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NASA Communications Coordinating Committee (CCC) Minutes January 25, 2007

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2007

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NASA Communications Coordinating Committee (CCC) Minutes
NASA Headquarters, MIC 7A
Thursday, January 25, 2007
8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Summary:

  • Eric Sterner, Chief of Strategic Communications, convened the first meeting of the Communications Coordinating Committee (CCC) at NASA Headquarters on January 25, 2007. The CCC will provide a coordination forum for senior communications managers at Headquarters and the Centers to come together to coordinate activities and messages across the Agency.
  • Six working groups were established (see Actions), and CCC members volunteered to participate in those working groups.
  • The meeting also provided the opportunity for CCC members to hear Bob Hopkins, Assistant Administrator in the Office of Communications Planning (OCP), present, and to discuss, the Strategic Communications Framework.
  • CCC members also received a briefing from Mr. Hopkins on Office of Communications Planning (OCP) activities.
  • Next CCC Meeting Target Date - April 17-18, 2007, at Headquarters

Attendees:

CCC Members:

  • Eric Sterner - Strategic Communications (SC)
  • Bob Hopkins - Office of Communications Planning (OCP)
  • Jean Wolfe - Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD)
  • Gale Allen - Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD)
  • Lynn Cline - Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD)
  • Marc Allen - Science Mission Directorate (SMD)
  • Brian Chase - Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA)
  • Jason Sharp - (for David Mould) Public Affairs Office (PAO)
  • Jim Stofan - Office of Education (OE)
  • Angela Diaz - Ames Research Center (ARC)
  • Fred Johnsen - Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC)
  • John Hairston - Glenn Research Center (GRC)
  • Mark Hess - Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
  • Stephen Kulcycki - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
  • Jim Rostohar - (for Eileen Hawley) Johnson Space Center (JSC)
  • Lisa Malone - Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
  • Christine Darden - Langley Research Center (LaRC)
  • Rose Allen - Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC)
  • Linda Theobald - Stennis Space Center (SSC)

Others:

  • Kristen Erickson, OCP
  • Maureen O'Brien, OCP
  • Erika Vick, OCP
  • Dan Cano, SC
  • Patrick Rhodes, SC - AM only
  • Charles Rousseaux, OCP - AM only

Actions:

  • Recommend a standardized process for non-communications personnel to account for time spent on outreach activities. (This action was not assigned; OCP will take first stab at developing recommendations for consideration at next CCC meeting. If CCC members would like to provide specific input, please send an email to Maureen O'Brien, who will collect any further CCC member concerns on this issue.)
  • Provide web link from Master Events Calendar to 90-day report. (OCP)
  • Contact Human Resources to investigate training opportunities for NASA speakers. (OCP)
  • Working Groups are established with charge and membership as follows (CCC members should review membership of each WG, and get final recommendations to Maureen O'Brien by February 9):

(1) Strategic Framework Implementation Plan Working Group

Chair: Bob Hopkins (OCP)

Scope: Develop an implementation plan for the Strategic Communications Framework. Due Date: Plan due by next CCC Meeting. Members: Mark Allen (SMD), Jean Wolfe (ARMD), Lynn Cline (SOMD), Gale Allen (ESMD), John Hairston (GRC), Eileen Hawley (JSC), Kristen Erickson (OCP), Mike Green (OCP)

(2) Target Audiences Working Group

Chair: Angela Diaz (ARC)

Scope: Develop recommendations for further segmenting target audiences (beyond what the market research provides) and assess priorities. Analysis of audiences should include benefits of increasing support among key constituencies.

Due Date: Initial report due at next CCC meeting in April. Members: Mark Hess (GSFC), Fred Johnsen (DFRC), Mark Shuart (LaRC), Victoria Friedensen (ESMD), Debbie Rivera (OCP), Richard McAdams (OLA), Dan Cano (SC), Stephen Kulczycki (JPL)-contractor, Carolina Blake (ARC), David Morse (ARC)-Executive Secretary

(3) Multimedia Tools Working Group

Chair: Bob Jacobs (PAO)

Scope: Survey and analyze various multimedia communications tools (e.g. Internet, podcasts, geocaching, etc) to determine the effectiveness of various tools generally, and with different target audiences. Analyze whether and how some of these tools could work for NASA, including a realistic assessment of implementation (e.g. legal, ethical, cost considerations, etc). The idea would be to provide a template, in rank order of different tools and the audiences they target. (Eventually the work of this committee could be tied to the work of the Target Audiences Working Group).

