Launching Innovation

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Space travel has a lot of parallels with running a startup, according to Tom Soderstrom. As IT Chief Technology Officer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Tom is watching emerging trends in IT. And Tom brings unique entrepreneurial skills to this position, due to his background in both science and working with entrepreneurs. Tom has been involved with NASA's International Space Apps Challenge since its beginning, five years ago. In Space Apps, citizen scientists all over the world collaborate in teams--often with complete strangers--to solve global problems. They only have a weekend, using provided technology and NASA open data, to complete a project. But the results can be amazing. At NASA's 2016 International Space Apps Challenge, Tom was onsite at Pasadena's Cross Campus facility, serving as a consultant to the teams. (He would also be one of the project judges, when the collaborators presented their work on the final day.) Tom talked about his background, the Space Apps challenge, and some of the ways NASA's vision for the future is sparking innovation we'll see in our lives within the next few years. On this episode of Over Coffee®, you'll hear: How Tom first became inspired to work as a scientist; Why Tom was drawn back to NASA after working in industry; Some surprising facts about patents and innovation; How Tom first came on board with NASA's International Space Apps Challenge; Some of the innovations citizen-science teams developed, during 2016 Space Apps; Resources Tom recommends to people from a non-scientific background, for learning how to program; How an entrepreneur's startup experience parallels the Space Apps Challenge, and NASA in general; Tom's projections of the ways NASA's innovations are going to affect space travel in the future; His "yardstick" for analyzing new, seemingly "crazy" ideas. A "crazy" idea that became one of NASA's most notable successes.

146 episodes available. A new episode about every 7 days averaging 19 mins duration .