The pace of change accelerated across organizations over the past year, perhaps even more so across the government, given the previously limited telework capacity and available resources for robust virtual collaboration. This post focuses on lessons learned while taking a high-engagement, in-person, transformational change method into the virtual world to support the Census Bureau’s effort to design a 21st-century organization.
Once upon a time, when it was uncommon to wear a medical mask in public, I was a mechanical engineering student at the University of Oklahoma. As anyone who’s been to the Southeast will know, Oklahoma is oil country. Therefore, when I went to the career fair in the Spring semester of my junior year, I had filtered out all of the companies that had anything to do with the petroleum industry. I was left with only a few companies that piqued my interest. One of these companies was MITRE.
Air travel has become so common place to the point where many of us never even think about the wonder of flying on an aircraft or being able to send things around the world over night. And yet every day, countless agencies and individuals around the world move in a coordinated ballet even in the face of a global pandemic. In this session of the tri-annual Aviation Industry Update podcast, Michael Wells and Bob Brents focus on the complex logistics involved with distributing COVID vaccines across the country as well as the various applications that can help ease travel restrictions for a public eager to get back to normal.
When you launch a project team, what are your go-to methods for kicking off, building cohesion, establishing goals, and delivering value together? If you’ve been thinking about refreshing your toolkit, would you consider a customizable process—with or without steamed milk—to ensure that everyone knows why they are on the project and why it is going to be the best one ever?
Like life, our projects move fast, and it is hard to find the time to stop and look around, causing us to miss insights that could be valuable to future projects. That’s where the Knowledge Harvesting (KH) Framework comes in.
Air travel has become commonplace to the point where many of us never even think about the wonder of flying on an aircraft or being able to send things around the world over night. And yet every day, countless agencies and individuals around the world move in a coordinated ballet even in the face of a global pandemic. Listen in as MITRE’s own Michael Wells and Bob Brents pull back the curtain on the latest news from the aviation industry and what they’re doing to help keep our economy flying high.
Innovation, much like improv, isn’t easy, but it can be a powerful way to bring people into a conversation they might typically avoid or feel excluded from. In our latest discussion with the Innovation Toolkit Team, Jen and Josh walk us through the power improvisation can have to start these conversations and how they refined their unique approach.
In a mid-summer virtual lunch with student interns, MITRE President and CEO Dr. Jason Providakes said, “We’ve had all this bad news [this summer], but the fact that MITRE can continue an internship program is a testament to our commitment of building the future workforce and serving the public interest.” A key part of MITRE’s overall student program this past summer, which involved nearly 500 student staff members, was the Emerging Technologies Summer Student Research Program, which began in 1989, and despite the pandemic, successfully completed its 32nd summer in 2020, under the leadership of Dr. James Ellenbogen.
The classic conception of an intern is a minion who brings people coffee, fixes printer jams, and does grunt work. The interns hired by MITRE’s Emerging Technologies Department, however, are not minions. They are student investigators charged with helping to solve overwhelming societal problems. Read profiles of four of these interns and their summer work in the public interest.
At first glance, creativity might seem like the ability to make something from nothing. That isn’t actually true, but creativity does require an active imagination and the ability to judge what, among all the imagined things, might have value, given what you’re trying to accomplish. Creativity in engineering and in the arts requires the ability to generate a wide variety of ideas that relate to the goals of the effort, often the more ideas the better. Judgment is then used to evaluate the merits and flaws of each idea.
Regular sources of stress in our lives can arise from challenges at work, challenges in personal life such as with partnership and parenting, and challenges from societal divisions at home and abroad, among many other factors. With one public crisis after another appearing in the news to add to what’s happening directly in our lives, these stress factors may pile on and conspire to make well-being hard to maintain.
Every year countless Americans with disabilities interact with government resources for everything from receiving benefits to registering to vote. But not all websites are created equal, and even fewer are designed with the disabled community in mind. Enter project Demodocus, a new automated approach to test websites of all kinds on how usable they really are for those who need more than just a keyboard and mouse.
On the evening of April 13, 1970, there was a loud “BAM!”, then “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
Apollo 13 had “lost” the moon because an oxygen tank explosion that wasn’t predicted caused a series of systems failures in propulsion, electrical power, and life support, and the world focused on how three isolated men over 200,000 miles from Earth would get safely home.
The American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) has honored MITRE with its 2020 Excellence in Knowledge Management (KM) award, recognizing us as one of the top organizations in the world for our mature KM capabilities. MITRE scored a level five—the highest possible score—in most of the areas the association assessed.
Military members and first responders learn early in their training how to deal with stress because of the inherent danger of their occupation. Although stress certainly comes with being in harm’s way, they may also experience stress that comes with facing the unknown, time pressures, and challenging tasks.
It’s an understatement to say that we’ve all experienced a lot of change during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the challenges, some positives have come out of this situation, especially when it comes to how federal agencies and other organizations have quickly adapted to keep the government running and work moving. Organizational agility has been a goal for many years now, with numerous agency mission statements highlighting the need for it.
Agencies call on MITRE to help navigate all manner of unique challenges, but not all projects are lean enough for the innovations that agencies seek. That’s where Justin Brunelle comes in. Justin has developed a reputation as division technical integrator, helping pair trail-blazing research with government use cases.
MITRE’s talents for strategic modernization (e.g., enterprise planning, organizational change, business innovation, technology transitioning) are informed by both our explicit knowledge and our tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is what we objectively know. Explicit knowledge can be readily articulated, codified, stored and accessed, and transmitted to others, and represents an estimated 20% of our knowledge (e.g., plans, reports, data analysis). Implicit or tacit knowledge is more subjective.
A recent discussion with colleagues on intriguing approaches and paths to innovation triggered my systems thinking habits – to explore and understand challenges systemically. What I ended up discovering were multiple dimensions of innovation, particularly for collaborative innovation.
Innovation doesn’t just happen, and it cannot be forced. It takes time, effort, and commitment to find a new path forward. Still, sometimes asking the right question can set us on that path. That is the goal of MITRE’s Open Innovation Challenge.