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Masters Forum 13

Masters Forum 13Masters Forum 13 was held September 2022, 2006, at Babson College, Wellesley, Mass. NASA was attempting, through cross-Center collaboration, to change the independent nature in which its ten Centers had collaborated in the past. The effort was not without its challenges. Through small group activities and dynamic large group discussions, Forum participants were challenged to engage and provide feedback on how to improve collaboration across the collective Agency. Among the related presentations was a talk on the evolving organization of knowledge work.

A Case Study on the Viking Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer instrument was presented. This dual instrument, consisting of a combined gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer, had a noble objective — to determine if there was evidence of life of Mars. There were also presentations on lesson learned from the Demonstration for Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) Mishap and the RS-68 Engine Development.

Masters Forum attendees were treated to a guided tour of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including the Artificial Intelligence Lab, where Forum presenter Helen Greiner worked on robot innovation and commercialization before founding iRobot Corp.


Edward S. Calder, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Don Cohen, ASK Magazine Tony Eastland, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Kerry Ellis, ASK Magazine Helen Greiner, iRobot
Angelo (Gus) Guastaferro, NASA APPEL Curriculum Ed Hoffman NASA Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership Dave Jacobson, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Bradley T. Jones, NASA Johnson Space Center Matthew Kohut, NASA APPEL/InFact Communications
Garry Lyles, NASA Headquarters Rob Manning, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Dr. Jerry Mulenburg, NASA Ames Research Center (Retired) Laurence Prusak, ASK Magazine



Gravity Probe B Management Experiment


  • Edward S. Calder spent five years on GP-B as a member of the cryogenics team and was cryogenics operations lead at the launch site. He is currently a consultant, focusing on organizational behavior, management, and emerging technologies. Mr. Calder received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in technology and policy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Bradley T. Jones spent three and a half years on GP-B as the launch team lead and a flight director. He is currently a NASA employee at the Johnson Space Center and a part-time master’s student at Stanford University in aeronautics and astronautics. Mr. Jones received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 1999 and a Master of Engineering in management and systems engineering from Cornell University in 2002.

Abstract — NASA’s organizational focus has become as much management as engineering and relies heavily on external sources for new ideas and technical expertise. One such resource is the nation’s universities. Universities are replete with faculty and staff who are on the cutting edge of science and technology. Consequently, they can provide expert knowledge and highly skilled labor to further advance NASA’s goals and objectives for the twenty-first century.

However, in order to optimally leverage this potent resource, NASA must develop a comprehensive understanding of how it currently interacts with universities and ways to enhance the effectiveness of such collaborations. NASA engages universities in many different collaborative arrangements: individual grants, universities as subcontractors, universities as prime contractors, etc. Each arrangement has advantages and disadvantages.

The Gravity Probe B (GP-B) program is capable of providing significant insight into the complexities and subtleties of NASA — university partnerships. As one of NASA’s longest-running missions and also one of the first programs for which a university (Stanford University) was awarded the prime contract, GP-B offers a unique opportunity to examine many facets of NASA/university collaborations. Furthermore, the technical complexities that GPB had to overcome stressed the management environment, accentuating the strengths and weaknesses of the arrangement. The details of this case are based on a study of the GP-B management experience. The study, sponsored by the Office of the Chief Engineer, involved more than forty interviews with individuals representing the key organizations involved with GP-B (Stanford, NASA Headquarters, Marshall Space Flight Center, Lockheed Martin, and an Independent Review Team).

The best practices that were extracted from the GP-B management study can be applied to many different situations. In order to illuminate the context from which those practices emerged, an overview of the GP-B science objectives and the development of the essential technologies will be presented. The group will then be led through the evolution of the GP-B program, pausing at key decision points to stimulate interaction from the group. The forum participants will be divided into groups representing the major stakeholders of the program. The group will debate the merits of different courses of action and the corresponding consequences from their predetermined stakeholder’s perspective. At the conclusion of each decision point, the actual GP-B program response will be revealed. The ultimate goal of this presentation is to stimulate a lively discussion around a complex management situation, for which developing best practices is essential, and to relate it to other applications in the aerospace community.

