Best Communicate Knowledge Practices
Best practices from each site that the team visited are listed in this appendix. Those listed are not all of the best practices observed, nor are they necessarily the very best practices of those at each Center. They were selected as a virtual mosaic of the range of best practices. This list also introduces some of the categories that can be used in presenting data bases on the CK Process in the future: Management, Partnerships, Technology Transfer, Science Transfer, Education, Public Affairs, Archives/Data Bases, and Communications.
Best Management CK Practices
Within NASA, the best management practices for the CK Process are: (1) the inclusion of the CK function in position descriptions; (2) the inclusion of specific elements in the outreach activity knowledge generator's performance plan; (3) the provision of an award incentive for conducting the process; (4) the inclusion of outreach as a requirement in grant solicitations and proposals; (5) the development of dedicated outreach specialists; (6) the assignment of an outreach coordinator for each project; (7) teamwork among scientists, technologists, engineers, and public affairs personnel; (8) the availability of written internal processes for the CK Process; (9) advance planning for goals and messages for target audiences; (10) regular contact with the public affairs office for communication with the general public; (11) funding allocations for the CK Process in programs; (12) the development of metrics for outreach activities; and (13) assistance to external organizations.
At the Marshall Space Flight Center, a process resulting from the recommendations of the NASA Headquarters Science Communication Working Group has evolved. Its success is attributed to strong management support and to having a process owner. Funding is provided by Center project offices/managers. The public affairs and technology transfer offices are engaged as appropriate when CK messages are identified that lend themselves to such vehicles as press releases. Customers are defined in advance. An external science writer is hired to clarify scientific translation as needed. All web communications are done at the 8th-grade level. Web home pages on each subject are linked to share information effectively.
The Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute is composed of such professionals as educators, scientists, public affairs specialists, and information service experts. They collaborate with the user community as an idealized integrated product team. The outreach process and the scientific process are conducted concurrently. There is dedicated funding and great support from NASA Headquarters and the Goddard Space Flight Center, the sponsoring Center.
At the Naval Research Laboratory, the Deputy Director, Dr. Timothy Coffey, chairs a board that decides which research initiatives will be approved. He routinely asks the proposer: "If you are successful beyond your wildest dreams, who will use it?" The answer to this question is instrumental in evaluating the technical merit of the proposal.
At the Lewis Research Center, a flywheel research program is creating a next-generation energy storage device that is more efficient than batteries. Lewis has awarded several small research contracts to flywheel companies through Boeing, to ensure that the International Space Station prime contractor is cognizant of the progress. The flywheel companies are interested in applying the technology to use in automobiles to satisfy stringent clean air standards, which provides an added incentive to the contractors to communicate the outcome of research.
Best Partnership CK Practices
Partnerships and consortia are used by organizations to pool resources for research, development, and operations. Communicating capabilities are compounded through partnerships by budget integration. Partnerships show promise for the future in an environment of limited resources. The CK Process Team found many examples of excellent partnerships, of which the following are representative.
The National Rotorcraft Technology Center at the Ames Research Center is a Government-industry-university partnership to maintain American preeminence in rotorcraft technology. The partnership plans to expand the world rotorcraft market, expand the U.S. industry market share, and ensure continued superiority in American military rotorcraft through the partnership. This new method of doing business is characterized by: (1) joint program management and execution; (2) a single industry focal point; (3) coordination with academia; (4) strategic guidance from senior executives of Government, industry, and academia; (5) identification of customer needs; (6) Government-industry cost sharing; (7) Government-university cost sharing; (8) joint use of facilities, expertise, research results, and intellectual property rights; and (9) rapid technology transition.
VERS (Virtual Environment for Reconstructive Surgery) is a collaborative project between Ames and the Department of Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University. The partnership helps surgeons organize facial reconstruction procedures on patients through the use of a computer, creating a virtual environment for surgeons to simulate and plan an operation. Their customers are the National Institutes of Health, the medical community, and NASA's Earth Science Enterprise.
Ecological research and environmental impact studies are also conducted through intergovernmental collaboration. A joint effort of the Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Sea World of Florida has generated survey data for trends of habitat use and preference manatee in the Banana River.
