The Beatles had the right idea; we work better as a team, and what’s better for a team than communication? Since January 2015, S&T has called upon our friends all over the world to help us reinvent the way we conduct research and development (R&D). So what does that mean? I guess you could say we’re taking our relationship with the communities of America to a new level. We’re opening up the channels of communication. We’re establishing a meaningful dialogue. Simply put, we’re talking.
The S&T National Conversation on Homeland Security Technology is our way to crowd source innovative ideas about how to improve a variety of challenges we face in today’s world of increasing security and public safety concerns. Everything from equipment for first responders, to cyber security, to making airport security easier to navigate. I want to share with you what I learned from the National Conversation, and how your imagination and innovation keep the conversation going.
The inaugural year of the National Conversation tackled S&T’s five visionary goals in addition to other emerging topics:
- Responder of the Future: Protected, Connected, and Fully Aware
- Enable the Decision Maker: Actionable Information at the Speed of Thought
- Screening at Speed: Ensuring that Security Matches the Pace of Life
- A Trusted Cyber Future: Protecting Privacy, Commerce and Community
- Resilient Communities: Disaster Proofing Society
- Bio/Agro Security Innovation
- Mass Transit Security: Protecting Our Railways and Subways
- Transforming Airport Borders: Ensuring Secure and Efficient Airport Border Operations
From suggestions, to concerns, to complaints, we read them all. We got a lot of useful input that will positively impact our outlook for years to come. I’m inspired by the passion that came through your posts, and I appreciate it. Through your contributions, we were able to establish dialogues that matter to our communities and the people who serve them. The best part? Those conversations were only just the beginning.
On a broader level, the National Conversation illustrated the need for S&T to change the way we conduct R&D. In order to do that, we first have to change the way we talk about the issues, and it’s amazing what can be accomplished once you talk it out.
The government can sometimes lose the message while navigating through the process. This can complicate how we communicate today’s challenges, translate today’s needs, and design tomorrow’s solutions. In a nutshell, we need to talk more - and be more specific - about what S&T needs to know, and more importantly, why we need to know it.
This year, armed with your input, we’re doing just that.
Soon, we’re launching the Flood Resilience dialogue. Our first priority will be to gain a keen understanding of decisions and considerations people face when they have to decide where (and how) they want to establish a home base, for example, or confront flood-related risks and threats. We also want to know how people affected by floods move forward and rebuild their lives after experiencing loss. Knowing these things helps us to understand. If we don’t understand what it takes to help our people in our communities become more resilient, we narrow our ability to help government, academia, and industry to perform their jobs more effectively.
Please join the conversation, and help us to become better and stronger, together. You can also go to our Facebook page to continue the discussion, add suggestions, and connect with us. Change can be found in the power of communication. Let your voice be heard!