recommended reading

Calling Buzz Lightyear: NASA taps all sorts to spur innovation

NASA is one of the most innovative agencies in government, but to keep its programs on the cutting edge, Jason Crusan has to get creative. As chief technologist for space operations, he tackles key problems by crowdsourcing ideas from the best and the brightest--both inside and outside government.

For example, the NASA Tournament Lab uses a challenge approach to drive innovation in unexpected places. Open calls online for software and design technology, such as a space-friendly exercise device, reach people who wouldn't normally respond to a traditional request for proposals. Crusan also works on CubeSat, a partnership with universities to build small satellites for orbit.

"We innovate by just doing our missions, we innovate because we have to sometimes, and then we have opportunities to innovate in how we engage with the public as well," Crusan says. "What we're quickly learning is not only are they benefiting from being involved with the space program, but we are benefiting from them bringing new ideas to the table."

Crusan is on a mission to make NASA accessible to all. In a partnership with Disney, the space agency features the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear in educational materials to teach kids about life in space. The program bridges the gap between fantasy and the real, hard science of space missions, he says.

His next project is to stand up a virtual group with other agencies, nonprofits and foundations to improve innovation governmentwide.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.