Leading Today with Hyper-Disruptors

The government hearings with tech leaders led me to thinking about how to lead out of confusion, complexities, and challenges of a hyper-connected today.

Citizens are better informed, networked, organized, and demanding with enormous influence.

Businesses, in this case, Facebook, struggle with the speed in which companies’ reputations, consumer values, and expectations evolve with greater transparency.

Governments face greater constraint to solve a whole set of problems without much room for maneuvering – missing the mark for effective leadership or judgment. By struggling to strike the right tone to please-all, they feel insecure about adapting to the speed of ideas to lead and govern.

I think it starts from having enough insight, vision, and humility to recognize that what they offer from a business or the government standpoint is to meet the needs of consumers, citizens, and the environment in a collaborative working sense.

When a disruption is so large, it is more about changes in the method of implementation than political rhetoric or vision.

Be both a visionary and a realist. Create the conditions for tackling those problems within and in partnership with implementation strategies that are feasible, practical, and operational.

Government officials need to work with business or non-profit not only as a way to reduce cost but also for innovative and long-term solutions to manage multi-dimensional public policies.

Business leaders will need to balance responding to short-term solutions and long-term strategic policies part of the larger political reality by anticipating risk, clear social goals with flexibility and independent expert advice.

Leaders with responsibility towards the community working across sectors with empathy for humanity and trusted relationships will help bring innovation and delivery skills to the work of government, nonprofits, and citizens for profit, growth, and societal benefit.

Accelerating Tech for a Secure and Sustainable Future

When you think of working in the defense industry, you are right think about the arms – the military equipment, missiles, submarines, helicopters, etc. You’re quite right. So what it mean to be working in sustainable solutions in the world of defense tech?

The idea of working with the private sector for public applications is not new. In the past, most predominant forms of spending were through governmental entities such as DARPA  as R&D directorate and for weapons and military development – the Central Intelligence Agency’s publicly funded venture capital firm – In-Q-Tel or the Defense Innovation Unit.

Their sponsored research today became the technologies in our daily lives – the GPS, the Internet, the microwave, artificial intelligence, were all products from the State investments in technology.

Emerging technologies today have far outpaced the contracting model, where it now needs to move towards venture financing. The types of threats we are facing today including cyber – are outside the security contractor supply chain. The existing model’s ability to keep pace in future warfare is questionable.

The world of defense tech is an interesting one, where it extends beyond the traditional arms to encompass artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computers, cyber, robot, 5G (5th generation), urban air mobility (drones) mobile communication, and aerospace technologies.

At the current Center, we build a hub of: a) challenging technical problems; b) globally shared security challenges c) the intersection of commercial and public sectors, and d) with significant economic upside. We seek to work with venture capitalists accelerating dual-use early-stage technologies by facilitating technology transfer, and forming strategic alliances. 

We work with a network of highly vetted global advisors and partners, enabling us to map technologies to globally shared security challenges. We base our selection on performance, application of technologies to our partner’s mission capacities, and on complete alignment of interest. 

So how can defense tech serve as means for sustainability?

Aerospace and automobiles both rely on high technologies but are both major manufacturing industries relying on advanced materials, electronics, embedded systems, mechanical components, engines, and structures.

The basic idea is the same – you invest into new technologies that are more efficient, faster, smarter but to invest into clean technologies doesn’t also release toxic chemicals or with greater mitigation mechanisms to control GHG emissions.

The battery-powered electric airplanes are, believe it or not, already here. By investing into dual-use (commercial and public) technologies, clean technologies in the commercial sector could be bolstered with public sector investments. Through partnerships and their collaboration with domestic and foreign defense conglomerates, we can accelerate the progress of companies making a material difference in carbon emissions through increased incentives.

The vision is to invest into technologies to help advance the capabilities of the defense sector to have advanced technologies and to develop technologies that will enable the industry to shift from nonrenewable to renewable resources for energy and materials in a significant way – and thus will help to achieve a secure and sustainable future.