iRobot: Learning from Experience
Speaker — Helen Greiner’s forward-looking instincts and leadership have led to iRobot becoming a world leader in the robot industry. In 2005, she led the company through its initial public offering. She also guided iRobot’s early strategic corporate growth initiatives by securing $35 million in venture funding to finance iRobot’s expansion in the consumer and military categories. In addition, Ms. Greiner created iRobot’s Government & Industrial Robots Division — starting with government research funding and leading to the first deployment of robots in combat in Operation Enduring Freedom. But these successes did not come without learning from past experiences.Abstract — T
When iRobot first began working with the military in the early 1990s, Ms. Greiner led the design of an amphibious mine-clearing robot, called Ariel. At the time, it was the most advanced walking robot in the world, but it had not taken into consideration the user’s needs. It couldn’t walk far enough, it couldn’t carry its payload, and it was too complex. After Ariel, Ms. Greiner was invited to an Army Rangers demonstration and brought another prototype to solicit input from soldiers. That input led to the design of iRobot’s PackBot, a bomb-disposal robot, which has been credited with saving the lives of dozens of soldiers. Ms. Greiner says she learned to talk to users and get input before designing.Currently, the division is shipping iRobot PackBots for roadside bomb disposal in Iraq. Ms. Greiner focused the company on winning a place in the army’s ground-breaking Future Combat Systems Program, where iRobot has a $51.4 million development contract for a Soldier Unmanned Ground Vehicle. In part because of the success of these initiatives, Ms. Greiner has helped enhance public acceptance of robots as one of today’s most important emerging technology categories.
MER Project: Stealing Success from the Jaws of Failure

Speaker — Robert M. Manning is the chief engineer for the Mars Exploration Directorate, where he supports current and future missions to Mars. He was the systems engineering manager and entry, descent, and landing development manager for the Mars Exploration Rover project. Since joining Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1980, Mr. Manning has been chief engineer for the 1997 Mars Pathfinder Project and has also developed computers and fault-tolerant electronic systems for JPL’s deep space missions, including the Cassini and Galileo projects. He is a graduate of both Caltech (BS 1982) and Whitman College (BA 1980), where he studied mathematics, physics, computer science, and control systems.Abstract — Was the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project a success? Certainly with respect to its mission objectives, the MER results were particularly stunning. But from a systems engineering perspective, viewing the development process was like watching sausage being made. Many core team members thought MER would never make it to launch and landing. Yet, due to incredible hard work and flexibility, and a good deal of luck, the team muscled the two MER spacecraft to the launch pad. In this presentation, Rob Manning discusses some of the hard systems engineering lessons learned in developing MER.

The Evolving Organization of Knowledge Work

Speaker — Professor Paul Adler began his education in Australia and moved to France in 1974. He received his doctorate in economics and management there while working as a research economist for the French government. He came to the United States in 1981, and before arriving at University of Southern California in 1991, he was affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Columbia University, the Harvard Business School, and Stanford’s School of Engineering. His research and teachings focus on organization theory and design; strategic management and human resource management in research and development; and engineering, software, health care, and manufacturing operations. He has worked on the associated issues with many organizations.Abstract — What form of organization best supports the work of knowledgeable experts cooperating on projects in rapidly changing environments? Cases evidence and theory point to two conclusions. First, this kind of work requires a strong sense of community so contributors can trust each other. The two other main principles of organization — market (financial incentives and competition) and bureaucracy (authority and procedures) — are useful, but in the knowledge-work context they are ineffectual without a strong foundation of community. Second, the kind of community needed today is very different from the traditional form; instead of traditional community based on loyalty, the new work requires a new form of community we call “collaborative.”

Throughout human history people have cooperated with others who were like them and were part of shared long-term communities where personal reputations were well known. For decades, many of our most effective organizations fostered this kind of community, adding the muscle of loyalty to the skeleton provided by the formal bureaucratic structure. Loyalty similarly added robustness to market relations with key suppliers and customers. Recent trends in industry have seriously compromised the effectiveness of these arrangements. Within organizations, people are asked increasingly to cross boundaries of functions, divisions, and levels within organizations — to work with people they don’t know well and who are very different from themselves. Between organizations, too, the network of ties is changing ever more rapidly, and it is broadening to encompass new organizations often based in different national cultures.

