Learning Organization

KDE Topic Area


Digital Transformation Starts with Trust

There are many different approaches to enable transformative behaviors and to empower an organization. The essence of most digital transformation approaches and frameworks share these core elements: Shared Vision, Blended Teams, Common Language, Trust.

Thinking About Thinking While You’re Thinking

At MITRE, we tackle tasks related to everything from reviewing information and analyzing data to evaluating and formulating solutions. In other words, we think. We often think long and hard about long and hard problems.

Great Power Competition – New Capabilities for New Challenges, with David D. Perkins

In this episode of the MITRE Knowledge Driven Podcast, Science and Technology Advisor David D. Perkins, discusses MITRE’s role on the work of the Great Power Competition initiative. Join us, as we take a dive into the inner workings of the data-driven processes that influence government actions regarding strategic competition and national resilience.

MITRE Platforms to Accelerate Mission Impact

Foundry’s CIO named MITRE to the CIO 100 for a second year in a row. The award recognizes MITRE’s enterprise platforms IT/knowledge management initiative for accelerating mission impact in 2021.

My Path as a Techie to Learning About Equity

Electrical Engineer, Jonathan Rotner, discusses the stories that stayed with him from his research for a website and paper called “AI Fails and How We Can Learn from Them”. He recalls a couple of stories where his first reaction was the AI fails were engineering problems that could be analyzed and fixed, when they were issues of Equity.

New book teaches how to apply agility principles to organizations

In their new book, The Government Leader’s Guide to Organizational Agility, authors Sarah Miller and Dr. Shelley Kirkpatrick consolidated their combined 42 years of knowledge, tools, anecdotes, tips, and tricks into one resource for government agency leaders at all levels. Leaders are urged to consult the book as a reference when using agility to make organizational changes.

Blockchain Pharmaceuticals with Jaya Tripathi

Blockchain is everyone’s favorite buzz word. Whether it’s crypto currency or NFTs, the technology has been getting a lot of attention for how it could disrupt how we buy and interact. But MITRE’s own Jaya Tripathi sees a far more critical use for blockchain, tracking drugs. Listen in as she shares her vision of a brighter pharmaceutical future built on Blockchains.

Aviation Industry Update with Bob and Michael: June 2021

Another quarter, another aviation industry update. Join us as Bob Brents and Michael Wells walk us through an economic recovery spanning everything you ever spent money on. Even if you never plan to fly again, you’ll still learn some powerful insights about the invisible forces you interact with everyday!

The Untapped Potential of Serious Games, with Peter Leveille

MITRE employees are always hard at work, solving problems for a safer world. However, would you believe that some of those problems are best suited to be solved by the development of fun games? On this episode of the MITRE Knowledge Driven Podcast, Principal Software Systems Engineer Peter Leveille gives us an introductory lesson on serious games and the underrated potential of their application as a tool in development work.

Pivoting From In-Person to Virtual Transformation When That’s the Only Option

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.

Humble Beginnings

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.

March Aviation Industry Update, with Michael Wells and Bob Brents

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.

MOCHA is Way More Than a Drink

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?

Capturing Knowledge for Future Work

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.

Another Update on the Aviation Industry, with Michael Wells and Bob Brents

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.

Jen Choi and Josh LeFevre and the power of “Yes, And”

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.

Coming Back to Make a Difference, Find a Passion, and Change the World

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.

Mentoring the Workforce of the Future: The Emerging Technologies Summer Student Program

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.

Creativity: Where Art and Engineering Meet

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.

Emotional Resilience in Professional Life

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.

Project Demodocus: Bringing Accessibility to the Masses

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.

Symptoms, Systems, and Soap

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.

Recognition for Knowing What MITRE Knows

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.

Improve Your Resiliency Without Wearing Camouflage

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.

Let’s Maintain Agility After the Coronavirus Crisis

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.

Justin Brunelle: Lessons from MITRE’s Innovation Program

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.

A Story of the Game-Changing Value of Tacit Knowledge: “Is There a Doctor in the House?”

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.

Dimensions of Collaborative Innovation

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.

Marcie Zaharee and MITRE’s Open Innovation Challenge

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.

A MITRE Innovation Project Headlines in Las Vegas

Every year, MITRE’s independent research and development program receives over 1000 research project ideas from across the organization and selects approximately 200 for funding. When Dr. Shelley Kirkpatrick received funding from the MITRE Innovation Program (MIP) in 2017 to research the principles of organizational agility, little did she know that three years later her work would be a big hit in Las Vegas.

Preparing for the Future by Knowing How to Take a Punch

Most organizations typically plan for one type of opponent (one future) even though a better approach would be preparing for multiple opponents (multiple futures), building in the much-needed resiliency. One approach that helps build this resiliency into organization is Strategic Foresight, an approach developed by Herman Kahn in the 1950s to help the US contemplate and plan for various outcomes of the Cold War including Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) using applications from game theory.

Dan Frisk and Paula Randall on bringing innovation to government

When you’re a large government organization, it can be hard to be innovative. You have a lot of moving parts and not a lot of time or resources. You can always lean on an innovation organization to help you along the way, but the question remains: “How do you know you’re really innovating?” Fortunately, Paula and Dan are on the case.

