By Ed Hoffman
The Wikipedia (a comprehensive, free, online, editable encyclopedia that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago but for me demonstrates the power of change) defines change as the quality of impermanence and flux. Like most human activities, even highly successful ones, ASK Magazine and the Academy that supports it have changed. I guess this was inevitable given the changes in leadership, mission, and technology that NASA as a whole has undergone in the past several years. We are now focused on missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, challenging goals that will require the highest level of technical and organizational excellence.
The former NASA APPL is now the NASA Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (NASA APPEL). The addition of the letter “E” reflects significant, additional responsibility for the Academy — for engineering career development as well as project management. In keeping with this new responsibility, NASA APPEL is now housed and managed in the Office of the Chief Engineer (OCE). I remain the Director of the Academy and the ASK Magazine publisher, and Mr. Anthony Maturo serves as the APPEL Deputy Director. The Academy team now includes Dr. Jon Boyle, a long-time Academy leader and contributor, serving as Program Manager; Ms. Tina Chindgren, a recognized expert in the fields of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, serving as the APPEL Knowledge Sharing Project Manager; and Mr. Benjamin Bruneau serving as the APPEL Knowledge Sharing Analyst. We also have a new world-class editorial team with Editor-in-Chief Lawrence Prusak, Managing Editor Don Cohen, and Technical Editor Kerry Ellis.
One thing has remained constant. It is our belief in the power and purpose of storytelling, that most ancient of knowledge creation and transfer tools. Good stories engage and motivate us; they illuminate subtle and contrasting points of view that otherwise would be lost to both novice and experienced practitioners of professions. In the world of work, they provide a practical framework to deal with extraordinary change, allowing us to imagine the possibilities of a new environment before that new environment arrives, better preparing us for the supposedly unimaginable and unheard of. We can also communicate our expectations through storytelling, expanding the boundaries of the possible. Stories broaden our perspective by allowing us to see with the teller’s eyes. Through stories, we can communicate knowledge that helps us innovate and find new solutions to problems and adds valuable tools to the toolboxes of project management and engineering professionals.
That being said, I guarantee you that this new team will work to make ASK Magazine the source for good stories that will help you in your job as project manager and now as engineer. Change gives us new opportunities to present good stories that will enlighten, inform, stimulate, and, perhaps, serve as the “eureka” moment that will open a door to further research or supply a new idea that moves your project to a higher level of performance. If we can accomplish that with a fraction of the federal managers that read this magazine on a regular basis, I will be happy and humbled. Remember that ASK Magazine consists of your stories. I encourage and challenge you to help us make this publication better serve your interests as project managers and engineers by letting our editors know what you think of the stories you read here and especially by sharing your own stories with them.