Many organizations in recent years have reacted to these challenges by casting aside community. They have restructured to strengthen bureaucratic controls and they have sharpened financial incentives, and in the process they have destroyed trust. These approaches tend to generate fear and competition rather than cooperation and openness. When such organizations attempt to bring different kinds of knowledge and skill together to solve problems, the absence of trust undercuts the knowledge sharing the work demands.

Our research suggests that organizations best meet these new challenges not by abandoning community but by reconstructing it along more “collaborative” lines. This new form is more flexible and less insular than a loyaltybased community. It is distinguished by its organization, which supports horizontal interdependence rather than relying on top-down control or autonomous self-interest guided by financial incentives; by its values, which emphasize interdependent contribution to a collective purpose instead of loyalty or reliability; and by the social character of its members, which is more comfortable with interdependence than with dependence on fixed roles and status or with the independence of the cowboy or the hacker.

Collaboration Challenges in the NASA Community

Speaker — David N. Jacobson is the manager of the Exploration Systems Development Projects Office within the Science and Missions Systems Directorate at Marshall Space Flight Center. Over the past three years he has been the integration manager within the Space Transportation Programs/Projects Office and was part of the leadership team for NASA’s X-37 project. During the past year, Mr. Jacobson has been the Marshall lead for the collaboration initiative with Glenn Research Center (GRC).He joined NASA in 1987 in the Systems Analysis and Integration Laboratory after five years with McDonnell Douglas working the Spacelab Program. In August 2003, Mr. Jacobson was integration manager in the Architecture Office of the Orbital Space Plane (OSP). His numerous NASA awards and honors include the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the NASA Acquisition Improvement Award, and the NGST Excellence Award. Mr. Jacobson earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Auburn University and a master’s in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida. He has also completed coursework in the Engineering Management Masters/PhD program at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Abstract — NASA’s history is filled with “independent” Centers that all lead, support, and collaborate with other Centers, though successful collaboration stories might seem elusive. This was especially prevalent between Marshall Space Flight Center and Glenn Research Center in June 2005. Marshall had gained a leading role with the Crew Launch Vehicle, and its unfunded workforce was being reduced quickly. Glenn was hungry for work with approximately 500–700 unfunded employees and no definable roles within the exploration program. With Mike Griffin’s challenge to create ten healthy Centers, Marshall and Glenn had a unique opportunity to change the independent nature in which Centers had collaborated in the past.

Although both Marshall and Glenn had worked successfully with each other and with other Centers in the past, several areas of contention still existed between them. The administrator’s challenge kicked off more than a year’s effort to define roles within the exploration program that benefited both Centers (particularly Glenn with its large unfunded workforce) and provided value to the Agency. The result not only brought the Centers closer together but also influenced key Agency decisions, and it established Glenn as the element lead supporting Johnson Space Center for the Service Module.

This effort was not without its challenges, which will be presented along with our observations and lessons learned. Your thoughts and feedback on how we can better collaborate with our fellow Centers and improve NASA as a collective Agency are encouraged.

The Viking GCMS Instrument Case Study


  • Formerly chairman and chief executive officer of the electronics firm nVIEW Corporation, Gus Guastaferro has extensive experience in technology management. He served as vice president with the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Company and was deputy director of Ames Research Center. He is experienced in project and program management with involvement in the Viking Mission to Mars and in Large Space Structures and also served as director of Planetary Programs while at NASA. Mr. Guastaferro held the first of three leadership management positions in the Viking Mars Mission that successfully landed two spacecraft on the planet in 1976. Currently he is consulting for NASA on future space systems and serving as Chair Emeritus of Hampton Roads Technology Council and Director, Virginia Technology Alliances. Mr. Guastaferro holds a BSME from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, an MBA from Florida State University, and an AMP from Harvard Business School.
  • Matt Kohut of InFact Communications is a member of the NASA Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL). He is responsible for the biweekly e-newsletter ASK OCE, APPEL’s case study initiative, and other communications projects. He has more than fifteen years of experience writing about scientific, technical, and quantitative subjects for both general and expert audiences.

Abstract — The primary objective of the Viking science mission was the stuff of dreams: to determine if there was evidence of life of Mars. One instrument that was critical to achieving the mission’s scientific objectives was a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GCMS).

