First in Future: NC Office of Science, Technology & Innovation Executive Director John Hardin

Summary: These days, we’re inundated by what the North Carolina Office of Science, Technology and Innovation call a “data tsunami.” Here’s a mind-blowing number from their recently released report: We have collected more data about ourselves and our world in the past two years than we have collected in all of human history. Given that data – and its influence on our lives – isn’t going away, we need to find a way to do more with it. This week, we sit down with John Hardin, Executive Director of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation, to tease out some of the ways we could use data to help us be “first in future.” We also unmask John’s favorite superhero – an amalgam of all the core strengths embodied by forward-thinking North Carolinians.

Excerpt: “If you don’t have someone who wakes up every day and goes to bed every day thinking about these issues, and during the day working on these issues, it’s likely that those issues will not be addressed in the way they should be. In today’s economy, there’s a huge intersection between all these issues – science, technology and innovation – and they help to grow the economy, as well as improve the human condition overall. We try to make sure North Carolina has the assets, people, programs and institutions in place that make North Carolina as strong as it can be.”

Book recommendation: Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making, Deborah Stone

Favorite superhero: The so-called Versatillion: “My ideal superhero would be someone who has multiple powers and has the ability to know when to deploy those powers in certain circumstances. The ability to do this relies on two things: One is good information, and two is having good values to know how to use that information. I think it’s someone who has balance and has understanding and compassion and the information with which to make good decisions. There aren’t enough of those people in the world.”

What does The Versatillion look like? What characteristics, skills and abilities must they possess to be the hero North Carolina needs? Submit your vision for North Carolina’s Homegrown Superhero, a superhero of the future, to our First in Future contest!

Listen to the podcast: