Recommendations from the Communicate Knowledge
Process Team
 

A notable realization from the CK Process Team visits was that knowledge was communicated most effectively when NASA's CK functional office professionals collaborated with the scientist or technologist at the beginning of a science or technology project. If collaborations were done unilaterally on every project, NASA Headquarters could ensure a communications support system and a Communications Plan for every project. This would enable project metrics to be collected for the Enterprises on a yearly basis for the NASA Performance Plan, in fulfillment of the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. To create a system to manage this support function, the following organizational recommendations are made:

  1. A Headquarters CK Board of Directors reporting directly to the Administrator, chaired by the CK Process Owner, will be formed and consist of Enterprise Associate Administrators or their Deputies and key functional Associate Administrators. The board will assist the Agency Process Owner in policy coordination and oversight of the Agency's CK Process.
  2. A Headquarters CK Working Group will be formed to assist the Process Owner. The group will periodically convene meetings to apply metrics, implement policy, monitor policy, and integrate Communications Plans and will be composed of representation from:
    • NASA CK Process Owner
    • Enterprises
    • Legislative affairs
    • Public affairs
    • Education
    • History/policy and plans
    • Scientific and technical information
    • Technology transfer
    • Data base administration
    • Library
    • Records management
  3. The Agency Process Owner will provide a web-based data base for "best practices" to be subsequently updated by the Center Process Owners.
  4. Every Center Director will appoint a full-time Center CK Process Owner to lead an Integrated Process Team. This person will be responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing a Center CK Process, accumulating results of CK activities for Headquarters and directly reporting to the Center Director. He or she will also be the gatekeeper for adding communications practices from that Center to an Agency data base, including the best practices data base.
  5. In consultation with the Center Process Owner, every Center Director will appoint a number of "subject matter experts" as part of an Integrated Communications Team to meet with and advise the scientist or technologist on how to communicate effectively with various audiences at various stages of the project activity. Representation from the following offices is suggested:
    • Project office (project director/knowledge generator)
    • Public affairs
    • Education
    • History
    • Scientific and technical information
    • Technology transfer
    • Data base administration
    • Library
    • Records management
  6. Every research, development, or operational effort conducted within NASA or primarily funded by NASA will have a Communications Plan unless the Center Director waives the effort. The plan will indicate expected CK products from each team member on a time continuum, designating the dollar and personnel resources needed to complete each.
  7. The components of a plan should encompass: (a) the assessment of the task (What may be discovered? Which audiences could benefit from this information? What is the desired outcome?); (b) the identification of various forms of communication (In what formats should the information be made available?); (c) the development of the products; (d) the communications initiatives; and, ultimately, (e) the metrics of the effectiveness.
  8. The Agency Process Owner will create a NASA Policy Directive (NPD) and a NASA Policy Guide (NPG) to document the CK Process recommendations made above.
  9. The current CK Process Team will be suspended pending periodic review of the CK Process, as required by assessing customer feedback at the Headquarters level. Figure 3 is a simplified representation of how CK fits into the other Crosscutting Processes.
  10. NASA Headquarters policy and oversight is required to provide guidance and best practices for the use of archives, data bases, and electronic web pages, because information accessibility and usability directly affect NASA's image to the technical community, industry, and the public.
  11. NASA should develop an information process for communicating knowledge to the public that is, at a minimum, accessible to public information and technical information specialists. Information on products and events to be developed for each science project and each technology project should be extracted from all Communications Plans and placed online on a data base, to be arranged by the Headquarters Working Group. Any NASA employee or member of the public searching for knowledge on a particular NASA program, science topic, or technology product should be able to locate all relevant technical and nontechnical publications, articles, and brochures; educational materials and events; public speeches; public events; newspaper/magazine articles; press conference details, and museum/fair/conference exhibits.

Note: The CK Process Team was asked on many occasions how its process related to the other three Crosscutting Processes depicted in Figure 1. At the time the Strategic Management Handbook was written, these processes had not been developed sufficiently to provide a description of their relationship beyond that indicated in Figure 1. Therefore, after the visits had been made and the report was being drafted, the CK Process Owner developed Figure 3 to suggest a relationship among the processes. This diagram is admittedly simplistic and views the world from a CK perspective.