A Discussion with Geoff Orazem

This is part of a series of blog posts in which I will be asking innovators three important questions.  If you would like to participate in the conversation, shoot me a note on LinkedIn.

The views expressed in the below statements are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

 Geoff-BW

Geoff Orazem

Geoff Orazem is the CEO and Founder of Eastern Foundry, an incubator for government contractors in Crystal City and Rosslyn, VA. Geoff is a former Marine infantry platoon commander who served in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Following the Marine Corps he attended Harvard Law School after which he returned to Iraq as a Tribal Affairs officer with the Iraqi Transportation Network (ITN). Following the ITN he began working in McKinsey and Co.’s DC office as an Engagement Manager.

listen to the podcast

Advertisements

A Discussion with Benjamin Buchholz

This is part of a series of blog posts in which I will be asking innovators three important questions.  If you would like to participate in the conversation, shoot me a note on LinkedIn.

The views expressed in the below statements are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

Benjamin Buchholz

Ben is the Co Founder and CEO of Nthos Solutions, which helps commercial companies understand and influence hard to reach groups through the power of hyper-local open source human networks.

 

Graham: What are you currently working on that you think others would find interesting?

Ben: My company, Nthos Solutions, has developed a capability for conducting cyber-enabled information and influence work that uses gamification and other incentive techniques to provide companies with high-fidelity, low-touch, local information and engagement opportunities.  Originally we began working with this capability in the security field, helping companies extend their awareness and engagement beyond the perimeter of their traditional stand-off spaces.  But we quickly discovered the capability had applications in the PR and HR realms for large companies (no matter the vertical) and for the financial and risk management sectors.  We fit between the time/labor intensive ground-pounding activities of volunteer campaigns and the too-broad brushstrokes of PR and marketing solutions, able to precisely go after target markets but do so with a very light footprint.

Graham: What is one application of an emerging technology that makes you excited or concerned or both?

Ben: I’m really excited about blockchain.  I think it offers the promise to disrupt the financial sector, and that it also has a lot of interesting things to say about the permanence of IP.   What I’d really like to think about and write about is what the military/security implications of blockchain might be – not just in terms of the instability that might be a by-product of financial sector disruption but other security aspects that might not be getting thought about.

Graham: What is one way that you think people will need to adapt given new technological and cultural contexts?

My younger son, who just turned 15, is the number 3 ranked player in the game Destiny (out of 30 million worldwide players).  It’s been a big learning curve for me to not only accept but to encourage and facilitate what seems, from my parental perspective, a gaming addiction.  But I had to learn to look at it as a social activity, a sport, a hobby, AND a burgeoning career all at once.  Although mitigating the negative health effects of long periods of game play is still at the forefront of my mind (we talk a lot about balance in his choices of activities), I’m also continually looking for opportunities to help him explore his options as a young professional in this field.  It’s a strange world.  It’s a world he knows more about than I do.  So as an adult the trick seems to be in transferring, or somehow communicating, some of the successful strategies I’ve learned (in life, in business) to not only his new/weird chosen field, but also into the terms and motivations that appeal to him as a 15-year old.  Is he thinking of a career?  No.  But can he, and is he by default, preparing himself for a place in the gaming world?  Absolutely.  The gaming realm has its own tech (of course) and its own culture.  It’s not going away.  And just like everywhere else, there are people who are going to be masters of the system, innovators for the future, and profiteers, and those who end up on the wrong end of that equation.  So I think it is wise to look at gaming as something other than a hobby.  I’m working through that pain daily.

Links

A Discussion with JJ Snow

This is part of a series of blog posts in which I will be asking innovators three important questions.  If you would like to participate in the conversation, shoot me a note on LinkedIn.

The views expressed in the below statements are those of the individuals and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.

jj snow

JJ Snow is the SOCOM Donovan Group Innovation Officer working with SOFWERX. SOFWERX was created under a Partnership Intermediary Agreement between Doolittle Institute and the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Located in Tampa, FL, SOFWERX has a very dynamic environment designed to create a high rate of return on collision for all participants. Through the use of our growing ecosystem, promotion of divergent thought, and neutral facilitation, our goal is to bring the right minds together to solve challenging problems.

 

Graham: What are you currently working on that you think others would find interesting?

JJ: We are currently standing up a new 40,000 sq ft hackerspace to support U.S. Special Operations Command, the Strategic Capabilities Office and Interagency Partners in the areas of drones, big data, AI, machine learning, advanced robotics, novel space solutions, cyber, and biohacking. This addition to the SOFWERX family will provide additional creative collision space to foster government and technology community interactions in a public non-governmental facility. Our first initiative for the new facility, ThunderDrone, seeks to bring in drone and drone related technologies for review by the command and interagency partners who seek to leverage these capabilities to solve a variety of wicked problems including communications for disaster recovery, search and rescue, austere medical support, de-mining operations, logistics, training  and battlefield operations.

Graham: What is one application of an emerging technology that makes you excited or concerned or both?

JJ: The growing accessibility of advanced bio-technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 is a big concern. Not only are the regulations lagging in this area, but these capabilities are easy to procure via online sites in a ready to use format for under $300. They also require a significantly lower level of skill to successfully employ than previous techniques which necessitated advanced degrees and years of laboratory experience to “get it right”. While the Bio-Hacker community has done a fantastic job in establishing strong ethical and safety guidelines for their efforts, some nation state actors and non-state actors continue to forge ahead on initiatives of concern. The creation of Chimeric organisms, the application of CRISPR to human embryos and the potential for CRISPR to be leveraged to create modified biological agents of concern, whether intentionally or out of ignorance, are critical topics to address. CRISPR has the potential to be a tremendous life giving tool that can cure many diseases. But without open discussion and collaboration, the potential for misuse resulting in dangerous effects casts a long shadow over the many positive benefits.

Graham: What is one way that you think people will need to adapt given new technological and cultural contexts?

JJ: One of the more interesting developments is the legitimization of corporations and non-state actor groups as part of global governance structures. The new Technology Ambassador in Denmark, the Dutch government’s responsible disclosure policy which invites hackers to help inform government and address critical gaps, and the growing use of bug bounty programs to find and fix vulnerabilities by both government and corporate entities are all early phases of this process. Self Regulating Communities like the hackers, makers, bio-hackers and trans-humanists are already independently identifying problem areas in which the government lacks the access, expertise or capacity to successfully address problems and are leveraging technologies to find rapid fixes.  In the future, these unconventional networks will play a much larger role in governance at all levels so discussing how to best incorporate them and team with them today is very important. This is a topic the USSOCOM J5 Donovan Group is teaming up with the World Economic Forum and NATO SAC-T on to help define what the next generation of governance might look like.

 

Links