Due Date: Initial listing of tools & intended audiences due at next CCC meeting in April.

Members: Bob Starr (OE), Robert Lasalvia (GRC), Rose Allen (MSFC), Jeanne Ryba (KSC), Wade Sisler (GSFC), Chris Kemp (ARC), Dan Cano (SC), Phil West (JSC)

(4) Internal Communications Working Group

Chairs: Rose Allen (MSFC)

Scope: Make recommendations on what steps may be taken to improve internal communications. A key goal will be to ensure NASA employees understand and can articulate NASA's mission. The group should analyze currently employed communication (both web-based and supervisor communications) methods and determine what works and what specific measures the CCC can directly implement, or recommend to NASA Leadership, to improve internal communications. This will be a standing working group, with rotating Chair. Due Date: Next due date will be to provide an initial report at next CCC meeting in April.

Members: June Malone (MSFC), Karen Freidt (LaRC), Kelly DiFrancesco (GRC), Mary Fenton (PAO), Greg Mann (CIO), Kristen Erickson (OCP), Layla Higgins (KSC), Mark Hess (GSFC), Eldora Valentine (JSC), Dan Woodward (MSFC)

(5) Speakers Bureaus Working Group

Chair: Nora Normandy (OCP)

Scope: Coordinate Speakers Bureau activities at Headquarters and across the Centers. Develop strategies for more proactive placement of speakers and messages. This will be a standing working group.

Due Date: Next due date will be to provide status report on current and future activities at next CCC meeting in April. Members: Membership will be reported at CCC Meeting in April (to include representatives from each Center).

(6) Exhibits Working Group

Chair: Jim Hull (OCP)

Scope: Provide coordination of exhibit activities among Center and Headquarters personnel. Reduce duplication and focus on more proactive placement of exhibits and messages, working closely with the Speakers Bureau Working Group to coordinate speakers and messages at key events. This will be a standing working group.

Due Date: Next due date will be to provide status report on current and future activities at next CCC meeting in April.

Members: Membership will be reported at CCC Meeting in April (to include representatives from Headquarters, Mission Directorates and each Center)

  • Clarify term "Space Economy" in Strategic Framework to include public benefits (e.g. increasing knowledge). (Bob Hopkins - OCP)
  • Consider soliciting Congressional Fellows feedback on the Framework. (OCP)
  • Survey CCC members at the Centers to determine which centers are developing economic impact information. (Maureen O'Brien - OCP)
  • Forward State Legislative Outreach Plan regarding Space Shuttle launches to CCC members when completed. (Brian Chase - OLA)

Next Steps:

  • Working Groups, start working! Working Group Chairpersons should include Maureen O'Brien on any meeting notices or other traffic regarding CCC Working Group activities. If anyone is not included on a working group that wishes to serve, please let the Chairperson and Maureen know, so that you may be added to the list. (However, we do want to keep Working Groups reasonably small and composed of a good cross-section of representatives.)
  • Send any further comments on CCC charter to Maureen O'Brien (All)
  • Forward suggestions for future CCC agenda topics to Maureen O'Brien (All)
  • Develop link on communications.nasa.gov for CCC information, minutes, presentations, etc. to be posted. (OCP)
  • Next CCC Meeting Date - Currently targeting April 17-18 at Headquarters

Summary of Major Discussion:

Strategic Communications Framework Discussion (Bob Hopkins/OCP)

