Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

Interesting semi-official video from NASA about their management culture (hat tip Dorobek Insider):

The video was created by this astronaut and originally posted by a NASA manager on his blog. NPR has some background on how and why the video was created.

The context is very different from the one I work in, but I certainly recognize some of the behaviours represented in it. Interesting dramatization of management groupthink and how it’s much easier to say “no” to something new than it is to say “yes.”

I watch this video and I’m thinking about the GoC’s efforts at integrating GCpedia and other social or 2.0 tools into it’s culture. I imagine that the managerial types represented here would have a hard time accepting unstructured, participatory and open collaboration implied by wikis and other social software tools. Weird paradox though, isn’t NASA big user of such tools? (Not to mention that how this internal video was released to YouTube points to NASA’s at least partial adoption of a 2.0 attitude)

Perhaps the org has reached a certain level of comfort with internal and team collaboration via social software, but judging from this video, the silos between the various parts of the org haven’t been broken down yet.

Perhaps the tools are only used by a small percentage of the workforce.

Perhaps there’s a time lag – the tools are there, people are starting to use them, but the deeper changes haven’t really started happening yet.

I see these things in my own workplace – various teams in the Department I work for have jumped ahead and are using wikis, instant messaging, etc., but only internally. There is a Yammer network that somebody started up, but there’s only a few of us on it (and activity is low.) No officially supported blogs that I am aware of yet.

And when I think of my immediate colleagues — who are generally uninterested in web 2.0 or social media (I often have the feeling that I’m seen as, uh, eccentric, due to these obsessions) — our team is very comfortable informally collaborating, but since we all sit in the same area and talk to each other every day, we hardly need a team wiki or to blog for each other. We’ll just pop into each others’ cubicles or call over the dividers.

Which begs the question — what is the value of these tools used in such a limited capacity? If their use is restricted to within teams already used to working together, they’re never going to have much impact. If we really want to create a Government 2.0, then wider adoption and use is key.


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Animation of the the 2008 arctic polar cap melt — apparently not quite as extreme as last year’s record-setter, but close. And the rate of melt in August was unprecedented.


Click the image for the link to the animation

Source: NASA’s Godard Space Flight Center. Spotted via Maryland Weather.

I also like this graph that they did, showing the 2008 minimum against the historical average. They give it to you in map form and as a line graph. I might have improved the contrast in the map so that the outline of the median minimum stands out more, but that’s just me.

Nice map

Click the image to see full size version.

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