NASA open government team broadens focus to innovation

Luke Fretwell | FedScoop | January 28, 2013
In true startup fashion, NASA’s open government team has mastered the art of the government “pivot.” Popularized by “The Lean Startup“ author Eric Ries, the concept of the pivot centers around an organization’s ability to adapt its focus based on the realization of new market potential or service need.

At the beginning of fiscal year 2013, NASA’s open government group did just that, formally adopting new nomenclature to emphasize innovation, and now serves under the banner of “open innovation.” But to NASA Open Innovation Program Manager Nick Skytland and his team, this isn’t about semantics. It’s about better serving the agency in an era of crowd-generated ideas and contributions.

Openness, including open innovation platforms, open data and open technologies, such as open source software and hardware, says Skytland, is a fundamental catalyst to government leveraging the masses to further its mission. For NASA’s open innovation team, serving as an internal innovation engine is a key function that could play a defining role in helping the agency realize its impact to Americans beyond just space...