Today SpaceX sent a rocket into orbit. Between now and Wednesday, it will drift its way to the International Space Station where it will deliver its cargo payload as part of a resupply operation. 'Dragon' is the first time a commercial body has launched such a groundbreaking mission. The reusable SpaceX rocket booster that lofted Dragon into the heavens successfully returned to earth intact too!

It hasn't been easy. Last September a SpaceX rocket exploded on the pad during a pre-launch test. No one was hurt, but a team of scientists and engineers heaved a heavy sigh. Like their predecessors some sixty years before, they must have felt despair and frustration. One of whom was Wernher Von Braun, a German rocket scientist whose V2 rocket was disassembled at the end of World War II, shipped to the U.S. and rebuilt along with the lives of the rest of his team, who were similarly transported as part of Operation Paperclip. For a decade, things didn't go well. It was the Russian engineers under Sergei Korolev who enjoyed the success, most notably Sputnik.

The only thing that sustained Von Braun, and ultimately led to his return to public life and his becoming a household name in the States, were his dreams. His ideas about space flight and the human colonisation of Mars lit the public's imagination on fire. He collaborated with Disney and published designs for rockets and space stations, the latter being the basis for Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. When these dreams inspired one young and influential mind, they prompted John F. Kennedy to say "we choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills".

Innovation is hard. It's full of disappointments, but it's sustained by a hope of something better. Tech Lab isn't trying to send anyone to the Moon, but the dreams that our Innovation team sell into the business can be just as powerful: a vision of how a distributed ledger like Blockchain could transform the way we share information with HMRC or the NHS; a virtual, dedicated work coach available 24/7; handwriting recognition to reduce the burden on operations. We're working transparently, it's all in the open Tech Lab 1-pagers on Confluence. If you've got the time, talk to Julian Harris, our innovation lead. We need your feedback to ensure we organise and measure the best of our energies and skills too.