NASA Forward Maker Camp has been an effective experiment in new ways to engage the workforce in fast, hyper local projects that advance NASA’s mission and vision. The event provides a chance to pursue projects of value to the NASA mission that might not normally be done and also to collaborate with others from around the agency who are doing interesting work in diverse fields. Based on the “maker” culture, Maker Camp makes hands-on creating and experimenting accessible to all parties and incubates innovative thinking and doing. Johnson Space Center and Ames Research Center recently partnered to hold the third such event, the first to allow other centers to participate remotely. Highlights of this Maker Camp included the projects and teams, the remote participation, and the use of a variety of collaborative spaces.
Diverse local projects addressed by short-term teams: 12 projects were submitted for the JSC-ARC Camp, including ideas around hardware, software, process improvement, and website development. Only a few had been prepared by the event leadership; many were contributed day-of by participants across centers. All project progress was documented via wiki so that teams can continue to work on their chosen projects at later dates or pass on the work to others. While many were more self-contained, a few of the projects were able to provide catalytic contributions to longer-term, ongoing NASA efforts.
Use of collaborative platforms: The event used AdobeConnect to collaborate virtually with others at ARC and Goddard, allowing everyone to provide real-time feedback and cross-pollination from different centers and disciplines. The tool was very effective with audio, video, chat, and screen sharing capabilities, and allowed the varied projects to see each others’ work and the participants to ask questions continuously.
Use of collaborative spaces: The collaborative spaces proved ideal for the diverse teams to work together, in the main collaborative sp.ace as well as the Sandbox (JSC’s new Innovation Design workshop/fabrication space.) (See this post for more on collaborative spaces at JSC and across NASA.) One of the projects even included advancing the development of a new collaborative space at another center.
Next NASA Forward Maker Camp is coming soon to Goddard Space Flight Center… stay tuned for more updates.
What kind of projects would you suggest for the next Maker Camp?