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Project Information

Project Information

Continuous Improvement of NASA’s Innovation Ecosystem - A Workshop and Meetings of Experts

Project Scope:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will appoint a committee to organize a workshop on the topic of "Identification of Pilot Projects to Address Innovation Barriers and Related Assessment Criteria and Metrics.” A workshop proceedings will document the workshop, including summaries of individual presentations and ensuing discussions. The proceedings will not present consensus conclusions or recommendations.
In preparation for the appointment of the organizing committee and the holding of the workshop, the National Academies will organize two meetings of experts to conduct a dialogue between NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT), NASA’s Enterprise Strategy for Innovation Team, and invited experts from the government, industry, university and non-profit sectors. The topics of the meetings of experts shall be “barriers to innovation and how to address them within NASA’s Innovation Ecosystem” and “criteria for assessing NASA’s Innovation Ecosystem.”  The goal of the meetings of experts will be to help inform OCT so NASA can refine the set of topics the agency wants the National Academies workshop to address and help identify the types and background of speakers, panelists, and experts that would be invited to the workshop by the Academies-appointed workshop organizing committee.  The experts are expected to be acting in their personal capacities. No Academies-endorsed product will be produced from these meetings of experts.

Status: Current


RSO: Graham, Sandra


Space and Aeronautics

Committee Membership

Daniel L. Dumbacher - (Chair)
DANIEL L. DUMBACHER is executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Formerly, he was a professor of engineering practice in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. At Purdue, Mr. Dumbacher specialized in program and project management, complex, state-of-the-art systems engineering, and propulsion and power systems engineering. He was instrumental in the development of the Purdue Systems Collaboratory, an effort to integrate better the engineering disciplines with business, political science, communications, and philosophy. Prior to Purdue, Mr. Dumbacher served as deputy associate administrator in the Exploration Systems Development Division, for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Mr. Dumbacher earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at Purdue University and an M.B.A. in business administration from the University of Alabama, Huntsville. He has served on the Academies’ Committee on A Midterm Assessment of Implementation of the Decadal Survey on Life and Physical Sciences Research at NASA as a co-chair.
Steven J. Battel
STEVEN J. BATTEL (NAE) is president of Battel Engineering, providing engineering, development, and review services to NASA, the Department of Defense, university, and industrial clients. His areas of specialization include program management, cost and schedule evaluation, systems engineering, advanced technology development, spacecraft avionics, power systems, high-voltage systems, precision electronics, and scientific instrument design. He developed scientific instruments for recent NASA missions including Curiosity, Mars-Phoenix, Cassini, HST, LADEE, MAVEN, ExoMars and Mars2020. Mr. Battel was a member of the Hubble Space Telescope External Readiness Review Team for SM-2, SM3A, SM3B and SM4; the AXAF/Chandra Independent Assessment Team; the TDRS-H/I/J Independent Review Team; the Mars Polar Lander Failure Review Board; and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Genesis Failure Review Board. He is a current or former member of more than 80 review boards for NASA missions. Prior to Battel Engineering, he worked as an engineer, researcher, and manager at the University of Michigan, the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Mr. Battel is a fellow of the AIAA and AAAS, a member of Sigma Xi, and a member of the AURA Space Telescope Institute Council. Mr. Battel earned his B.A. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He has served on many Academies committees, including the Committee on NASA Astrophysics Performance Assessment, the Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Committee on Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010, the Committee on a Decadal Strategy for Solar and Space Physics (Heliophysics) and the Committee on Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space. He has also served on the Committee on Solar and Space Physics and is a member of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board.
Martin J. Curran
MARTIN J. CURRAN is executive vice president and innovation officer of Corning. He was appointed Corning’s first innovation officer six years ago. In this role, Mr. Curran manages a portfolio of programs to increase the probability of success for new business opportunities. The innovation office was created to build an entrepreneurial-focused organization that could operate across all business segments to identify and develop near-term revenue opportunities. Prior to joining Corning, Mr. Curran has held a variety of executive roles in finance, manufacturing, and marketing. He holds a M.B.A. from the University of Virginia. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Janice Fraser
JANICE L. FRASER is a chief product officer with Bionic Solution in New York. She installs entrepreneurship and venture capital as forms of growth management in Fortune 100 companies, which enables them to launch new billion-dollar businesses. Ms. Fraser is also a serial entrepreneur and an expert on the management practices needed to support innovation at scale. Her clients have included the Obama White House, Proctor and Gamble, Lyft, and the Navy Seals Training Command. She sits on growth boards at Nike and Levi Strauss & Co. Previously, Ms. Fraser was director of innovation and transformation at Pivotal Software. For 16 years before that, she started numerous businesses. Among them, Ms. Fraser was founder/CEO of Luxr, an early Lean Startup firm (sold to Pivotal), and Adaptive Path, the world’s first UX firm (sold to Capital One). She served as an advisor to more than 50 startup companies in a ten week product-acceleration program. With backing by leading Silicon Valley investors including 500 Startups, Mitchell Kapor, Bill Gross's Idealab, and Tony Hsieh's Vegas Tech Fund, Luxr reached entrepreneurs around the world. She is a frequent keynote speaker on topics surrounding the management of innovation, and is a deeply respected member of the Lean Startup community. Ms. Fraser earned a B.A. in English from the Ohio University. She has not previously served on an Academies committee.