  • Mr. Hopkins presented the Strategic Communications Framework, stressing that this is an actionable document, which will evolve based on comments and feedback.
  • Several CCC members, for various reasons, expressed concern about the term "Space Economy" in the message platform presented. Concerns included: how the Space Economy would be perceived in the context of NASA's core mission, the problem of overselling what a government agency can do in this area, and how to make a connection between the Space Economy theme and a science mission whose core function is fundamental discovery.
  • Mr. Sterner noted everyone should communicate the concept in their own way - we aren't looking for slogans or memorized statements. The point is, if the Agency doesn't internalize the framework, it won't work. Branding is about identity and values, so we have to make sure that people believe in it. The Vision is the Mission. It is: Science, Economy, Security and Leadership - that's what we are about. We fail as communicators because we don't explain how we are relevant on these items.
  • Mr. Hopkins added this is an overarching framework that defines purpose. All of the science missions fit. For Rovers and other projects, it's about a means to and end...the end is advancing knowledge. In the course of putting rovers on Mars, we push technological boundaries. We need to push the envelope. Similarly, on the question, "what is leadership," it could be inspiration, national pride, scientific or security leadership. The space program contributes on several levels to our national leadership.
  • Mr. Sterner talked about the things we need to do better - articulate the Role, Relevance, and Engage Audiences. The trick is to segment our audience and deliver a message each audience will hear and embrace. It's not about getting the public to care about us - it's about showing them that the work we do impacts the things that they care about.

Office of Communications Planning Update (Bob Hopkins/OCP)

  • Bob provided an update of OCP activities in the following areas: Strategic Partnerships, Communications Material Review, Exhibit Outreach Program, Speakers Bureau, and Master Events Calendar.
  • Following these topics, Bob provided a preview of a web toolkit that OCP is creating, that will enable NASA employees to gain quick and easy access to "what's hot" links, program updates and presentations, tips for speaking to various audiences, NASA governing documents, and a wealth of other information that is geared toward helping NASA employees better communicate NASA's messages.
  • The Communications Toolkit was very well received by CCC members, and training on the tool was recommended. It was noted that something like this would be useful to provide externally as well, but there may be a bandwidth problem. A suggestion was made that perhaps a strategic partnership may be a low-cost avenue to providing this service externally.

CCC Discussion (Eric Sterner/SC)

  • Mr. Sterner reviewed the charter that was sent out earlier to all CCC members. Meetings will be held quarterly, most likely at Headquarters because the majority of CCC members are located at HQ.

Next Steps Discussion (Eric Sterner/SC and Bob Hopkins/OCP)

  • Mr. Hopkins provided a brief update on the Strategic Framework Implementation IPT. It was agreed this group would be incorporated as a working group under the CCC. Bob said OCP has asked the Mission Directorates (MDs) to do a survey of communication vehicles to get an idea of what is out there currently. He said OCP wants to help MD's use the framework and assist in the creation of communications materials and messages.
  • There was significant discussion about a problem many, particularly in the Centers, face when asking for assistance with outreach. Several centers said they'd like to see some kind of charge-back code, or process for standardizing how scientists and engineers account for time spent on outreach. Some suggested it be specified as a part of everyone's job, obviating the need for a specific charge-back code. A general concern that the process is currently not uniform across the Agency was noted, and the CCC agreed to try and help create an articulated process. A working group was suggested, but no specific members were assigned at the CCC meeting. (OCP has taken the action for framing an initial set of possible solutions to be briefed at next CCC meeting - see Actions).
  • Mr. Sterner briefed the next steps for the Framework, which include refining the SMC briefing and scheduling road shows to get feedback and answer questions. It was suggested that road shows allow 2 hours, to provide sufficient time for the briefing and questions.
  • Mr. Sterner said PAO and OLA embeds in the Mission Directorates will create planning cells to migrate day-to-day activities toward the Framework. This will introduce a more strategic approach. Embeds are action officers and are normally not accustomed to thinking strategically at the agency level. The challenge for each MD will be to customize the framework for specific missions and audiences.
  • The next part of the discussion centered on Working Groups that would be useful for the CCC to create. It was noted the Working Groups need to endeavor to make realistic recommendations that can be translated into actionable steps for implementation. Working groups will meet separately from the CCC and report back up to the CCC (See Actions for more information on Working Groups).
  • Mr. Sterner adjourned the meeting, announcing the next CCC meeting will be held in April, and suggestions for agenda items for future CCC meetings should be forwarded to Maureen O'Brien.

Minutes prepared by:

Maureen O'Brien
Acting Executive Secretary, Communications Coordinating Committee
Office of Communications Planning

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