In Parts 1 through 5, I covered Nationalism, Commerce, Science, Saving the Earth, and Settlement as value propositions for human spaceflight, and pointed out the challenges for each that must be addressed to make each an enduring VP. Today I conclude the examination on value propositions for human spaceflight.
Conclusion. Since I’ve gone to the trouble to propose a series of value propositions for human spaceflight, what now? What good is there in listing a bunch of potential value propositions?
One point I’d like to make is based on a comment that Scott Pace told me in a one-on-one conversation when he was an Associate Administrator at NASA: “People self-select into NASA because they believe in the mission.” My interpretation of that statement is that people naturally, perhaps even unconsciously, seek an alignment of one’s core values with that of the organization. One could pose that an enduring value proposition is one in which the majority of stakeholders have core values aligned with the organization’s value proposition; conversely, a value proposition won’t endure if people don’t share it. Additionally, when value propositions are challenged or are changed, we end up with divides and perceived uncertainty of purpose. Such is the case today with NASA and human spaceflight.
Why do I say that? Let me illustrate by bringing to the table the stakeholders in NASA, and I’ll focus on two in particular: the Executive Office of the President (which I’ll simply call “the President” from this point forward), and the Congress.