NTOA Forums Strategic Leadership SWAT Command Decision-Making And Leadership II: Problem Solving, Analytical Thinking & Decision Making What did the Apollo 13 Flight Director do to Come-up with Alternatives? Did the NASA Culture Support Divergent Thought?

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    • #4615
    • #6907
      mmWayne Griffin

      The Apollo 13 Flight Director had the individuals working in the command center contact anyone they knew on their support teams to beginning brainstorming how to safely bring the astronauts home. Years later, he was quoted as saying there was a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D and so forth and so on in place. I believe that the NASA culture supports the divergent thinking process.

    • #7020
      Anthony Kies

      The Director of Apollo 13 was very divergent in his thinking as he opened the lines of communication up to anyone and all who had an idea or solution. The Director is very direct on his initiatives and states ” Failure isn’t an option.” The NASA Culture very much supports divergent thought which is what lead to the solution of figuring out a way to move the astronauts into a smaller capsule on the rocket to save energy and oxygen so they could make it home.

    • #7706
      Jeffrey Brown

      The Director was certainly thinking out of the box to solve his problems. He reached out to the staff, the engineers, the manufacturers and the assembly line workers who would have critical knowledge of the components of the aircraft to attempt to find the best solution to the problems that were occurring out in space. I’m not sure if the culture supported Divergent thought, but they did have a collaborative effort. The director placed everyone in a position to force them into finding options to correct the problems the mission was having as a whole. The directors thought process and directives caused divergent thought.

    • #7984
      mmJacob Taylor

      NASA supports a divergent environment in regards to their people and problem-solving techniques. Everyone’s input was seen as important and the goal of safely returning these men home was the sole focus. This type of culture leads people to do more with less and the team becomes more important than the individual.

    • #8372
      Jon Thompson

      The flight director opened up all avenues to creative problem solving. He asked for input from everyone in the command center and asked that they contact each person who may have had some role in their particular task. It doesn’t appear at the outset that NASA culture supported divergent thinking, as I repeatedly heard remarks to the effect of “we’ve never done it that way before…”. The ending of that clip was insightful, as the astronaut suit is dumped on the table and it’s “all hands on deck” to find the appropriate solution.

    • #8398
      mmChris Eklund

      They dedicated all viable personnel to come together and work out problem solving measures to look at it from as many angles possible. This supports divergent thinking.

    • #8614
      Jesse Laintz

      What did the Apollo 13 Flight Director do to Come-up with Alternatives? Did the NASA Culture Support Divergent Thought?

      In Apollo 13 Gene Kranz, the Flight Director, was played by Ed Harris, and when he needed solutions to get the astronauts home after the service module exploded he needed solutions to answers that were unknown and unthought-of of until that point in time. In other words, they had to accomplish the unthinkable and work outside their normal. To accomplish this Kranz allowed people to think freely, brainstorm, and work with people outside their normal respective teams. The teams were very diverse instead of single-task orientated. I am not sure of what the NASA culture was during this time, but I would think the culture would support divergent thought. NASA is always working on the unknown and trying to accomplish things that have not been done yet, so generating creative ideas and exploring many possibilities to a solution would be important NASA, you would think anyway.

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