Executive Summary

a collective intelligence and learning community for and by NASA knowledge workers that disseminates mission-related information broadly and quickly.
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Findings from the NASAsphere Pilot  Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology   Knowledge Arciteture and Technology Task  Report written by: Celeste Merryman  JPL Pilot Team:  Celeste Merryman, pilot manager, Computer Sciences Corporation, NASA JPL  Dougals Hughes, project manager, NASA JPL        Copyright 2008 California Institute of Technology, Government Sponsorship Acknowledged 

Version‐8/20/08                                                                                                                                 CL#08‐4654 

Images provided by and used with permission of Socialcast.

FINDINGS FROM THE NASASPHERE PILOT 

Executive Summary  W HY S OCIAL N ETWORKING Because NASA is more that just one expert and one center. New ideas and new solutions for NASA’s complex missions require input from a geographically dispersed community of knowledge workers. By providing an online social network, NASA creates a collective intelligence and learning community for and by NASA knowledge workers that disseminates mission-related information broadly and quickly.

P URPOSE OF THIS R ESEARCH In order to investigate how NASA knowledge workers would use and apply online social networking in the NASA environment, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Knowledge Architecture and Advanced Technologies team developed and implemented a social networking pilot, called NASAsphere. The purpose of this social networking pilot was to investigate adoption and use of online social networking technology by NASA employees and contractors to cross-center and organizational boundaries and facilitate collective intelligence. The NASAsphere pilot team used a multi-phased approach to the investigation. During the course of this pilot, a great deal of data and information was collected to provide a picture of how NASA knowledge workers would use online social networking. This document presents information on the NASAsphere pilot and includes the pilot description, findings, and recommendations.

R ESEARCH Q UESTIONS     



Would NASA employees and center contractors participate in social networking pilot? Would NASA employees and center contractors find social networking a useful way to interact with other NASA employees and contractors? Would social networking be used by multi generations? Would NASA employees and center contractors use social networking to discuss work related topics? Would NASA employees and center contractors find social networking useful enough to invite their colleagues?

AUGUST 2008, NASA JET PROPULSION LABORATORY 

FINDINGS FROM THE NASASPHERE PILOT 

Executive Summary  W HAT IS NASA SPHERE NASAsphere is an online social network that enables employees to move across physical boundaries established by disparate locations of centers, to move across traditional communication boundaries established by organizations, and to move outside personal networks, in order to share and foster collective intelligence for the betterment of conducting NASA business. Eightyseven people responded to an inquiry to join the pilot.

HOW IT WORKS As described by a NASAsphere participant: “The network of a conversation spreads based on its topic rather than by person-to-person sharing.”

AUGUST 2008, NASA JET PROPULSION LABORATORY 



FINDINGS FROM THE NASASPHERE PILOT 

Executive Summary  WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO NASA

R ESEARCH F INDINGS NASAsphere Participants By the end of the pilot, at least one person from every NASA center participated. Figure 1 below, presents NASAsphere participants by NASA center. NASAsphere participants invited 398 of their colleagues from around NASA, with 55% acceptance rate. The NASAsphere community grew from 78 activated accounts to 295 by the end of the 60-day pilot. Figure 1. Graph of NASAsphere participants by NASA center at the start and end of the pilot.