Innovation is about the People

Innovation is about the People

Innovation is about the People

INSA's Coffee & Conversation virtual speaker series continued last week when INSA President Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg spoke with Juliane Gallina, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the CIA, about her views on innovation, private-public partnerships in the IC, and changes that have been made within the CIA during the COVID-19 switch to remote work.

Ms. Gallina shared that many of her perspectives regarding innovation come from her roots in the Navy, which always emphasized the importance of people and having compassion and empathy. This, alongside her industry experience, has led her to believe that serious professionals who drive innovation care more about people than costs and sales. In fact, several of the books and podcasts that Ms. Gallina recommended during webinar reiterate this idea and have helped to further define her opinions on the matter.

In regard to tech transfer at the CIA, she explained how, since the beginning of the Agency, it has been an organization that continually reinvents itself from the inside out—renewing and modernizing its tradecraft and technology while keeping its core values. Ms. Gallina highlighted several partnerships with organizations that are both longstanding and fairly new, in order to focus on a variety of issues that complement each other and work to broaden the Agency's technological aperture. However, she went on to explain how the ecosystem of tech transfer is not always seamless and can create chasms between leadership, those put in charge of innovation, and security experts. The CIA has been continually working on addressing this chasm by adding in a "middle-man" to help transfer ideas and preferences between each part of the ecosystem, and they have seen great results from these interventions.

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Ms. Gallina also described her own adjustment to remote work during the pandemic and the personal difficulties she has faced trying to find a new balance in all areas of her life. Grappling with these challenges has helped her become more empathetic towards her colleagues who have been experiencing similar stresses themselves. She believes it is essential for the Agency to address how to make the workforce feel safe, balanced, and prepared in the transition back to work.

Catch up on what you missed — Watch the program recording!

Thank you to our host sponsor:

Caroline Henry

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