Field of Teams: Building it so They’ll Come with Change Management

“Field of Dreams” is a delightful movie. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and curl up on a do-nothing night and watch it. But even if you haven’t seen “Field of Dreams”, I’m sure you’ve heard the most famous line from it, “if you build it, he will come.” But since language is more fluid than the ocean, and changes to suit the context du jour, you more than likely have heard it as, “if you build it, they will come.”

Interview with Julie McEwen on why privacy is key

Privacy engineering involves injecting legal, policy, and ethical requirements into technology. It takes perspective to effectively manage privacy risk while keeping the big picture in focus. Fortunately, Julie McEwen, MITRE’s Privacy Engineering Capability Area Lead, is on the case. She and her team provide policy and technical privacy support to MITRE’s sponsors while managing privacy operations in support of MITRE’s Chief Privacy Officer.

Interview with Awais Sheikh on Deciphering Business Process Innovation

Awais Sheikh is the Capability Steward for Business Innovation here at MITRE. In this episode Awais helps us decipher a fundamental question for any organization on a mission to better the world. When you get past the hype, what is the real meaning of innovation? And perhaps more importantly, how can we get past the jargon so we can make a lasting, positive impact?

Interview with Jay Crossler on why passion is the key to success

Coming from a military background, Jay learned about computer programming at a young age and developed a passion for it that introduced him to exciting emerging technologies at Carnegie Mellon, in the Air Force, in the consulting world, and, finally, in his current work at MITRE.

The Nibbler method: Problem-solving in the pursuit of mastery

Andy Chapman’s recent lecture, “Advanced Manufacturing: Enabling Warfighter Innovation at the Tactical Edge,” tells the story of how his team worked with the Marine Corps to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities as part of a project to adopt Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) into Marine operations. The MITRE team’s problem-solving approach with sUAS shows that by closely examining the context of the initial goal to identify the root of the problem, it is possible to realize a more complete scope of logistical, economic, and ethical results.

Interview with Dan Ward, Debra Zides, and Lorna Tedder on streamlining acquisitions

In the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress established two Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA) Pathways to streamline the requirements, budget, and acquisition processes to provide technologies faster to meet emerging military needs. Rapid Prototyping focuses on using innovative technology to rapidly develop fieldable prototypes within 5 years.

MITRE Explores Emerging Tech of Interest at SXSW Conference and Hackathon

When one imagines the next source of emerging technologies that could serve MITRE and our government partners, the music and film industries are hardly the first ones that come to mind. However, with the surge of innovation happening outside of government walls, new ideas and emerging technologies can come from anywhere.

Getting the Most Out of Your Failures

A few days ago, I was taking an exercise class at the gym. The highly motivational instructor often tells the class, “Your goal tonight is to fail! If you get to the point that you can’t do the exercise or lift your weight, then you have achieved your goal of muscle failure!” It got me thinking…

Interview with Dr. Sanith Wijesinghe on Agile Connected Government

Welcome to the first installment of the Knowledge-Driven Podcast. In this new series, Software Systems Engineer Cameron Boozarjomehri interviews technical leaders at MITRE who have made knowledge sharing and collaboration an integral part of their practice.

Changing Organizations Using the Power of Localism

For the past 25 years, writers and scholars have consistently asserted that 70% of organizational change efforts fail (e.g., Ashkenas, 2013). For those of us who have devoted much of our energy to helping organizations adopt innovation and improve performance, it is discouraging to see the same failure rates quoted year after year.

An Inclusion Habit Encourages Awareness and Enables Psychological Safety

Starbucks and Google are just two of the many organizations that have pursued active inclusion and diversity practices with expected business benefits. Evidence that fostering an inclusive workplace has value for an organization and its employees comes from research that highlights the positive and negative consequences of inclusion and diversity.

The Lunch and Learn is not the Solution to Everything

Once every few months, I find myself in a meeting where a problem has just been solved and now some sort of action is needed to put a solution in place. My initial excitement about making real progress is often dampened when a meeting participant offers the suggestion…

Naming the Elephant in the Room

You may remember the childhood party game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey (or Bunny or Pig—depending on the party theme), where dizzy, blindfolded partygoers are challenged to position a paper tail closest to the correct location…

Communication—the Special Sauce of Major Change

MITRE loves data. MITRE practitioners are passionate about solving problems using scientific evidence, and this is just as true for social scientists at MITRE as it is for engineers. Here is how MITRE practitioners use data to ensure that our recommendations on strategic communication have the greatest possible impact.

Beware of Low-hanging Fruit!

When change management professionals step in to share their knowledge of how organizations can work better, they come with stories…

Hand Models

How much fun are you going to have with Howard Gershen’s second post on counting and reasoning? Innumerable amounts. Don’t expect any new rules of thumb, but he does offer some insights where it really counts.—Editor

Down for the Count

When I read Howard Gershen’s riff on counting with his fingers, what came to mind instantly was theory of mind in the way that I heard Alan Alda explain it at George Washington University as a guest speaker for the Smithsonian. We know that words and pictures work...

MITRE’s Knowledge Management Award Program

Awards! Who doesn’t like to be recognized for good work? Yet Knowledge Management Awards programs are not ubiquitous. Marcie Zaharee discusses MITRE’s original awards program and its results. In 2016, MITRE will launch a new program, as the company explores the role...


Pin It on Pinterest