Success stories are always great things to hear.  NASA has for quite a while now championed the need to have KM ingrained in everything that they do.

Listed below is an extract on what KM means to them and how it helps them achieve new milestones, in the race to further our knowledge and understanding of the universe.

What does KM mean to NASA?

Knowledge management is getting the right information to the right people at the right time, and helping people create knowledge and share and act upon information in ways that will measurably improve the performance of NASA and its partners. For NASA this means delivering the systems and services that will help our employees and partners get the information they need to make better decisions. There are three priority areas where KM systems and processes can help NASA’s ability to deliver its missions:

  1. To sustain NASA’s knowledge across missions and generations - KM activities will identify and capture the information that exists across the Agency.
  2. To help people find, organize, and share the knowledge we already have - KM processes will help to efficiently manage the Agency’s knowledge resources.
  3. To increase collaboration and to facilitate knowledge creation and sharing - The Knowledge Management Team will develop techniques and tools to enable teams and communities to collaborate across the barriers of time and space.

Read more about their KM program here.

What would this future working environment be like?

Imagine yourself in a future knowledge-enabled NASA You have a great idea for an Earth-orbiting satellite that will seek out and collect 10% of all on-orbit debris, chemically bonding it to the satellite, thereby making shuttle and Space Station operations safer and delivering a significant cost savings to the tracking operations at the Deep Space Network. You see an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) and decide to submit a proposal. You already have a group of folks you know would be good; some at NASA Centers, a clear industry partner, and researchers at universities in Russia and Canada. At the kickoff videoconference for the AO, you were given access to the Program and Project Management portal, which gave you many of the collaborative capabilities you need to work with your team.

As you start working online, you realize you also need to involve a chemist. The portal links you to a directory of experts across NASA, you narrow your search to a chemist at Goddard who has recent experience on a flight instrument; you can read her publications and see the notes and webcast video clips from an international workshop she recently led.

You want to send out some information to your team, so you go to the portal and establish an online forum for ideas on the technology innovation and set up a robotic agent to search for articles and postings on chemical bonding. You really need to talk to your team face-to-face, so you schedule a desktop videoconference for your team and DSN and shuttle experts (you found the experts in the directory and can schedule across everyone’s calendar), then you reserve a room and time for a working meeting at Langley for a follow up discussion. You see your team members putting up lots of ideas and many postings coming from the “knowbot” agent, it’s like having extra people researching for you!