The Global Hydrology and Climate Center (GHCC) at the Marshall Space Flight Center shares a partnership with NASA, the universities in Alabama, and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA). Climate variation in the Southeast of the United States is assessed to generate information and knowledge for farmers, urban planners, and organizations responsible for forestry. GHCC also has successful education partnerships, such as the Regional Earth System Science Outreach and International Earth System Science Partnerships.
CK is greatly facilitated by creating educational partnerships to address NASA missions and to share NASA's research, technology, and expertise with students. To do this, NASA personnel at the Commercial Remote Sensing Program at the Stennis Space Center are working with students at Thomas Jefferson High School, Alexandria, Virginia; W. P. Daniel High School, New Albany, Mississippi; Wheat Ridge High School, Colorado; and Glenbrook Middle School, California.
Sandia National Laboratories employees believe that "only through strategic partnerships can Sandia be successful in providing exceptional service in the national interest." Sandia uses market research to determine partnership needs at the beginning of a project rather than making presentations subsequent to project development. For partnerships, Sandia uses such mechanisms as licenses, leave-of-absences, publications and conferences, personnel exchanges, user facilities, commercial work for others, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA), consortia, memoranda of agreement, and technical assistance. Sandia uses business development processes for science and technology partnerships. The principles guiding their technology transfer are the following: (1) to provide for fairness of opportunity, (2) to contribute to U.S. competitiveness, (3) to contribute to the Department of Energy mission impact, (4) to manage conflict of interest, (5) to protect national security, and (6) to avoid competition with the private sector.
Advanced General Aviation Technology Experiments (AGATE) is another example of a best practice in partnership with industry. A strategic alliance, AGATE is a cooperative arrangement that engages both Government and the private sector in a shared research objective to revitalize the general aviation industry. The AGATE membership includes approximately 70 separate related entities. The joint pursuit of technology advances and standards is strengthening the general aviation industry and its operations today. NASA, with respect to general aviation, is not only communicating its technological knowledge, but also leveraging capabilities, by drawing strength from its members to frame the industry for tomorrow.
Houston, Texas, and Washington, D.C., are benefiting from NASA's communication of knowledge on global positioning systems (GPS). The Johnson Space Center is providing technical assistance to a consultant perfecting the GPS used to guide ships into the Port of Houston channel. Johnson volunteered its engineering employees and laboratory resources to improve the contractor technology that supplies compass direction and positioning information for the ships. NASA is also engaged in a GPS space navigation project with Mayflower, an engineering firm based in Washington, D.C., under NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This project uses GPS technology to provide the relative position for two spacecraft coming together at centimeter-level accuracy.
Best Technology Transfer CK Practices
The technology transfer function on the CK spectrum probably exhibited the most developed integrated communications capability at NASA and the other Federal laboratories. Technology transfer accomplishments cannot always be widely communicated if there are special intellectual property rights established at the onset of the program. In the SBIR, Incubator, and Commercial Space programs, Congress gives Government knowledge specifically to small businesses. The NTTC and the RTTC are used to find the appropriate technology transfer CK mechanisms. Their role is not as a broker entitled to a commission, but as a facilitator supporting small business development through institutional funding.
The Lewis Research Center organizes business and industry summits to showcase NASA's best minds, technologies, capabilities, and facilities to customers, stakeholders, and decision makers. They communicate NASA's expertise through numerous displays, tours, technical publications, and discussions with staff. World-class facilities with testing capabilities, innovative technologies, and the efforts of prestigious scientists and technologists increase stakeholder value and maximize technology transfer.
At the Marshall Space Flight Center, a Productivity Enhancement Complex places appropriate disciplines, skills, and contractors where technological opportunities can be quickly evaluated. The organization's Technology Opportunity Fliers are attractive and concise, enabling entrepreneurs to gauge technological possibilities easily.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed three forums to accomplish technology transfer: (1) a Commercialization and Licensing Workshop featuring a history of JPL and commercialization, the latest results from JPL's current spacecraft missions, and presentations by several JPL partners on the successful production and marketing of space-themed products; (2) a JPL Industry Day featuring comprehensive briefings on future plans and networking, creating a forum for the exchange of information as well as opportunities to learn the major technological innovations in hardware and software development; and (3) a conference targeting women entrepreneurs, presenting speakers as well as panels and workshops investigating state-of-the-art technologies, entrepreneurial success strategies, business site selection strategies, financing, marketing trends, management, and related topics of interest to business owners.
