Faced with an impossible challenge? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find someone who’s already solved the problem – and help those inventors keep inventing. Megan Smith calls that technique “scout and scale.” She did it as United States CTO under President Obama (launching the U.N. Solutions Summit and a tech jobs tour). She did it at Google (acquiring startups to bring famed products to life). She did it as CEO of PlanetOut. And she continues today with her new company shift7. Cameo appearance: Monique Sternin (adjunct professor at Tufts University).
No organization that’s entirely closed – or entirely open – can scale as successfully as an organization that combines both. Yes, organizations that are open invite a bit of chaos – but that chaos breeds innovation. Knowing which aspects of your organization should be open and which should be closed will set you on a path to rapid scale. No one knows this better than Joi Ito. He has spent his career championing radically open systems, from Creative Commons to cyber currency. Now as Director of the famed MIT Media Lab, he’s focused on facilitating open conversations so we can keep pace with the shifting challenges we face in our companies, institutions, and societies. Cameo appearance: Megan Smith (former U.S. Chief Technology Officer).