Can we scout and scale technology solutions to the biggest challenges our society faces using the venture capitalist model? Can we capacity build the American people? Megan Smith argues that we can—in fact, she shows that we already are. At Google, General Magic, and Apple Japan, she brought deeply cross-functional teams together to solve significant challenges. Smith adopted that same approach in the federal government, identifying patterns and best practices that are making a difference in towns and cities across the United States, and then exploring how to reproduce them in other parts of the country. From retraining and building confidence in coal miners in Eastern Kentucky to reducing prison populations in Miami-Dade County, Smith’s examples will illustrate how your organization can identify what’s already working and how best to replicate that success.
During her tenure as the third chief technology officer of the United States, Megan Smith fundamentally altered the composition of the federal government. Her team collaboratively recruited top talent “rabble-rousers” from Silicon Valley and other tech sectors to address such critical issues as artificial intelligence, education and training, urban and rural poverty, data science, and economic inclusion. Smith describes how they teamed up with colleagues to employ their talents and adopt new approaches to using data, innovation, and rapid iteration in order to create a more open, collaborative, and responsive government—and explains how your company can do the same.
Megan Smith believes that, in order to fully unleash your organization’s economic potential and competitiveness, you have to include a broader team in problem-solving. She refutes the notion that diverse voices haven’t always been part of the story, pointing to significant contributors from America’s “missing history.” Smith also explains how we can move much faster to retain and recruit inclusive teams, mitigate unconscious and institutional biases, and foster “ecosystem thinking”—bringing more people to the table, inspiring creative confidence, and solving our biggest problems.