Star Trek Beyond (which opens nationally this weekend), the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise becomes stranded on a distant world in thrall of a cruel dictator. Those of us who avoid spoilers can only guess how the gang might eventually prevail, but we’re pretty sure it will involve Captain Kirk taking a big risk, Spock recognizing complex patterns others can’t see, Sulu engaging in derring-do, Scotty rigging up a crucial bit of tech from spare parts, Uhura outwitting someone with her linguistic agility, and Bones cracking wise (never underestimate the importance of loosening people up with humor). In other words, their diversity of talent and ideas will help them realize their potential.
At the heart of science fiction is the intersection of people and science/technology. The third ingredient, and the impetus for starting the story where it starts, is the introduction of conflict. The conflict could be futuristic, foreign, or scary, or it could come from within. The most popular and long-running science fiction entities, such as Star Trek and Doctor Who, have explored all those conflicts at one time or another (no pun intended, Whovians). The conflict’s resolution comes down to potential: Will the heroes realize their potential and persevere, or will they be subverted by their own shortcomings?
Here on Earth, the heart of Caliper’s work is also at the intersection of people and science/technology. We use the latter to evaluate the former’s potential. With our assessment tools and Caliper Analytics platform™, we help our clients overcome business challenges through evaluating the performance potential of applicants, identifying high-potential leaders, and developing the diverse teams needed for success.
If you’re not convinced we can do all that, perhaps this will help: This blog is coated in Corbomite, a substance that repels all disbelief (and probably self-destructs). We may be telling the truth, or we may be stealing a plot device from season 1, episode 10 of the original Star Trek series. You’ll have to call us to find out which.