Recently, the Deputy Chief Technologists, led by Jim Adams and the Deputy Associate Administrator, Lesa Roe, hosted an Innovation Workshop at headquarters to explore and discuss new ways the agency can innovate to solve the complex problems of the 21st century.
The workshop was well attended over the day and a half span and focused on improving communication and coordination in addressing barriers to innovation and promoting an innovative culture across the Agency. The workshop featured panel discussions and group interaction from mission directorates and center leadership. The goal was to provide a forum for HQ and Centers to discuss initiatives, progress to date, and lessons learned in fostering an innovative culture.
Administrator Charlie Bolden speaking at the Innovation Workshop
Administrator Charlie Bolden provided opening remarks and reminded the group, “We aren’t running a history agency. We are running a future agency. We aren’t finished exploring we are just getting started.” Deputy Administrator Dava Newman reinforced that message with a call to action to encourage employees to make NASA a “yes” zone, and reiterated “innovation is in our job description.”
Deputy Administrator Dava Newman creating a YES zone for innovation
Beth Beck represented the Technology and Innovation Division on the Open Innovation Panel along with colleagues Jenn Guestetic and Amy Kaminski. The three panelists provided an overview of prizes and challenges and the benefits of citizen science. They explained that these avenues compliment the traditional innovation tools, which allow for more participation and infuse new ideas and new domains to get involved with NASA programs.
The Open Innovation Panel, Amy Kaminski, Beth Beck, and Jenn Guestetic with moderator Jim Adams
The participants shared many interesting recommendations on how the agency can better embrace innovation, including creating partnerships amongst the centers in order to leverage resources and expertise to foster collaboration. The agency is committed to breaking down barriers and will continue to review the workshop recommendations to apply creative ideas to improve and generate value for the organization.