"In this time of transition, Innovation 2011 provides a great opportunity to get outside our normal circles and encounter fresh perspectives. Innovative possibilities are seemingly endless when smart minds from a variety of backgrounds collaborate. You never know what interesting concepts will emerge - you may find that you have the perfect solution to someone's most pressing challenge. I hope you make the most of today's event and carry the spirit of inclusion and innovation forward in everything you do."
- Mike Coats, Director, Johnson Space Center
White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) celebrated the talented, imaginative employees whose unique ideas led to new discoveries and innovative ways to meet challenges. In conjunction with Johnson Space Center, WSTF's festivities were conducted May 4, 2011 with an Innovation Day stand down so employees could participate in a myriad of planned activities. Innovation booths, displays, demonstrations, and rap sessions were conducted on site. NASA astronauts were on hand to present Silver Snoopy awards to a select group of employees honored for their outstanding contributions to the manned space flight program.
WSTF innovators were recognized for their creative ideas that embodied the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and inclusion in all aspects of business at WSTF. A "Hall of Innovators" poster exhibit was set up in the Rotunda to recognize the employees who were selected as innovators from among their peers. Innovators recognized at the event were: Michelle Barragan, Lou Barrera, Jeremy Bruggemann, Logan Ream, Randy Hignight, Asher Lieberman, Amaru Robinson, Cathy Watkins, Jim Edwin, Jim Watkins, Ben Sanders, Peter Heredia, Regor Saulsberry, and Darrell Shoup.
Groups that were featured included the Standard Parts Database Team; the Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE) Working Group, Stress Rupture NDE Development and In-situ Carbon Fiber Micromechanics Project Team; and the Component Services Section.
Innovation demonstrations included: the Propulsion Distillation Unit, Wave Tubes, Renewable Energy, LEED Platinum/Silver Projects, RCM Tools, WSTF Barricades, RFID System, and the new ProcureIT system.
Objectives for Innovation 2011 included:
- Fostering an environment of creativity and innovative thinking at WSTF
- Exposing the WSTF workforce to ideas, issues, and perspectives expressed by WSTF colleagues outside their normal circle of associates
- Highlighting innovative initiatives at WSTF
What do we mean by 'Innovation'?
Innovation is quite the buzz word these days and many have tried to define it. The Innovation 2011 Team defined 'innovation' as the successful realization of novel ideas that create value for NASA and/or ensure mission success. In short, innovations make our work faster, easier, or more intuitive. Wikipedia adds an important dimension: 'innovation' is a new way of doing something...it may refer to incremental and emergent, or radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. The goal of innovation is positive change.