To Infinity and Beyond

Jason Crusan gathers the brightest stars-even Buzz Lightyear-to foster innovation at NASA.

NASA is one of the most innovative agencies in government, but to keep its programs on the cutting edge, Jason Crusan has to get creative. As chief technologist for space operations, he tackles key problems by crowdsourcing ideas from the best and the brightest-both inside and outside government.

For example, the NASA Tournament Lab uses a challenge approach to drive innovation in unexpected places. Open calls online for software and design technology, such as a space-friendly exercise device, reach people who wouldn't normally respond to a traditional request for proposals. Crusan also works on CubeSat, a partnership with universities to build small satellites for orbit.

"We innovate by just doing our missions, we innovate because we have to sometimes, and then we have opportunities to innovate in how we engage with the public as well," Crusan says. "What we're quickly learning is not only are they benefiting from being involved with the space program, but we are benefiting from them bringing new ideas to the table."

Crusan is on a mission to make NASA accessible to all. In a partnership with Disney, the space agency features the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear in educational materials to teach kids about life in space. The program bridges the gap between fantasy and the real, hard science of space missions, he says.

His next project is to stand up a virtual group with other agencies, nonprofits and foundations to improve innovation governmentwide.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.