The GCMS was actually two instruments — a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer — in one. Conducting gas chromatography and mass spectrometry in the laboratory was hard enough. In the early 1970s, building such an instrument as even a lab model required experts who could keep up with the latest developments in the field, since the science was changing on an almost-daily basis. The GCMS that Dr. Klaus Biemann, the leader of the molecular organic analysis team, had at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the size of a room; its human operator could literally walk through it. Shrinking the instrument to a mass of less than 15 kilograms that could fit in a 1’x1’x1′ box on a spacecraft, operate robotically, and survive the rigors of both the journey and the Martian atmosphere presented myriad challenges.

Viking Project Manager Jim Martin of Langley Research Center had assigned the development of a GCMS prototype to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in August 1968. JPL had responsibility for developing, fabricating, and testing a lightweight, portable “breadboard” (experimental model) of the GCMS before the selecting a contractor to build the flight hardware.

The arrangement did not function as smoothly as Martin had expected. In September 1970, the head of the working group in charge of overseeing Viking’s scientific payloads told Martin that the GCMS was a “stepchild” not getting proper supervision. Viking’s project scientists, who had years of research tied up in this development, also voiced their displeasure over the progress JPL had made with the instrument. In the fall of 1971, Martin placed the GCMS development on his “Top Ten Problems” list. It was not at all clear that the instrument would be completed in time for launch. He had to devise a more proactive management approach to bring this instrument back into the fold.

Fundamental "Truths": What My Career at NASA Has Taught Me


  • Don Cohen is Managing Editor of APPEL’s ASK Magazine, devoted to stories of project management and engineering excellence and insights into organizational knowledge and learning. Mr. Cohen’s articles on organizational knowledge and social capital have appeared in Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Knowledge Management, Knowledge and Process Management, and other journals. He created and edited Groundwork, the newsletter of the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation knowledge management program, and Knowledge Directions, the journal of the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management. With Laurence Prusak, he is co-author of In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work. With Robert Putnam and Lewis Feldstein, he researched and wrote Better Together: Restoring the American Community, published by Simon & Schuster. He has worked with colleagues Laurence Prusak and Alvin Jacobson on a project (sponsored by CAF, the Andean development bank) to apply organizational knowledge and social capital principles to economic development in several Latin American countries. He is currently a research associate with Babson College’s Working Knowledge program Mr. Cohen has received a BA and MPhil in English from Yale University.
  • Formerly chairman and chief executive officer of the electronics firm nVIEW Corporation, Gus Guastaferro has extensive experience in technology management. He served as vice president with the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Company and was deputy director of Ames Research Center. He is experienced in project and program management with involvement in the Viking Mission to Mars and in Large Space Structures and also served as director of Planetary Programs while at NASA. Mr. Guastaferro held the first of three leadership management positions in the Viking Mars Mission that successfully landed two spacecraft on the planet in 1 976. Currently he is consulting for NASA on future space systems and serving as Chair Emeritus of Hampton Roads Technology Council and Director, Virginia Technology Alliances. Mr. Guastaferro holds a BSME from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, an MBA from Florida State University, and an AMP from Harvard Business School.
  • Dr. Jerry Mulenburg retired from NASA in 2006 with more than twenty-five years of distinguished service. As a project manager for NASA life sciences, his accomplishments include the development and patenting of NASA’s Human Powered Centrifuge, used for researching the effects of weightlessness, and he holds a second patent for a unique food cup used in nutritional studies. Dr. Mulenburg held positions as assistant division chief for Life Sciences and division chief of the Ames Aeronautics and Space Flight Hardware Development Division and of Wind Tunnel Operations. A former Air Force Officer, he is a Project Management Institute Project Management Professional and a trained MBTI administrator, and he currently teaches project management at the university graduate and undergraduate levels. He also provides training in project management as an independent consultant. Dr. Mulenburg’s doctoral research developed an understanding of the characteristics that make NASA project managers successful, published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international project management conferences and symposia. His undergraduate degree is in aero-mechanical engineering, and he holds master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and systems management and a doctorate degree in business administration.

Abstract — There is no substitute for learning from experience. Formal education establishes a necessary foundation of basic skills and information, but much of the truth about how work really happens never finds its way into textbooks. Only doing the job and watching others do it provides the real-world know-how that skilled engineers, managers, and scientists need.

