by Emily Townsend, Strategic Communications Team Lead, Schafer Corporation/MSFC
At Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) teamed up with the Office of Strategic Analysis and Communications (OSAC) to create a new vehicle encouraging better and more frequent two-way communication between MSFC’s Director and employees. The online video blog called “Launching Conversations” began in September 2009.
This forum includes a regularly recorded video message from Marshall Center Director Robert Lightfoot to Center employees providing insights into current events, Center or Agency initiatives and other topics of interest. The site also includes a blog, which employees are encouraged to use to discuss subjects presented in the Center Director video or any other topics.
From its start during the time of the Human Spaceflight Review, the blog was initially used to help keep Marshall employees up to date about the progress of the review. Since then, the blog has evolved into an interactive forum for employees to share open dialog with the Center Director and each other about a diverse range of topics.
Employees are encouraged to openly share their ideas, opinions, concerns or questions on the blog.
The Center Director videos are recorded and produced by Marshall’s television services. Filming takes place in the Center Director’s office, in the television studio or on location. Offsite production allows the opportunity to share Marshall’s unique facilities with employees and provide insight into ongoing work around the Center. Lightfoot has recorded videos at both the Ares 1-X Launch Pad and the Lunar Lander Test Bed. Future plans include recording at other worksite locations as often as feasible.
Blog posts by individual users are read frequently by Marshall’s leadership team, who then provide responses. . Launching Conversations has proven to be a successful tool for Marshall’s Center Director and employees. Within the first four months of operations, more than 5,000 of Marshall’s nearly 7,000 employees visited the site. Responses continue to be overwhelmingly positive.