#37 Lauren Knausenberger, Former US Air Force CIO

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In this episode of Building the Base Laruen Bedula and Hondo Geurts chat with, former Chief Information Officer of the Air Force, Lauren Knausenberger. Lauren shares her journey from the private sector to government service and her experiences in driving innovation and collaboration between the tech industry and the Department of Defense (DOD). She emphasized the importance of partnerships between the government and private sector, highlighting historical examples like GPS and the internet that originated from DOD research. Knausenberger stressed the need for a cohesive strategy, shared market awareness, and strong relationships between startups and the government. She also highlighted the challenges of navigating the bureaucratic processes and cultural differences, emphasizing the significance of persistence and differentiation in gaining government contracts. Reflecting on her time in government, she recognized the progress made in understanding technology but emphasized the need for continued efforts to bridge the gap between tech and the DOD.

Key Takeaways: 
  1. Cross-Pollination Between Sectors: The importance of collaboration between the private sector and government, leveraging each other's strengths and innovations.

  2. Challenges in Government Partnership: Overcoming cultural and perception barriers between the tech community and the government, addressing issues of trust and collaboration.

  3. Government Procurement Dynamics: Understanding that the government buys solutions, not just technology, emphasizing the need for integrated solutions rather than isolated technologies.

  4. Building Relationships: The significance of building relationships and understanding the needs of the government agencies, emphasizing the role of hustle, persistence, and a compelling pitch in establishing these connections.

  5. Evolving Government Engagement: The changing landscape of government engagement, including the role of venture communities, industry events, and platforms like AF Works, highlighting the need for adaptability and innovation in engaging with government agencies.

#37 Lauren Knausenberger, Former US Air Force CIO
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