• We need to know our history, so that our future includes all

    Last week, I attended a Smart Cities Forum hosted by the City and County of Denver, and Megan Smith, U.S. CTO from 2014-17, provided the keynote. Megan’s speech moved at lightning speed, and I understand this is her M.O.

    Her presentation flies through a number of inspiring examples of technology and innovation across the nation, with an emphasis on community - how communities use technology, prepare the workforce of tomorrow and prepare for the future. In her former role, and in her current role as CEO of shift 7, Megan has seen it all. She’s witnessed some of the most connected communities in the nation and some that are far behind but where their resourcefulness and determination is inspiring. We learned that 33% of Americans and 24% of Denver households don’t have broadband. This isn’t necessarily because they don’t have access to broadband in their communities, but more so because of the prohibitive cost. With internet access at the core of learning and productivity at work, at school and at the core of smart cities, how do we ensure everyone has access?

    “We need to know our history, so that our future can include everyone,” Megan said during her talk. This was after listing several examples of women and minorities who have led the way for science and technology that most of us have probably never heard of. The founder of computer science? A woman. The first digital computer programmers? You guessed it - a group of women. Women such as Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper should be recognized and celebrated so that girls and women can see themselves in STEM today as they look back into history.

    It’s important to remember the collective effort it took to get us to the age of technology that we benefit from today so that we can be cognizant of the diverse perspectives needed to contribute to building the connected communities of the future.

    (On a related note, CTA is gearing up to celebrate the best of the best in CO tech at our annual APEX Awards in November. Please take a moment to nominate an individual or organization from your network to help us ensure our nomination pool represents a diverse mix of leaders and organizations!)