There is an interesting experiment happening at the Johnson Space Center. The basic question being addressed by this experiment is “what would happen if we could tap into the expertise of the 15,000 employees at JSC to solve any one of the difficult challenges that we are wrestling with?” Actually the experiment is also tapping the expertise at the other NASA Centers. The idea was a brainchild of the JSC Vision 2028 team and the Center Director’s, Inclusion and Innovation council engagement teams. Called Project Blue Moon, it is a six month pilot to create an open collaboration environment across the NASA Community.
I know been there, done that. I know the outside has been making use of open collaboration environments for years. Yes I know all about open source and the strides it made in operating systems development. And yes, open collaboration is normally wide open and engages expertise outside of a company. Yet given all of that the interesting part of the experiment is the focus on the potentially untapped talent within OUR OWN community. The potential to find a solution in the most unlikely of places within NASA or tapping into the limitless passion of our community to contribute to the NASA mission. Two stories come to mind when I think of the possibilities of this experiment. The first is the legendary tale of the janitor at KSC who was asked what was he doing and his response was “I am helping to put a man on the moon.” He was passionate about what he was doing and understood the linkage between what he was doing and the mission of the agency. But what if he had other expertise? What if he loved to tinker on his time off and was given the opportunity to play around with one of the challenges of that time? Imagine if his passion could be directed to leverage some of his hidden talents and experiences? The second story was one that was shared with me about a couple of guys that wanted to take pictures of space. They solved their challenge with the most unlikely set of equipment. What is great is that I would never have thought of their solution. They came at the problem from a completely different angle.
As with any organization we are great at tapping into our “community of practice.” We know the experts and we are able to obtain innovative solutions from these experts. The JSC experiment though challenges everyone to also look for creative solutions outside of your discipline. Maybe there are outstanding ideas that are only apparent from another discipline across the center or across the Agency. Maybe there is a robotic solution from JPL that would support a problem that we are grappling with in human exploration. Our community is filled with individuals who have moved from their original area of expertise and yet they would welcome the opportunity to offer up ideas for challenges in their old disciplines. We have employees that have hobbies, workshops at home and interests that keep them abreast of the latest innovations that are not being taped. The Blue Moon project is trying to tap into this wealth of ideas.
The flip side of the Blue Moon challenge is to get people to offer up solutions. Our community is not shy and will voice their ideas in the areas that they are currently responsible for. Yet it is human nature not to offer up ideas in what may be seen as outside of your expertise. What if I’m wrong? What if I offer up a “stupid” idea? This experiment is trying to create an environment where there are not any stupid ideas. We are challenging anyone with any ideas for a solution to post their concepts.
So are you up for the challenge in your own organization?
Sharing the Vision,
Steven González, Deputy, Advanced Planning Office
23 thoughts on “Challenge Everything”
Thanks for sharing. Can you tell us more about the mechanics involved? Are you posting a problem on an internal discussion board? How will this collaboration take place? Will you have the ability to data mine these conversations?
Also, the definition of the problem is probably the most important obstacle to finding the solution. Do you have any guidelines for posters of the “problems.”
Steve (in Dallas).
Hello Sir, this is Sourish SubhashChandra Bose from India (Mumbai). First of all congratulations for the success of your project. I just want to share something about your project. So far, your project named as “Project Blue Moon”, it says the flip side of the Blue Moon challenge is to get people to offer solutions… This experiment also creates an enviornment where there are or lets say will not be any stupid ideas…. thats really good !!! but sir, the thing is any experiments cannot just change any human being’s stupidity…. Exactly what this project will do ???
The council is already in place but…..
What if the company that person works for does not want them to participate and stifles the inovation?
Yes, my organization is asking the same question and I am up to the same challenge. I am also interested in the nature and mechanics of the project. My search efforts to learn more keep returning me to this blog. Can you contact me with more information? We would like to know what you have learned.
Thank you in advance.
Kris (at large corporation in Chicago area)
Are you posting a problem on an internal discussion board? How will this collaboration take place? Will you have the ability to data mine these conversations?
This seems like an excellent idea, I really hope you do a followup post with the results. Every open source project I have been a part of in the past always seems to amaze me in some way shape or form, there are always ideas brought to the table which could not have been attained otherwise. Best of luck!
Congratulations for this interesting featured picture! A whole new world…! |
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful and beneficial to your readers.
The same would entail the further study of varied gravity well adaptation and mutations as well as zero gravity development including stages from fertilization to full development of plant, animal and humanoid existence in full space, partial space and outside object (moon, mars, other planets and moons, bases underseas and so on)
Great article as well as a good solution resource.
thanks for sharing your knowledge in this article. I am also interested about the mechanics who are involved. Seems like a very cool experiment at the Johnson Space Center!
Greetings, Chris from
A fascinating idea. Crowdsourcing, only using a smart crowd!
Great post I am up for the challenge. I am curious; what is the longest stay in space?
This sounds inspiring. Maybe we are!
I would like to know why there is not more research done on the connection between solar eclipses and predicting earthquakes. After researching your website and related websites with dates of major earthquakes, there is a large connection between total solar eclipses and major earthquakes around the world. I found that the connection between where the umbral shadow passes during a total solar eclipse and a time of about 5-6 months after each has occured has always been an annual quake somewhere in the world where this happens.
I am just a teacher, but I had a very disturbing, unexplainable dream that connected me to the prediction of the recent earthquake in Haiti. In my dream there was a total solar eclipse and dragons flying in front of the sun and shaking my child hood home. Very scary stuff. Anyway, I had never experienced the sun being blocked during the day, so I looked it up on the NASA website and I found that the last total solar eclipse reported was in Haiti. About a week later the earthquake in Haiti happened. I just think that somehow the connection in not a coincidence and that we can prevent deaths if we do more effective research.
Let me know what you think.
In my field of work, we utilize crowdsourcing to get a number of our tasks done. It is not only very effective but efficient as well and it enables us to move faster with a leaner staff. The concept of NASA and other supporting organizations using the concept of crowdsourcing is a great example of how controlled collaboration can work wonders. Not every project will require input from a community or a shared workload, but for those that do, the results are often exceptional. Thanks for sharing your examples.
I aggree with the idea of that there is a relation is earthquakes and solar eclipses. I think there is not enough research about this.
I like challenging life. It is nice blog, It is a easy to read and understand, because of the writing style. The blog have so much helpful points, And any new comer will enjoy to read this blog. Thanks for blogging. Keep it up.Keep blogging.
In my field of work, we utilize crowdsourcing to get a number of our tasks done. It is not only very effective but efficient as well and it enables us to move faster with a leaner staff. The concept of NASA and other supporting organizations using the concept of crowdsourcing is a great example of how controlled collaboration can work wonders. Not every project will require input from a community or a shared workload, but for those that do, the results are often exceptional. Thanks for sharing your examples http://www.solocigars.com/
Very promising missions, i have to agree with all your ideas and do see the realization of this happening, its just a matter of testing
Lowest cost reflecting telescope
Grow a mylar sphere in space and use it as the reflecting mirror as well as the walls of a reflecting telescope. Small volume of gas would inflate the sphere for proper curvature.
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