One effective way of transferring technology is to transfer equipment so that the receiver can get immediate use. The Dryden Flight Research Center provided surplus Convair-990 equipment to Goodyear Aviation, giving the company an opportunity to incorporate new technology into its products and services immediately.
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) regards technology transfer as a statutory requirement, leveraging opportunity, and problem-solving opportunity for industry. A project champion is assigned for commercialization of all developed technology. NRL utilizes licensing of patented intellectual properties, CRADA's, the Research and Technology Application Program, and a visiting scientist and engineering program to accomplish the transfer. NRL identifies technology ready for transition, develops a strategy, and finds a partner. SIC codes from Dun and Bradstreet are used for targeting companies. To NRL, a successful partnership is one in which the commercialization pathway is defined and understood, partners respect each other's contribution, there is a shared commitment, decision makers are involved, and negotiations proceed promptly.
The NTTC has developed a series of training modules as CK mechanisms that are available to NASA and other Federal laboratories. NTTC programs employ nationally recognized experts in technology transfer throughout the design and development phases of its modules. Courses are written in-house by experienced designers working with experts from Federal laboratories, universities, industry, and professionals associations. Training objectives and activities are designed to support adult learning based on current successful practices in the field. Case studies used in NTTC courses are taken from actual situations, provided and validated by expert practitioners from industry, universities, and successful Federal laboratories, and reviewed continually. Courses are facilitated only by expert practitioners with extensive hands-on experience.
The Mid-Atlantic RTTC assisted the Langley Research Center in marketing and developing the licensing strategy for Thunder technology. The RTTC identified potential market areas and organized an in-house workshop at Langley to inform prospective companies about the product and its potential in commercial markets. As a result, Langley has formed both a nonexclusive and exclusive license with Face International Corporation of Norfolk, Virginia, and has granted Virginia Power of Richmond an exclusive license for several NASA-owned technologies, including rights to pending patent applications for molded magnetic articles, loudspeakers, valves, pumps, and refrigerators.
At the Lewis Research Center, the HiTemp program tests temperature resistance in materials and structures for manufacturers, industry, and advanced materials programs. Lewis technology transfer representatives convene an annual conference of potential customers, where they distribute extensive documentation of the year's work. This effort has promoted understanding, ensuring effective and cost-effective CK distribution to industry. Lewis uses two types of technology transfer outreach. The first is the operation of the Great Lakes Industrial Technology Center, which informs potential customers on the availability of science and technology to provide technical assistance through reimbursable contracts. A second type of outreach at Lewis is business incubators. In a business incubator on a NASA site, a business interested in developing a technology is provided with working space and access to technical expertise, reimbursing NASA for consumables, but not for civil service salaries.
The Kennedy Space Center and the State of Florida jointly sponsor a network of high- technology small business incubators near the Center. The incubator network assists NASA with technology transfer by encouraging clients to license and develop NASA technologies, while State resources are made available to assist them with market and business systems development. Kennedy works closely with the incubator network to provide ready access to NASA technology and research information, which facilitates NASA's technology communications goals.
The Langley Research Center has a Technology Applications Group (TAG). The TAG looks for patented technology that can be licensed. To do this effectively, the TAG sends representatives to numerous trade conferences, sets up booths to display the patents, and talks with prospective licensees about applications. The TAG's are extremely successful at Langley, which has granted about half of all of the licenses given by NASA in recent years. Langley's incentive awards reinforce support for the initiative.
Best Science Transfer CK Practices
Scientists at the Centers who go beyond the traditional communications practices of preparing peer-reviewed journal articles and presentations at professional conferences: (1) provide easy access to a variety of CK products to various segments of the public; (2) create web sites for various audiences, including chat rooms for scientists and "Just for Kids" web sites; (3) create science advisor programs to communicate the latest scientific findings to students by conducting teacher workshops, mentoring teachers, and assisting the development of lesson plans.
The fatigue countermeasures program at the Ames Research Center has developed a presentation that has been given to 240 audiences in 16 countries to market its findings aggressively. Air crew safety will be positively impacted by this effort.
At the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Distributed Active Archive Center found Earth Science data customers by marketing their potential at conventions and conferences. Customers were found at the Public Health Service, which needs data to forecast epidemics and disasters and assist offshore fish farmers.
