The National Defense University (NDU) is not your typical university. Located on Ft. McNair, a United States Army post located at the intersection of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers in Washington, D.C., NDU provides select US Government trailblazers the opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary to think clearly in an increasingly complex world. The University educates, develops, and inspires these future leaders to run their respective Government agencies following best practices of world class organizations.

On April 11th, Gemini Data was pleased to host a particular group of emerging leaders who are part of the Chief Information Officer LDP Course at Fort McNair. Every year they visit some of the best minds at various technology companies in Silicon Valley to learn what it takes to manage and inspire their colleagues, effectively and efficiently implement technology to execute their mission, and make the working life easier for the people who use these tools. This year’s cohort was comprised of 7 members from the US Navy, US Army, FBI, and State Department, and was led by Dr. Jamal Marwan and LTC Michael Love of NDU’s College of Information & Cyber Security.

These future leaders visited Gemini Data's offices in San Francisco’s historic Presidio district. Against the beautiful backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and western shoreline, they spent a few hours understanding how we use tools, processes, & forward leaning strategies to deliver a world class product at an accelerated pace while maintaining resource efficiency. With insights from Gemini’s leadership team, we were also able to discuss what challenges they face with technology and human capital and share our experiences in dealing with these topics: how we strategize, make decisions, prioritize ideas, and most importantly, how we make sure everything is properly implemented to overcome problems and keep evolving successfully.

The goal for these conversations is to have these “students” look forward to working with industry towards cutting edge, non-traditional perspectives, take that innovative approach back to their agencies, and inject these new-found insights into government life. I’ve been doing this for a few years with NDU, and I’m delighted that Gemini is now part of such a rare and unique partnership. It isn't too often that we have the opportunity to openly discuss what works and what doesn’t in an environment where we are learning from them as much as they are from us.

Our VP of Marketing, Heather Gadonniex, receiving a National Defense University pencil holder (or shot glass depending on who you talk to in our office) at the conclusion of the morning briefing.

One topic touched on is how incredible yet misunderstood technology can sometimes be. The answers and information technology give us are often tough to translate because we all communicate and understand things differently. A disconnect often occurs with a lack of context, which is only amplified when you include all the analytics, alerts, insights, and information big data brings into the mix. By adding a tried & tested human element–a story–you are able to explain what happened, the impact behind it, why it’s important, and the steps needed to take action: all which can be understood by everyone. This notion of stories resonated throughout the group because a story not only provides everyone the information they need to interpret the events, but a context that allows everyone to come to the same conclusions from those transpired events.

It is exactly for this reason that I was excited share with these leaders from NDU about Gemini Data's committment to applying stories across all types of data. They understood that with stories comes context and with context, they could gain true meaning and understanding across their organizations and teams.