From the Director:
I don’t believe the urban myth that most of us are, by nature, resistant to change. If that were true, people would not be so quick to buy new clothes, cut their hair, order something different at a restaurant, or accept a new job. What we are resistant to is being changed — having new systems forced upon us with no voice in the process and no stake in the outcome. But if we’re convinced the change will get us to a better place, most of us are willing to work through the process, and often excited about the prospects the change initiative brings.
That’s the driving principle behind what we do at the OPG. It’s important to build trust with forecasters when you’re proposing they incorporate some new data set, tool, method, or capability into their products and services. Forecasters are eager to adopt changes that incorporate new science, as long as it adds genuine value to their work and their understanding. But if you promise improvement and deliver little more than additional workload, you break trust and they become skeptical about the next new thing.
By giving forecasters the opportunity to test new, emerging technologies and techniques in a setting that emulates their operational work environment, we provide them an active voice in the change process. If the people for whom the tool is designed find it lacking, it can either be rejected outright, or recycled through the development process for needed improvements to be made. On the other hand, if forecasters endorse it as something that offers substantive improvement to their decision making, their forecast process, or their provision of services, its deployment to the field can be accelerated.
By enhancing interaction between NWS operations, physical and social science research communities, and critical core partners, we believe the OPG serves a valuable role in helping forecasters feel they are part of leading change, not being changed. And that’s exciting!
The OPG Vision is to prepare today’s forecasters for tomorrow’s Weather-Ready Nation.
The OPG mission is to represent NWS field offices in the R2O process by conducting pre-deployment readiness evaluations of promising new science and technology innovations in a realistic operational environment. In addition, some experimental services and methods for improving communication of NWS expertise to core partners are subjects of OPG assessment. Where appropriate, these tests involve collaborations with relevant stakeholders such as social scientists or emergency management officials.