Best Education CK Practices
JPL developed an education outreach template for the life cycle of projects. This Education Outreach Resource and Development Guide describes events that need to transpire at each phase of a project. It includes information on education pedagogy, science standards, assessment, developers, product options, NASA policies, dissemination, and other items to enhance the understanding of outreach managers with current trends in education. The Deep Space Network used this guide to develop science and technology curricula with the Apple Valley School District and to create a program that uses a decommissioned Goldstone antenna (made available by the Stevenson-Wydler Act) to allow 8th-grade students in Detroit to conduct astronomical experiments.
Sandia National Laboratories involve technical professionals in K12 science education by providing scientists information on working effectively with students and teachers, conducting a student tour of work sites, and providing hands-on student activities. Sandia technical professionals support and collaborate with teachers, employ sound learning principles, develop age-appropriate activities, create activities that engage numerous senses of students, balance science process and content, hypothesize and test by experiment, demonstrate concern for safety and environment, build relationships, and solicit feedback.
The Earth Observing Commercial Applications Program at the Stennis Space Center, which expands the acceptance and use of remote-sensing technology in the marketplace, encourages its partner companies to publish articles on educational activities. These companies are also encouraged to publish in trade journals to educate the marketplace about their products.
The Classroom of the Future in Wheeling, West Virginia, has developed two educational, computer-based programs in which students can react in a virtual environment. This project also created a classroom where teachers can learn to use multimedia education techniques and developed a web-based environmental course for wide dissemination.
The Marshall Space Flight Center's Microgravity Research Office has developed user-friendly instructional materials on its microgravity programs to involve talented and interested students in the field. The student/teacher materials contain tutorial topics and hands-on activities illustrating scientific principles used in microgravity research and tied to the National Standards for K12 science and mathematics.
At the Dryden Flight Research Center, the Environment Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program worked with the Dryden Education Office, the Dryden Educator Resource Center, and the Aerospace Education Services program to develop a series of educator workshops and student programs in conjunction with the deployment of the Pathfinder aircraft to Kauai. Working in close collaboration with the Hawaii State Science Supervisor and local district officials on the islands of Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, more than 220 teachers were trained on the use of aeronautics and Earth systems science to support mathematics, science, and technology classroom activities. These teachers were then invited to bring their students to the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, to view the aircraft and science instruments (Airborne Real Time Imaging System and Digital Array Scanned Interferometer), and to interact with Pathfinder scientists and engineers and Pacific Missile Range Facility personnel.
The Stennis Space Center pioneered the Tri-State Education Initiative, which has received five "Hammer" awards. The initiative uses teacher workshops, student activities, technology, and curriculum supplements, as well as Federal, public, State, and private partnerships to reach America's educational systems. The initiative has been replicated in 14 States.
Best Public Affairs CK Practices
Exemplary public affairs practices performed throughout NASA include: (1) participating in fairs and conventions; (2) arranging unique opportunities, such as Galileo Family and Friends Night and Center open houses; (3) creating interactive Internet events, such as "On-Line from Jupiter," web chats, and award-winning web sites; (4) coordinating the daily release of print, video, photographic, and web site information and arranging interviews and press conferences; (5) developing and maintaining exhibits that almost continuously are displayed throughout the country; (6) proactively seeking and successfully reaching dozens of nonaerospace, specialized audiences each year for displays, speaking platforms, partnerships, and publication in journals; (7) providing media training for those presenting and talking to the public; (8) providing digital images on web sites for the public; (9) providing the opportunity for the public to visit and tour Centers; (10) supporting museums and planetariums; and (11) arranging 700 "live shots" in 1997, with the expectation of conducting 1,000 during 1998, providing NASA information to between 35 and 100 million viewers.
The Goddard Space Flight Center's Microwave Anistrophy Probe project worked with the New York Planetarium to provide an exhibit and video. The planetarium's request for information products was fulfilled efficiently and inexpensively using equipment that was a byproduct of the project to produce the CK products needed.
Media plans for the Pathfinder event on Mars began preparation 6 months before the landing date. The plan included developing logistics including staffing, developing web mirror sites, arranging for press housing, creating "sandboxes" for television backdrops, and making arrangements for NASA Television coverage. Public and press web sites, 50 mirror sites, corporate support, and the accommodation of 1,000 press personnel contributed to the event's success. Press staffing was drawn from public information officers from JPL as well as other Centers, volunteers, teachers, and students.
