NASA Seeks to Communicate, Engage Public Better, TMCnet.com
"[Bolden] also said he was "disappointed" at the lack of fresh faces - "those in the back, who haven't been around for the last 10 to 20 years" - in the audience, but did not discount the attendees either. "We need your help - your ideas, your energy and your passion. What you're doing here today is very important, and I look forward to hearing more from you," Bolden said in closing, tying into the broader themes of the Future Forum, with panel discussions between academia, NASA officials, and private industry representatives featuring technology and innovation, commercial technology transfer, and inspiring education. Broader interaction with the public also came up during a question and answer session after the first panel discussion. A member of the audience suggested that the biggest problem NASA has is "preaching to the choir" - established supporters - via Twitter and the web. A discussion of broadening the base ensued. "If we have a more loud choir, more people look at what's going on in the church," NASA Chief Scientist Dr. Waleed Abdalati suggested."
Keith's note: NASA has lots of transmitters to throw things out into the media and at the public - but it has very few receivers with which to capture input from the real world. And when it does get input, it often hasn't a clue what to do with the information. There is more to this than constantly asking for input, Charlie. You need to instigate a culture shift inside your agency wherein the input NASA gets from outside itself is incorporated into how your people run the agency. NASA needs to admit that it doesn't know everything and that 'change is an option' when public input does not mesh with what the agency thinks it is supposed to be doing. As for loud choirs, Waleed, NASA often confuses momentary amplitude with real public interest. It can be difficult to hear subtle messages when all you have is a bullhorn at your disposal.