NASAsphere: Innovative Solutions & KM Practices

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
20080922KMWORLDCelesteMerryman.jpgCeleste Merryman, whom I had the pleasure to meet at the NASA Aerospace KM conference two years ago, is presenting along with Tim Young, CEO of Socialcast (a microblogging tool).

First up, Tim Young.

Millenials - grew up in P2P world. Anyone can be a peer to anyone. They also pinpoint information in a significantly different way than other generations. How does this impact those people entering the workforce today? How must we as the current generation of knowledge workers deal with this? How can we respond? What do we need to know?

Many org charts are broken: The organization structure is no longer in alignment with the communication structure.

Asynchronous communications - well versed. Breaks down knowledge silos.

For many Gen Y, E-Mail is bad. Very bad. Moved to low friction small payload messages. e.g. microblogging. It allows them to build their own workplace peripheral vision based on what matters to them.

Silos are evil.

Gen Y - little information, big network.
Older workers - lots of information & experience.

Mentoring & pairing of Gen Y with older workers (like me).

Celeste is a KM leader for CSC, focused on their client, JPL. She's sharing her experience piloting social networking inside NASA for knowledge networking.

Brief history of NASA. Founded October 1, 1958.

"Constellation" is the program that is preparing to return us the moon and visit Mars.

Key KM Pain Points for NASA

Geographically Dispersed Workers
Aging Workforce (Many projects span a number of years. NASA will lose many people before their projects even launch)
Mission Transition

Celeste Created NASAsphere as a way to evaluate social networking. Began with her social network (78 people) which grew to ~300 people.

Great logo: and tag line: Socializing, Innovating, Inventing

That sets the theme to use the tool to focus on innovation.

She found the following benefits to Social Networking from her pilot:

1. Accelerates peer to peer communication and problem solving, creating peer-to-peer communications capability.
2. Captured individual knowledge worker know how for reuse by many, creating collective intelligence
3. Created peer-to-peer communication in context, deepening understanding for decision-making.

Radar O'Reilly Effect: People who know everyone and every thing. Problem: Say they have 18 years of experience with NASA. We rely on them, BUT, they may also have 8 WEEKS of vacation! What happens to the organization when they take their vacation?

NASAsphere is a topic-based microblogging type of social network. You pose questions to the group and anyone can respond. The knowledge is captured and can be reused.

How NASA used Social networking for Business:

Presenting & vetting ideas to NASA's collective intelligence
Enhancing employee directory with interests, expertise, and contact information.

During pilot, 79 questions posted by 49 unique individuals. 94 unique people posted over 500 responses. (So, a lot of support.) 93% of answers posted by people not at the originating NASA center. (Shows potential for cross site collaboration)

NASAsphere Pilot experience

Easy to use
Easy to grow
Easy to manage
Easy to integrate

Some suggestions for a successful Social Networking Pilot:

1. Set expectations for participants
2. Set rules of engagement
3. Give them a task
4. Allow them to invite work colleagues
See what happens...

Q. "How did you facilitate the reuse of the knowledge captured?"
A. Provided through search tool; knowledge stays inside the application.

Q. Does it autosugest based on past answers.
A. No, this is a social network tool.

Discussion/Comments (2):

NASAsphere: Innovative Solutions & KM Practices

Thanks for the recap Eric. I forgot to mention you can get the slides at { Link } . Speaker notes will come soon.

Posted at 09/25/2008 8:53:02 by Celeste Merryman

re: NASAsphere: Innovative Solutions & KM Practices

Thanks, Celeste, I enjoyed the presentation.

Are you using Lotus Notes? if so, you may be interested in reclaiming 30 minutes a day with eProductivity. Http;// Happy to send you a key.

Posted at 09/29/2008 20:19:05 by Eric Mack

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