I am Director of Google Ideas, which is a new entity at Google housed inside of the Business Operations and Strategy Group. We call ourselves a think/do tank because we look at big global challenges —radicalization/terrorism, fragile states, democracy, etc. — and we convene, connect and integrate across different sectors, disciplines and experiences to reframe these challenges in ways that account for every perspective. Everything we do starts with a Google Idea, or a new hypothesis around those challenges that we then seek to prove. Our end goal at Google Ideas is not to build a product and not to fully solve these challenges; instead we are trying to change the way the world thinks about and acts on those challenges. And in the course of looking at this challenge through a new and comprehensive approach, we may look for ways that technology can help address the dearth of alternatives that are absent in many places where extremists recruit. Google Ideas is organized based on focus areas and heavily focused on collaborating not just inside of Google but with the public sector, civil society organizations, academic entities, and other private sector companies.
Prior to Google I worked as a member of the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and a close advisor to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. During the Bush and Obama administrations I worked to develop our counter-radicalization strategy as well as key strategies related to the Middle East, including what we called “21st century statecraft.” The assumption behind this is that in the 21st century statecraft is as much about building connections as it is doing negotiations. I started reaching out to technology companies and assembling delegations of tech experts to help the US government understand how technology could be applied to address critical foreign policy priorities in some of the world’s most unlikely places.