Megan Smith: 'Go and find people and get them on your team'

The U.S. government’s chief technology officer has a simple piece of advice for anyone working in development. “The key thing if you want to add tech,” Megan Smith said in an interview at Devex World, “go and find people and get them on your team.”

For too long, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and aid agencies have thought of technologists as outsiders — people to bring in for specific tasks. Instead, she suggests, get data and other tech specialists involved at the ground level, and new innovations may result.

That means thinking about technology as a “what” but rather as, “who’s missing from my team who knows this subject fluently,” she said.

Listen in on our interview for more insights about how technology can change development organizations and why it’s just the beginning of digital governance.

With potential to change the trajectory of crises, such as famines or the spread of diseases, the innovative use of data will drive a new era for global development. Throughout this monthlong Data Driven discussion, Devex and partners will explore how the data revolution is changing our approach to achieving development outcomes and reshaping the future of our industry. Help us drive the conversation forward by tagging #DataDriven and @devex.

About the author

  • Elizabeth Dickinson

    Elizabeth Dickinson is a former associate editor at Devex. Based in the Middle East, she has previously served as Gulf correspondent for The National, assistant managing editor at Foreign Policy, and Nigeria correspondent at The Economist. Her writing also appeared in The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Politico Magazine, and Newsweek, among others.