with individuals during visits to NASA Centers and Headquarters by the
CK Process Team validated that NASA employees truly believe in NASA's
vision statement: "NASA is an investment in America's future.
As explorers, pioneers, and innovators, we boldly expand frontiers
in air and space to inspire and serve America and to benefit
the quality of life on Earth." They also validated that most employees
understand that an effective CK Process is essential to attaining that
- The primary finding was that
there are some exemplary CK activities already taking place within NASA
and some of the other Agencies visited. The team members discerned a
technical workforce comprehension of the need to show the relevance
of their scientific endeavors to the American public. These exemplary
CK activities are driven by professional incentives, contractual obligations,
official policies, or personal commitments that are frequently carried
out on personal time. NASA's Space Act charter, specifying that it disseminate
its information to the public, provided an impetus to communicate knowledge
unavailable to other Government Agencies.
- Although much work is currently
being done to communicate knowledge, the potential is for NASA to do
significantly better in providing a process, monitoring the output,
examining the outcome, and widely publicizing the results.
- NASA's CK efforts follow numerous
and mostly ad hoc processes. There are perceived and real impediments,
including inadequate funding and travel budget, as well as a lack of
management support, guidance, time, or incentive for accomplishment.
A formal process is needed, which can then be improved.
- The Agency needs to set policy
and provide guidance detailing knowledge-communicating techniques in
the form of a NASA Policy Directive (NPD) and a NASA Policy Guide (NPG).
- Although the team did not
find a consistent CK Process across the NASA Centers or at Headquarters,
the other Government or Government-sponsored entities sampled had formal
pieces of what the team defined as the CK Process. For example, the
Naval Research Laboratory, the Sandia National Laboratories, and the
RTTC's and NTTC have a very well-defined and implemented technology
transfer process. The Space Science Telescope Institute has a very thorough
formal process for educational outreach.
- Within NASA, data bases were
inconsistently assigned, maintained, and archived, such that many could
not be located without the knowledge of the scientist or technologist.
- There are many excellent technical
publications published at Headquarters and the Centers. If a publication
presented "knowledge" and provided a way for the reader to
contact someone who could answer questions, it was considered a CK instrument.
Center Director Discretionary Fund Reports are examples of this classification
- Not surprisingly, the CK Process
worked best when it included (a) a formal Communications Plan, (b) resources
directed for implementing the Communications Plan, and (c) top management
- Exemplary CK practices were
observed at every site visited. These were practices that showed innovation
or extra effort applied to the typical Center functions for the offices
mentioned earlier. The CK Process Team was initially reluctant to list
these host practices as best without further analysis. Because one of
the prime reasons for the CK Process Team effort in this report was
to provide assistance to those engaged in the CK Process, it was agreed
to list best practices in Appendix D and subsequently in a data base.
In a central data base created at NASA Headquarters, each Center CK
Process Owner will become the manager of all best practices performed
at that Center.
Each one has the right to share in the knowledge and understanding which