Mixed Messages From NASA CIO Staff

NASA Forward Maker Camp

"NASA Forward Maker Camp is a participant-driven Maker Camp based on "code-a-thon" or "think tank" style events, with a heavy emphasis on tangible final products. It's our chance to do pursue projects of value to the NASA mission that would not normally be done and also to collaborate with others from around the agency who are doing interesting work in fields that we are trying to learn about. The NASA Forward Maker Camp is as good as participants make it, so be prepared to lead or participate in a project, ask interesting questions, show off what you've been working on, or generally leave your mark on the event. ... The NASA Forward Maker Camp is tentatively scheduled for April 28-29, 2011"

Keith's note: Apparently this official NASA event is happening agencywide - yet there is no mention whatsoever at NASA.gov - only on a non-NASA website at wikispaces.com. NASA's CIO/Open Government Initiative Office is behind this but no mention is made at the CIO website. Curiously, the CIO is not shy about announcing events such as this one and this one.

But when it comes to CIO's participation in events such as the NASA Forward Maker Camp and "Random Hacks of Kindness", the CIO individuals working on these projects go out of their way to limit the public visibility they provide in advance - thus limiting the participation of others outside their small community. Its rather ironic that the "Open Government" initiative office at NASA condones such "closed" behavior.

That said, there is an interesting precedent being set here: all of the people involved in this activity work for the NASA CIO. They have set up this website totally outside of the NASA firewall, use the NASA logo, and are conducting government (NASA) business on this site in their official capacities. The wiki on this website is open for anyone, anywhere on Earth to join, read, and comment on. ANYWHERE. Since the CIO approves of this approach by their staff, will everyone else at NASA be allowed to do this too? No more security, firewalls, design standards? No adherence to Section 508, ITAR, and other government regulations that govern such things? Wow, THAT is really being "open".

Don't get me wrong, I think events such like this are a great idea and they should be encouraged. But the closed way these CIO folks are going about it in terms of giving their efforts visibility and their total disregard for IT rules and regulations their office supposed to enforce, makes me wonder if anyone is really in total control of this organization.

One of the problems they are looking at sounds like something that Code L ought to be coordinating. It also sounds like lobbying material ...

"Task: Generate a "How NASA Affects Your State" Map: Background: One challenge the NASA workforce faces is communicating its impact on the country to the public and politicians. This team could research the economic drivers for each state (e.g. California and agriculture) and match them to NASA Spinoff technology (e.g. don't know, but I'll find out), eventually generating an infographic. This infographic could act as a springboard for NASA employees (and others) to start a conversation about why NASA matters to its stakeholders. The NASA Spinoff App has something similar to this idea, but it is more focused on individuals in each state."

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 20, 2011 12:25 PM.

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