This informal conversation with two NASA veterans will highlight lessons that their long, varied careers have taught them. Between them, Dr. Jerry Mulenburg and Gus Guastaferro have worked in industry and the military and have distinguished records of management and project management at NASA in areas ranging from aeronautics to space flight and planetary exploration. Through their writing and speaking, they have given a younger generation of NASA employees the benefit of their extensive experience.

ASK Magazine Managing Editor Don Cohen interviews Jerry and Gus about what they have learned from their NASA careers. Among the questions are:

  • What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your career?
  • What is the worst mistake you ever made and how did you recover from it?
  • What lessons from the past are most important to the success of NASA’s new space exploration mission?
In Good Company: Building Social Capital

Speaker — Laurence (Larry) Prusak is Editor-in-Chief of APPEL’s ASK Magazine, and he is a researcher and consultant and was the founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Knowledge Management (IKM). This was a global consortium of member organizations engaged in advancing the practice of knowledge management through action research. Mr. Prusak has had extensive experience in helping organizations work with their information and knowledge resources. He has also consulted with many U.S. and overseas government agencies and international organizations (NGOs). He currently co-directs “Working Knowledge,” a knowledge research program at Babson College, where he is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence.Abstract — A noted authority in his field, Mr. Prusak has lectured and been published widely. His most recent book publications include co-editing Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning (Oxford University Press, 2005) and co-authoring Storytelling in Organizations (Elsevier, 2004). His publications also include “The World Is Round” (Harvard Business Review, March 2006); “The Costs of Knowledge” (Harvard Business Review, November 2006); What’s the Big Idea (Harvard Business School Press, 2003), co-authored with Tom Davenport; and In Good Company: How Social Capital Makes Organizations Work (Harvard Business School Press, 2001), co-authored with Don Cohen. He holds a BA in history from Long Island University, an MS in information science from Simmons College, and an MA in economic and social history from New York University (where he completed all the examinations and course work toward a PhD).

Many organizations, as well as countries and regions, feel that accumulating knowledge in some form will give them an advantage without doing much else. Unfortunately for them and for the world, this proves to be untrue. In spite of Tom Freidman and others who think that access to information will provide a type of knowledge convergence, research and history show this not at all to be the case. Knowledge, to be effectively used or applied within any collective body, is deeply entangled with the social capital of an organization. Social capital is usually taken to mean the returns to a collective body based on the social values and practices it “possesses.” The main pieces of it are trust between members, durability and richness of network ties, and social norms and values. Knowledge collaboration and development are strongly tied to these forces and they need to be understood for knowledge to be ultimately effective.

RS-68 Engine Development Program: A Lean Retrospective

Speaker — Anthony (Tony) Eastland joined Rocketdyne in 1982 and worked as an engineering analyst and manager in Fluid Dynamic Analysis of Turbomachinery for fourteen years. From 1996 to 1999, he was project manager for two special process improvement projects implementing Enterprise Process and Data Management (EPDM) and a concurrent engineering infrastructure. Currently, as director of engineering operations, Mr. Eastland is responsible for Canoga Park’s Configuration and Data Management, Engineering Administration and Planning, and Library Services processes. He continues to have project management responsibility for EPDM. Mr. Eastland has a BA in engineering science from Oxford University, an SM in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Certificate in program management from West Coast University.Abstract — The RS-68 is a hydrogen/oxygen liquid rocket engine. It was developed to be the booster engine for the Delta IV launch vehicle and is successfully fulfilling that mission. A derivative of the engine is currently proposed as the booster engine for the Ares V Cargo Launch Vehicle in the Vision for Space Exploration architecture. The engine was designed and developed between 1996 and 2001, and it achieved significant reductions in both nonrecurring and recurring costs; in particular, the test-fail-fix cycle that has been such a large portion of previous engine development programs was reduced by a factor of tem. These successes were due to both a robust design philosophy that stressed cost and simplicity over performance and the significant design and development process improvements that had been made over the previous decade.

This presentation highlights the contributing improvements in the underlying design and development processes and will map key enablers to the high-level lean product definition principles of creating the right products, using efficient processes, and integrating the enterprise. In addition, it will assess where these process improvements were successful in eliminating some of the types of waste that have been identified in product definition processes and will suggest where further improvements are needed.