The Johnson Space Center takes advantage of local visitor attractions to place exhibits before large public audiences. On an ongoing basis, Johnson provides space hardware and artifacts to Space Center Houston for display to the public. This includes historic spacecraft, spacesuits, and new technology under development. Johnson has also provided special exhibits to the new Discovery Center at Moody Gardens, a tourist attraction in Galveston. The exhibits highlight space program achievements and current activities. Both arrangements benefit the public by sharing knowledge of historical and new NASA projects. They benefit the receiving organizations by attracting additional visitors.
Best Data Base CK Practices
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Strategic Information Management provides communication on Air Force-industry research and development. In cooperation with the Defense Technical Information Center, the laboratory developed a secure controlled-access Air Force Science and Technology World Wide Web site providing both Government and industry with Air Force requirements, planning documents, and points of contact. The web site includes public access, export-controlled, and sensitive unclassified information. Unclassified summaries and points of contact direct the web user to offline sources of classified information.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's Science and Technology Bulletin Board web site includes science and technology documents and reference materials, news and announcements, organizational information, points of contact, process improvement programs, related sites, and utility web sites. The TechConnect web site helps Government, industry, and academia contact Air Force technology experts, learn about potential technology transfer opportunities, accelerate the transition of technology, find information regarding a particular Air Force technology, and search for helpful Air Force technologies to solve specific problems.
The Ames Research Center researches information on how materials respond to atmospheric heating at very high speeds. Much of the research in aerothermodynamics, computational chemistry, arc jet testing, and materials science and technology is published in aerospace technology journals. An online data base is continually updated to provide the most extensive information source in the world on thermal protection materials.
The Kennedy Space Center's Life Sciences Data Archive contains data from space flight experiments and related ground-control studies. This searchable data base contains top-level information and pictures related to all NASA missions involving space life sciences. The information is written for the general public with an online glossary for scientific terms and with a digital image library, including photographs of Space Shuttle launches, Spacelab, and astronauts, as well as artist concepts. A "Just for Kids" section includes games and activities designed to teach children about space and space life sciences.
One of the best web sites is the Research Triangle Institute web site established by the Kennedy Space Center. Every report produced is available to the general public. The Fast Retrieval of Electronic Data system answers queries through the use of key terms. A data base firewall prevents restricted material from being accessed by the general public. A log-in system allows customers to track the progress of the research being conducted for them at the laboratory via the Internet.
The Dryden Flight Research Center provides an exemplary practice of archiving software technology in data bases at the NASA Software Technology Transfer Center (COSMIC). The Goddard Space Flight Center has an exemplary data processing site, the Distributed Active Archive Center, where raw data is translated to data sets and archived. Goddard also converts extensive data from web sites to CDROM's.
Sandia National Laboratories preserves unique knowledge. Before an experienced employee leaves Sandia, he is interviewed to capture his knowledge electronically. Experiences, information, and wisdom are preserved and indexed for electronic recall. Aspects of a major design review are also video recorded and archived for future use.
Best Communications CK Practices
Best practices in communication throughout NASA include: (1) forming working groups among Government, industry, and academia to create dialogue and issue resolution; (2) detailing individuals to other sites, such as Centers, space-related industries, and universities; (3) involving customers throughout the project, even co-locating personnel as needed; (4) developing representatives to establish and maintain constant communication with the customer; (5) conducting formal customer surveys before and after service; (6) establishing media training for communicators; (7) developing internal points of contact for systematic knowledge collection and distribution; and (8) holding internal, monthly mandatory meetings, alternating speakers to share information on work being done.
Sandia National Laboratories developed the concept of scientific "landscaping" for mapping and navigating knowledge. Scientific trends are represented as ripples, flows, peaks, and gorges on a three-dimensional map. The landscape can provide past trends and a understanding of unfolding trends. Who is doing what? Where is the leading edge? How might we improve science and technology investment strategies? The landscapes indicate to decision makers what is happening and not happening, by linking the context rather than the content of knowledge.
The Los Alamos National Laboratory publishes an electronic newspaper every day. It also makes internal memoranda for 400 managers available electronically to more than 10,000 employees.