The goal of starting up the NASA Ames CIO blog
here last week was to share some exciting projects our team here at Ames is working on and to encourage dialogue and participation. Based on all the feedback and comments, we're off to a tremendous start! Thank you for all of the constructive feedback and comments on the first posts, both here and on the other sites where this blog is syndicated. Rather than responding to each of these comments individually, let me respond to some of the overall themes and elaborate on a few things that were mentioned in the introductory post
.Openness and Innovation - We vs. I
You probably sensed a lot of "passion" in my first post, and this is exactly what makes NASA so cool. It's what we all share for what we are doing here at NASA -- it's what brought me here and why this is a great time to be at NASA, at Ames and in Silicon Valley and to be part of this incredible team of people. There has been a lot of discussion about the role of the team (We) versus the role of the individual (I) and what a Blog is, and how it relates to Center and Agency policy. Perspectives shared on a personal blogs by a public officials raise many questions for bureaucracies designed for consensus-based decision making and diffused responsibility. When a public official says something on a blog, does this reflect public policy, or the opinion of the public official? This topic deserves much more time and space, but others have been thinking about the issues presented by blogging, including David Wyld at the IBM Center for The Business of Government at SLU, who recently published The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0.
What I will add to the conversation today is that one individual in an any large organization will not accomplish anything significant. Teams can make significant things happen.Standing On the Shoulders of Giants
I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute to NASA. For me to even be able to talk about a personal vision for NASA's future on the web would not have been possible without the passion and dedication of several generations of my colleagues, both here at NASA Ames and at our other NASA centers around the country. I'd like to acknowledge a couple comments from my colleagues. One was from Brian Dunbar, NASA's Web Manager in Washington D.C. Another was from George Alger, who managed the people that now comprise most of the IT organization at Ames. Both have dedicated their careers to NASA and have built great teams and solid infrastructures. Brian and his team brought www.nasa.gov from this
since 2003. George and his team built a solid infrastructure at Ames that was ahead of its time (in fact, the logical zoned network architecture George built at Ames five years ago is the "to be" state for the rest of the Agency over the next five years). The comments from George, who retired last year, and from Brian at NASA Headquarters remind me of how fortunate we are at NASA to have a culture that welcomes new ideas and diversity. I can assure you that Pete Worden and the leadership here at Ames have fostered this environment.Collaboration with Microsoft and Concerns about Open Standards
While much of NASA's data is technically available to the public, in many cases it's far less accessible than it could be. Making NASA content accessible in platforms like Microsoft World Wide Telescope
and Google Earth
make content far more accessible to a much greater audience of people. It should be noted that all of the data will be accessible through open, public APIs, and in both of these examples Microsoft and Google have reimbursed NASA for the time and resources spent translating and hosting the data for their platforms.Closing Thoughts
To be clear: the primary purpose of this blog is to share information, ideas and have a conversation that will lead to better and more informed decisions as we forge ahead into this new era of government in the age of web 2.0. In its charter, the Space Act of 1958, NASA is required to make its data available to the public to the greatest extent possible.