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  • Wicked problems in space technology development at NASA

Balint, Tibor and Stevens, John, 2016, Journal Article, Wicked problems in space technology development at NASA Acta Astronautica, 118 (-). pp. 96-108. ISSN 0094-5765

Abstract or Description:

Technological innovation is key to enable future space exploration missions at NASA. Technology development, however, is not only driven by performance and resource considerations, but also by a broad range of directly or loosely interconnected factors. These include, among others, strategy, policy and politics at various levels, tactics and programmatics, interactions between stakeholders, resource requirements, performance goals from component to system level, mission infusion targets, portfolio execution and tracking, and technology push or mission pull. Furthermore, at NASA, these influences occur on varying timescales and at diverse geographic locations. Such a complex and interconnected system could impede space technology innovation in this examined segment of the government environment. Hence, understanding the process through NASA׳s Planning, Programming, Budget and Execution cycle could benefit strategic thinking, planning and execution. Insights could be gained through suitable models, for example assessing the key drivers against the framework of Wicked Problems. This paper discusses NASA specific space technology innovation and innovation barriers in the government environment through the characteristics of Wicked Problems; that is, they do not have right or wrong solutions, only improved outcomes that can be reached through authoritative, competitive, or collaborative means. We will also augment the Wicked Problems model to account for the temporally and spatially coupled, and cyclical nature of this NASA specific case, and propose how appropriate models could improve understanding of the key influencing factors. In turn, such understanding may subsequently lead to reducing innovation barriers, and stimulating technology innovation at NASA. Furthermore, our approach can be adopted for other government-directed environments to gain insights into their structures, hierarchies, operational flow, and interconnections to facilitate circular dialogs towards preferred outcomes.

Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...
Subjects: Other > Engineering > H100 General Engineering
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W240 Industrial/Product Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2015.09.019
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 13:41
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 21:51
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1798

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