Linda A. Hill
LINDA A. HILL is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where she is also chair of the Leadership Initiative. Dr. Hill specializes in leadership, global business strategies, and governing innovation. She has authored several critically acclaimed books on leadership, including Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation. Drawing from her experience in consulting, Dr. Hill designed the management development program Breakthrough Leadership, and she has worked professionally with organizations including General Electric, IBM, Merck, the National Bank of Kuwait, and the Economist. She earned both her Ph.D. in behavioral sciences and her M.A. in educational psychology from the University of Chicago. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Fred Kennedy, III
FRED KENNEDY, III has served as the director of Tactical Technology Office (TTO) for the past two years within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), after previously serving as TTO deputy director. Prior to his work at DARPA, Kennedy served as a senior policy advisor in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). In this role, Mr. Kennedy advised the president on space and aviation policy and led the “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative. He served twenty-three years in the United States Air Force, where he retired as a colonel. He holds a M.A. in organizational management from George Washington University, a M.A. in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in electronics and physical sciences from the University of Surrey. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Anne S. Miner
ANNE S. MINER is the Ford Motor Company Professor of Management and Human Resources, emerita, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her involvement includes the Initiative for Studies in Transformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE), the G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition and the coordination of the Management and Human Resources' Certificates in Strategic Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She was named Scholar of the Year by the Technology and Innovation Management of the Academy of Management. She has presented papers at schools such as Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, INSEAD, Harvard, Wharton, UCLA, and Minnesota. Dr. Miner received grants to conduct research on technology entrepreneurship, product development, and university start-ups. Her publications tackle issues including organizational learning from failure, organizational improvisation, organizational adaptation, industry-level learning and technological evolution, and product development. Dr. Miner has served as associate editor of Management Science and of Organization Science, and served on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Sociological Review, the Academy of Management Journal, the Academy of Management Review, and Strategic Organization. She has made study trips to Singapore, China, Thailand, France, England, Canada and Finland. Dr. Miner teaches courses on the management of innovation and technology, including an introductory course on entrepreneurship in business, nonprofits and the arts. She has offered graduate seminars in strategy, organizational learning, entrepreneurship, and research methods. She is one of the architects of the business curriculum in University of Wisconsin, Madison’s MS in Biotechnology. Dr. Miner previously served as the executive vice-president for a small closely held California start-up firm that provided information services to technical firms. She provided human resource consulting for firms involved in product development and manufacturing, and worked as assistant to the president at Stanford University on human resources issues across the university. She received her B.S. in English from Harvard University, her M.S. for sociology and her Ph.D. for business-organization theory from Stanford University. Dr. Miner has not previously served on an Academies committee.
Mona M. Vernon
MONA M. VERNON is the chief technology officer of Thomson Reuters Labs. The global labs partner with customers and third parties, such as start-ups and academics, on new data-driven businesses. Previously at Thomson Reuters, Ms. Vernon ran the Emerging Technology group and launched an Open Innovation Challenge program across the enterprise. Mona is an executive board member of the FinTech Sandbox in Boston, a member of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Big Data & Cybersecurity Leadership Group, a member of the executive committee for Commonwealth’s TechHUB Collaborative, and a winner of the Boston 50 on Fire. Ms. Vernon earned an S.M. (M.S. equivalent) in engineering and management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School (cross-registration), an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts University. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Daniel B. Ward
DANIEL B. WARD is a consultant with Dan Ward Consulting, LLC. He is also a principal systems engineer at MITRE. Mr. Ward is the author of The Simplicity Cycle: A Field Guide To Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse and F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation. Prior to launching Dan Ward Consulting, he served for more than 20 years as an acquisition officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he specialized in leading high-speed, low-cost technology development programs and retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel. While on active duty, Mr. Ward helped establish the Air Force Research Laboratory’s rapid innovation process. His expertise on defense acquisition reform has been featured in publications from the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the British Parliament. Mr. Ward has earned an M.S. in systems engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He has served on the Academies’ Committee on the Role of Experimentation Campaigns in the Air Force Innovation Life Cycle.



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