“Saving $500,000 via Knowledge Sharing Storytelling, is hardly something to shrug off”

My last blog featured Knowledge Sharing story of Marty Davis from NASA. Now, you may wonder WHAT IS THE ROI of knowledge sharing ?

My answer is in another story from NASA…

After Marty Davis’s Story got published in the Ask Magazine, a supervisor from a different centre of NASA read it and took the article to Sue Mortil who had experienced a Concept Review that had not gone well, and her entire team was in the dumps. It took months for them to stop feeling lousy about their work and themselves. Not exactly a fun place to be in for Sue, the project manager, as she headed into the next review.

After reading the article Sue met Marty and explained to him what had happened with her review. After listening to Sue, Marty said,“Well, you don’t want that. Here are the 3 areas for change”


A project manager needs to be involved in selecting the review panel which is not the usual practice. This doesn’t mean that the panel is going to be less independent, or that you’re trying to hide a problem. It means that you’re looking for particular expertise. He encouraged me to be forceful. “This can best be handled by presenting the benefits to making this change,” Marty told me


My program manager identified the person who ended up being chair of the review board. I called and spoke with him to find out if he was interested in working on the board. He had more than 25 years of experience with hardware similar to my project. He understood what it took to take a flight project from concept to design and through development


Quite often in a review process you get questions about very detailed information which leads to 2 problems. The review running overtime and off purpose.

Marty explained that if he ever encountered that he would step in and say , “Let’s have a one-on-one about this tomorrow.”


I blocked 2 weeks and had streamlined reviews for -high level stuff which was a presentation
-detailed stuff which was organised in an informal dialogue way
It was amazing how well it went

Upon reflection in Sue’s words, the difference between the two reviews she had experienced was

“I estimate that the first review which had not gone well cost the project $700,000. The second review about $200,000. Reviews are expensive and time consuming — but they should also be beneficial. If you can refine the process and tailor it to best serve your system, your project will reap benefits.

Saving half a million dollars

via knowledge sharing storytelling,

after all, is hardly something to shrug off”



We go to a review process like we are giving an exam. Reviews are a joint responsibity of the panel and project team. Most of the follow up for further action from reviews builds because of the miscommunication between the reviewers and project team.


One on One communication can solve that. It you take the formality away a lot can be achieved. Addressing an inappropriate Follow up questions is a waste of my time, the engineer’s time, and the reviewer’s time. The review board did write Request For Actions, but many others were not written because of the one-on-one sessions with the technical people on the project. With every comment that the review panel made, they gave us valuable suggestions. The whole board, by the way, recommended that we go forward with the design

Key Lessons

Storytelling for InterviewsPeople within large organizations have probably already dealt with problems similar to the problems that you face; you can save time and money by taking advantage of that experience and knowledge.
Storytelling for InterviewsKnowledge sharing by mentors can empower less experienced managers who would otherwise not challenge the status quo.

Storytelling for InterviewsReviews should encourage joint problem solving rather than just reporting. To accomplish this, ensure that the review process is viewed as feedback from independent and supportive experts.

Are you storytelling for knowledge sharing and saving your costs? How can you do that ? Contact us to explore how this can be done for you.

—-The content of the NASA story is slightly modified to make it easy for readers to understand —

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"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"