Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management

I’ve mentioned the weekly mission support implementation meeting previously. This meeting presents an opportunity for those involved in the enduring, foundational issues of the agency to come together and discuss strategic issues (attendees include: Chief of Staff; Associate Deputy Administrator; Chief of Strategic Communications; Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer (CIO); Chief Engineer; Executive Director of NASA Shared Services Center; Associate/Assistant Administrators (AAs) for Institutions & Management, Human Capital Management, Infrastructure & Administration, Procurement, and Security; and the Director of the Office of Program and Institutional Integration, among others).

On Tuesday the CIO’s shop brought forward a discussion about “knowledge management.” This is an issue that other federal agencies, the corporate world, and non-profits are dealing with — how does an organization effectively manage not just the information flow but the knowledge that people gain from working in specific areas. Knowledge management is defined as, “Getting the right information to the right people at the right time, and helping people create knowledge and share and act upon information in ways that will measurably improve the performance of an organization and its partners.”

Knowledge management is extremely complex. This is a challenge that affects the entire agency, not just information technology. There are no easy solutions. The CIO and Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE) have commissioned a knowledge management team to coordinate knowledge management efforts across NASA. This team has representation from across the agency — from each Center, Mission Directorate, and from many mission support offices. The team has developed a roadmap to accomplish the goals delineated above. My hat is off to the CIO and OCE shops for leading the effort as they tackle the various components of this challenging issue.

Future Forum

I currently am in Seattle to kick off the first Future Forum. Here’s the concept behind the Future Forum — we plan to go to different locations around the nation that are not usually associated with aerospace and discuss with academic leaders; local, state, and federal officials; and business leaders what NASA means to their region of the world and to the nation more broadly.

I gave the keynote speech and it is posted on NASA’s website. After my talk, the program included a presentation from Astronaut Janet Kavandi, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center, followed by a presentation on the next phase in space exploration by NASA Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley. The day then unfolded into three panels on innovation, discovery and inspiration. Innovation focused on the past and future impacts of NASA and space exploration on economic competitiveness and technology development. Discovery focused on how NASA science and research has led to greater knowledge and understanding of the universe and has provided critical information about our own planet and how to manage and protect it. Inspiration is geared towards education with a focus on STEM education and the NASA’s unique ability to inspire students to pursue studies in science, engineering and math. The panels included NASA officials and leaders from the Seattle business, academic and educational communities.

I met with the Governor of Washington Thursday night. On Friday I sat in on the Future Forum. I also did quite a bit of media outreach as a part of this Future Forum. Press opportunities include a meeting with the Seattle Times editorial board as well as print, radio and television interviews. There was also a press conference with Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, Museum of Flight President and CEO; Jeff Hanley; and Janet Kavandi. Bonnie Dunbar is a former NASA astronaut who flew on five Space Shuttle missions and logged 1,208 hours — over 50 days — in space. In addition to hosting the event, Bonnie opened the Future Forum and chaired the inspiration panel. I want to thank Bonnie and her team at Museum of Flight for hosting the event. We could not have done this without their invaluable support.

The ultimate goal is to get the discussion rolling in areas beyond our traditional aerospace presence and re-connecting with the American public and with business and academic leaders and state and local officials. The next Future Forum is scheduled to occur in Columbus, Ohio in February.

Cool Transportation Technologies

I received a comment clarifying that the article, “Cool Transportation Technologies,” should include the great work that Glenn Research Center is doing in de-icing research. This article has been revised and you can find it at: