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CEOS Self-Study. Patricia JacobbergerJellison NASA CEOS Self-Study. Objectives: To identify and evaluate CEOS successes and strengths in achieving real coordination in space-based Earth observations for societal benefit.

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ceos self study
CEOS Self-Study

Patricia JacobbergerJellison


ceos self study1
CEOS Self-Study


  • To identify and evaluate CEOS successes and strengths in achieving real coordination in space-based Earth observations for societal benefit.
  • To identify CEOS challenges and areas needing improvement
  • To identify potential new CEOS initiatives for the next 3-5 years.
css structure and scope
CSS Structure and Scope:
  • Steering Committee
  • Three Study Teams
    • Executive Functions
    • Working Groups and SBAs
    • Constellations
  • Review of existing CEOS documents, & products
  • Engagement with past & present CEOS Leadership
  • Broad canvassing of CEOS community
  • Timeline ~ 8 months
  • Products
    • Study Team reports
    • Synthesis Report
    • Bibliography
steering committee members
Steering Committee Members:
  • PakornApaphant
  • Stefano Bruzzi
  • Simonetta Cheli
  • Julio Dalge
  • Yukio Haruyama
  • Brian Killough
  • Kerry Sawyer
  • Guy Seguin
  • Brent Smith
  • Tim Stryker
  • Patricia Jacobberger-Jellison (Chair)
study team leads
Study Team Leads:
  • Ivan Petiteville – Study Team for Executive Functions
  • Martha Maiden – Study Team for Working Groups and SBAs
  • Stephen Ward – Study Team for Constellations
ceos self study approach
CEOS Self Study Approach:
  • Use framework of overarching evaluation questions
  • Use information from CEOS’s existing body of documents
  • Solicit input and perspective from past CEOS leadership
  • Study Teams looked at specific structural areas:
    • Executive Functions
    • Working Groups and SBAs
    • Virtual Constellations
  • Broad canvassing of CEOS community (individuals and groups)
  • Synthesis of major themes
  • Development of findings and recommendations
the big questions
The Big Questions:
  • Does CEOS have clearly-defined goals and objectives that are aligned with its mission?
  • Are CEOS's objectives commensurate with the available resources (human, physical, fiscal, and informational)?
  • How does CEOS measure and document progress toward goals?
  • What are CEOS’s most important successes to date?
  • What are the most important opportunities for improvement in CEOS over the next 3-5 years?
  • What are the most important new initiatives for CEOS to set for the next 3-5 years?
  • Are there activities that should be ceased?
  • What other points or issues would it be beneficial for the CEOS Self-Study to address?


  • February 2011: Study proposed
  • February 2011: Concept presented at CEOS Actions Meeting
  • March-April 2011: Organization
  • May 2011: Steering Committee and Study Team Leads convened
  • May – August 2011: Conduct work & draft Study Team reports
  • September 2011 – Preliminary findings at SIT Technical Workshop
  • September – October 2011: Analysis and preparation of overall draft report
  • 27 October 2011: CSS Plenary Draft Report delivered and distributed
  • November 2011: Presentation of findings at CEOS Plenary
report statistics
Report Statistics:
  • Synthesis Report is 15 pages
    • 13 Findings
    • 15 Recommendations across 5 categories
  • Annexes provide >200 pages of depth
    • Full Study Team Reports plus 1-2 page synopses
    • Summary of results from leadership interviews
    • Supplementary material
  • Reflects the input of more than 80 people
  • Why a Synthesis Report? 75 > 15 > 5
ceos self study2

Strategic Thinking:

    • - Develop a Strategic Plan & Implementation Plan
  • Decision-making and New Initiatives:
    • - Develop a process for selecting new initiatives
    • - Consider increased hazards/disaster focus
  • Organizational Functions:
    • - Articulate functions needed to accomplish mission
    • - Consider modifying current structure to better suit functions
  • Membership and Participation:
    • - Develop process for acceptance/involvement of new members
    • - Find out why some members are not participating
  • Meeting Objectives:
    • - Reduce redundancy, balance reporting with discussion/decisions

CEOS Self-Study:

Five Key Recommendations

strategic thinking
Strategic Thinking:

FINDING: CEOS’s objectives have grown, not evolved.


CEOS’s original strategic objectives should be reviewed and updated.

strategic thinking1
Strategic Thinking:

FINDING: CEOS has many significant successes; sustaining successful relationships & activities is where the challenge is.


CEOS needs a Strategic Plan to help set priorities, with work plans to ensure implementation. The plan should address primary CEOS goals and those of WGs, VCs and SBAs, not just GEO Work Plan goals.

decision making and new initiatives
Decision-making and New Initiatives:

FINDING: CEOS has many activities, and there is no clear process for selecting or approving new activities or tasks. Each new proposal is handled ad hoc, endangering success by placing excessive stress on groups and resources.


CEOS must meet the commitments that have already been made and ensure that current activities have sufficient guidance and autonomy to succeed.


CEOS must develop and implement a process for selecting new activities and tasks, including adjudication among multiple good ideas, and how decisions will be taken.


decision making and new initiatives1
Decision-making and New Initiatives:

FINDING: Respondents repeatedly highlighted hazards and disaster monitoring and response as a topic of great societal importance for consideration as a new CEOS initiative.


Using the decision-making process that CEOS will develop and implement, CEOS should consider the topic of hazards and disaster monitoring & response as a potential new CEOS initiative for increased focus.

organizational functions
Organizational Functions:

FINDING: The current organizational structure, responsibilities and term durations are acceptable to the majority; the current voluntary approach is acceptable. The CEO and SEO roles are positive contributions to CEOS. A better balance between routine administrative work and handling of strategic issues is needed.


Update Terms of Reference for the CEO and other positions to achieve better balance between strategic issues and administrative functions. Increase the term of the CEO etc. to 2 or 3 years to help maintain continuity of operations.

organizational functions1
Organizational Functions:

FINDING: There is confusion within CEOS regarding the complex leadership structure, and a lack of clarity regarding the roles, responsibilities and authorities of the CEOS Chair, SIT Chair, CEO, DCEO, SEO, and Executive Secretariat. The overall structure of CEOS has become cumbersome and difficult to navigate, with connections that are not clearly defined or managed.


CEOS should examine, simplify, and communicate the leadership structure, roles and responsibilities, and connections among organizational elements as needed to properly support its work.

organizational functions2
Organizational Functions:

FINDING: CEOS does not always adequately record or update its Terms of Reference, decisions and accomplishments, and does not have an explicit administrative focal point for such tasks other than the rotating best-efforts of CEOS Chair staff.



CEOS should evaluate what documentation of decisions, actions, and progress it genuinely needs (commensurate with resources). It should establish internal processes and designate responsible parties to sustain that documentation effort.

organizational functions3
Organizational Functions:

FINDING: Working Groups, SBAs and Virtual Constellations are not laterally well-coordinated, though they carry on important CEOS work. Current task loads are not commensurate with existing personnel and other resources.


Strengthen working relationships among WGs, SBAs, and VCs to support common CEOS objectives and synergies. Encourage leadership attendance at working meetings to help communicate CEOS priorities. Rebalance the task load.


Articulate CEOS goals and objectives for SBA Coordinators and formalize roles and responsibilities via Terms of Reference. Consider greater emphasis on the physical results of coordination.

membership and participation
Membership and Participation:

FINDING: Participation in CEOS meetings by associate members has declined, and while there is anecdotal evidence that attributes this to participation in GEO, there is a paucity of evidence to confirm this assertion.



As a follow-on to the Self Study, CEOS should reach out to non-active Associate Members and non-active full members to understand their reasons for no longer participating in CEOS.

membership and participation1
Membership and Participation:

FINDING: As a volunteer organization, it is critical that CEOS maintain an active membership to achieve its goals. There must be a clear method for accepting new members and assessing the participation of current members and associates, and for ensuring that all members are empowered to participate.


New CEOS members and associates should have a trial period prior to acceptance as full members or associates, during which time every effort should be made to engage and facilitate inclusion of new members in CEOS activities.

membership and participation2
Membership and Participation:

FINDING: Insufficient participation by members and the resultant inability to do succession planning hampers the ability of Working Groups, Virtual Constellations, and SBAs to accomplish their tasks, and places an excessive burden upon the agencies and individuals who do participate.


WGs, VCs, and SBAs should provide lists of strongly desired members to the CEOS SIT, so that CEOS Principals can be made aware. If participation continues to be too low to sustain necessary activities, CEOS leadership should work with Co-chairs to identify and address the reasons.


FINDING: There is frustration that CEOS meetings are repetitive and dominated by reporting and review of routine task progress at the expense of discussion, coordination, and decision-making.


Consider developing a unified meeting plan, in which the scope, format, and purpose of major meetings for the entire year are developed. Revise the format of meetings to reduce repetition and reporting, to ensure engaged participation, and to facilitate discussion and decision-making.



FINDING: External agencies recognize that CEOS Working Groups and Constellations are the primary forums to address Earth observation needs, and often request CEOS group support. These requests result in a large number of tasks within each group with no process to evaluate relevance and priority.


The CEOS Plenary and/or SIT meetings should provide sufficient time for consideration of Working Group, Virtual Constellation, and SBA Team priorities and recommendations together with strategic discussion and direction to these groups on their annual work.


Next Steps:

09 November – Presentation of findings & recommendations at CEOS Plenary

10 November – Implementation begins.