Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith kept coming back to one idea: talent.
On the Department of Defense's role as a research-and-development powerhouse: “What I want to do is unlock talent.”
On the security of government servers: “We have a great team working on this.”
On the fumbled launch of Healthcare.gov: “What was great was tech folks showed up and helped it work. … How do we get more of that tech talent in the government?”
On whether slow regulation hinders innovation: “There are talented regulators running as fast as they can.”
Indeed, in a free-wheeling conversation with Ben Smith—Buzzfeed’s editor-in-chief and a former star Politico reporter—Megan Smith kept coming back to getting more folks in tech, period—and the very best ones in government. To that end, she said, American students should start learning to code in elementary school.
“Second graders learn to read, that’s a perfect time to make them code,” said Smith. She bemoaned the fact that many STEM classes had become less experiential and said that, if funding couldn’t be found for kids to get time in a lab, then perhaps “active learning” could make science and math more discovery-based.