Lessons from the DART Mishap


  • Garry Lyles is currently the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) chief engineer. His responsibilities include broad technical cognizance, insight, and oversight of all ESMD programs and responsibility to establish, approve, and maintain technical requirements, processes, and policy. ESMD is responsible for directing the design and development of new capabilities necessary to achieve the nation’s new exploration vision — human and robotic missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.
  • Dr. Fred Bickley works in the Upper Stage Project Office at Marshall Space Flight Center. He began his career with NASA in the Materials and Processes Laboratory at Marshall in 1984. Dr. Bickley recently completed a detail to NASA Headquarters, where he supported the Office of the Chief Engineer and the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in developing requirements. He has twenty-one years’ experience in engineering and project management and holds a BS in chemistry from the University of Alabama, a PhD in materials engineering from Auburn University, and an MBA from MIT.

Abstract — On April 15, 2005, the Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) spacecraft was successfully deployed from a Pegasus XL rocket launched from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. DART was designed to rendezvous with and perform a variety of maneuvers in close proximity to the Multiple Paths, Beyond-Line-of-Sight Communications (MUBLCOM) satellite without assistance (autonomously) from ground personnel. During proximity operations, the spacecraft used more propellant than expected and began a series of departure and retirement maneuvers before achieving the main mission objectives. It was later determined that DART had collided with MUBLCOM before initiating retirement.

The findings of the Mishap Investigation Board pointed to root causes that may have applicability to future NASA projects in areas of budget and risk, training and experience, lessons learned analysis, systems engineering, schedule pressure, technical insight, risk management, and peer review. Even though DART was classified as a high-risk, low-budget technology flight demonstration, the root causes of the mishap have far-ranging implications and deserve serious consideration. The DART investigation results are presented with emphasis on lessons for future programs and projects. An animated flight reconstruction is used to describe the DART mishap. Examples of the process used by the investigation board to arrive at root cause are also shown. The mishap board’s recommendations are presented with discussions of actions currently being implemented.

Transform Wisdom into Action: Becoming a Reflective Practitioner


  • Dr. Ed Hoffman is responsible for the development of program and project leaders and teams within NASA, including the development of a comprehensive program and project management training curriculum, consulting services for project management teams, lessons learned, knowledge capture, and research and special studies on program and project management. He works both within NASA and externally with leaders of industry, academia, and other government agencies to enhance capabilities in program and project management.
  • Kerry Ellis is the Technical Editor for ASK Magazine. ASK, or Academy Sharing Knowledge, grew out of APPEL’s Knowledge Sharing Initiative and is considered NASA’s source for project management and engineering excellence. She recently joined APPEL after four years of editing, layout, and production experience in newspaper and book publishing.

Abstract — Sharing knowledge has proven an effective way to teach others those hard-earned lessons we once had to experience for ourselves. Often it can be difficult to figure out what it is we know and should pass on to the next generation, and the best way to pass on that knowledge can be an even tougher challenge. One medium that has proven effective is storytelling. Dr. Ed Hoffman talks about what a story is and is not and why this venue is important for transforming wisdom into action. He will also share an example of good storytelling, after which Kerry Ellis will facilitate an exercise for participants to share their own stories.



Of the 43 participants who provided written feedback 100% reported that the content was relevant to their jobs and 95% reported that their knowledge and skills increased.

“This forum has reinvigorated my drive and desire to work at NASA. The knowledge level and motivation of the participants encourages me to work harder at my own job.
When asked what they learned that would be most valuable to success on the job, participants most frequently mentioned the following. (The number in parentheses indicates the number of people who gave the response.)

  • Concept of social capital (10)
  • Networking/lessons learned sessions (9)
  • Ideas on how to collaborate/network (8)
  • Importance of trust and social norms (5)
  • Value or importance of social capital or social networking (5)

Other responses included:

  • Reinforcement
  • Reminder of project management practices
  • Understanding the world from a NASA viewpoint
  • Importance of knowledge sharing

Plans for Continued Learning and Action

Participants identified actions that they or others could take to build on the knowledge and skills gained. They intend to continue reading about the concepts and to incorporate them into their practices increasing communicating, network and knowledge sharing. They mentioned finding ways to incorporate knowledge sharing within projects and Centers and working to build communities and trust. Action plans run the gamut from reading to introducing weekly socials or Center training sessions to reviewing job assignments, providing personnel with more opportunities for growth and knowledge sharing to plans for building trust within projects and with international partners.