New U.S. Technology Officer cites importance of leaders not allowing skills to lag

January 07, 20151 minute read

Megan Smith, an M.I.T-trained mechanical engineer and former Google executive, has become the first woman to act as the top technology advisor to the Obama administration. According to an article in the New York Times, Ms. Smith brings her Silicon Valley sensibility to the role and “cringes when she hears highly educated adults say how bad they are at science and math.”

Senior supply chain leaders participating in AWESOME discussions have also encouraged their peers to embrace and utilize technological innovations that have become so critical in the field and to include technology capabilities in their skill set.

The article describes Ms. Smith’s challenges involved in correcting the out-of-date technology prevalent in government departments and the culture that supports it. One of her ideas for increasing “the engineering voice” in problem-solving was to hold a brain-storming-and-prototyping day where health experts, engineers and designers collaborated on improving protective suits for health workers fighting the Ebola virus.

The article also points out that four of the five divisions of the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy are headed by women.