Any type of change is hard, but institutional change – with the need to overcome tradition and bureaucracy – is the most difficult. With the rate of change continuing to accelerate, the key skill set for any leader is the ability to recognize disruption, gather the data to act on it, and then effectively push for change. In the mid-1800’s, over the course of 15 years, a disabled Lieutenant changed the US Navy and the world. He did it by finding space to maneuver (as a trouble maker exiled to the Navy Depot), demonstrating value with his early publications, and creating a massive network effect by establishing the Naval Observatory as the clearing house for Navigational data. 150 years before Web 2.0, he built a valuable service around common APIs and aggregated data by distributing it freely to the people who needed it.

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