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REAL Knowledge at NASA: A Knowledge Services Model for the Modern Project Environment

REAL Knowledge at NASA: A Knowledge Services Model for the Modern Project Environment


Dr. Ed Hoffman, Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA Headquarters
Dr. Jon Boyle

This article presents a descriptive project practitioner-centered Knowledge Model derived from experience in developing Knowledge Services (KS) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It involves an organizational knowledge systems perspective that better negotiates rapid change and accelerated learning in data-rich complex project environments. The paper discusses the modern project environment and reiterates the historical context of knowledge and learning at NASA and covers the strategic imperatives that guide the design and development of a Knowledge Services (KS) Model for individuals, teams, and organizations. The operational components of knowledge capture and retention, sharing and application, and discovery and creation are specified as core processes with individual and organizational inputs of capabilities and expectations. Considerations for the design of KS at NASA are discussed, including governance, Federated approach, mapping, biases and heuristics, and practitioner capabilities. Examples are described based on the presented strategic imperatives and Model, and the article closes with a summary and recommendations for future research. This Model allows organizations to validate and add imperatives within their context to better design knowledge services for diverse challenges and opportunities.

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Knowledge Reapplication: Enhancing Organization Learning at NASA

Knowledge Reapplication: Enhancing Organization Learning at NASA


Edward Rogers, Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mike Ryschkewitsch, Chief Engineer, NASA Headquarters

This paper lays out a descriptive model of knowledge reapplication at NASA to help frame Agency approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning. An 3-part integrated model of experience, networks and references is explained in the context of NASA’s project focus of organization. The principles of local knowledge management and distributed ownership are suggested as important design considerations. Six existing practices that aid organizational learning are discussed as examples of knowledge reapplication at NASA.

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Introducing the Pause and Learn (PaL) Process

Introducing the Pause and Learn (PaL) Process


Edward Rogers
Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Adapting the Army After Action Review Process to the NASA Project World at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Developed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Knowledge Management Office, Office of Mission Success: Code 170.

This paper introduces a concept for formalizing learning from NASA projects at Goddard that is modeled after the Army After Action Review (AAR) system. While the AAR was developed to learn from training exercises, the 25 years of experience, theoretical foundations and practical tools make it a valuable source of lessons for NASA. In addition, NASA has been faulted for ignoring lessons from successes and overly focusing on learning only from mistakes. Without a process for learning from every activity regardless of ultimate outcome, we risk missing out on the bulk of the learning from our projects and potentially not really knowing why we actually succeeded. This new process is called “Pause and Learn” or PaL.

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NASA Knowledge Policy

NASA Knowledge Policy


This document will address NASA’s policy for managing its knowledge resources that enable the agency to execute programs, projects and missions.

2012 was a year of establishing a knowledge community across the agency, taking inventory of existing services, and identifying common goals and objectives that could serve as the basis for a more robust agency-wide approach to knowledge.

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2012 Year in Knowledge

2012 Year in Knowledge


The Year in Knowledge highlights stories from ASK Magazine and ASK the Academy, case studies, and special publications from 2012.

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