I’ve been asked by many people inside and outside of NASA. What are my thoughts on the departure of Chris Kemp from the role of CTO for IT?
I like Chris. And I’ve enjoyed tackling some I.T. issues with him at NASA over the past few years. The first time we sat down and had lunch together in, I found that I saw eye to eye with him on many things. We immediately found common ground in the desire to be disruptive within NASA. Chris was most definitely disruptive1. Not only did he bring fresh ideas about information technology to NASA but he brought fresh ways of tackling them. Agile ways. He tried to work at a high energy pace2 in a manner that was more familiar with those who have worked in commercial industry or start up cultures. The pace at which he tried to get things done was my favorite thing about him.
The void he leaves is one of approach as much as it is knowledge. Will NASA survive without him? Of course it will. NASA is too big an institution to fall apart because one person left. But whoever fills the role needs to bring the energy.