Alec Ross: New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the State Department

Alec Ross

New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at the State Department

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At the Podium

  • Alec Ross provides an in-depth look at innovation & technology at the intersection of government, business, education–how can both better serve your organization?
  • Alec Ross presents actionable insight on the country’s current issues and emerging technological trends that audiences can’t hear from anyone else.

Alec Ross is one of America’s leading experts on innovation. He has been an entrepreneur, served for four years as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, and advised President Obama on the intersection of technology and geopolitics during his first presidential campaign. He worked in a similar capacity during his time as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, a role created for him to maximize the potential of technology and innovation in service of America’s diplomatic goals. In this role, Ross advanced the State Department’s interests on a range of issues including Internet Freedom, cybersecurity, disaster response, and the use of network technologies in conflict zones. Currently, he continues to educate various world leaders and top CEOs about these topics.

Ross’s best-selling book, The Industries of the Future, explores the technological and economic trends and developments that will shape the next decade, from cybersecurity and big data to the commercialization of genomics to the code-ification of money, markets and trust. Since its publication in February of 2016, it has gone into an 8th printing and the rights have been sold for translation into 18 languages.

The next ten years are going to be even more disruptive than the last ten. What are the industries and innovations that are going to shake the marketplace? Drawing on his New York Times bestseller The Industries of the Future and his experience in government and industry, Alec Ross describes the next big drivers of change from artificial intelligence and robotics to cybersecurity and cybercrime. Ross describes the changes which are going to impact our future, for good and ill, and the geographic and cultural contexts out of which they are emerging.

In his newest program, Ross forecasts the effects of Donald Trump’s presidency on business, tech, and innovation. Born and raised in the heart of Trump country—Charleston, West Virginia—before becoming a successful entrepreneur and senior government official, Ross is uniquely positioned to illuminate issues around trade, antitrust, taxation, and their impact on markets in the short- and long-term, as well as what’s next for the United States’ relationships with Europe and Asia . Pulling from his firsthand experience implementing strategies at the State Department he presents actionable insight on current issues slated to disrupt the future.

Alphabet Chairman and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that “In a world growing more chaotic, Alec Ross is one of those very rare people who can see patterns in the chaos and provide guidance for the road forward. He has an unusual diversity of expertise that allows him to apply multiple lenses to the world’s challenges and dream up the kind of innovative solutions that are changing the world.”

Alec was outstanding. You could tell he did his research about the organization and his audience.

- International Interior Design Association

About Alec Ross

After graduating from Northwestern University, Ross started his career as a sixth-grade teacher with Teach for America in inner-city Baltimore. In 2000, he and three colleagues co-founded the nonprofit organization One Economy and grew it from modest origins in a basement into a global organization serving millions of low-income people, with programs on four continents.

During his time at the State Department, Ross led an effort to increase the diversity and level of problem-solving abilities in the foreign service. He managed a large-scale process for making the U.S. Department of State a more innovative institution. A 2012 study by Deloitte and the Partnership for Public Service scored the State Department as having the most innovation-friendly culture of any cabinet-level agency.

An advocate for Internet Freedom, he established a global Internet Freedom agenda that became the first distinctly 21st-century human rights agenda, deploying $100M in funds for cutting-edge projects that keep the internet open and help protect citizens and activists in authoritarian environments.

Understanding the growing importance of social media, Ross conceived a system of public diplomacy through social media that now reaches 15 million people a day. He is largely responsible for creating the system of using text messaging codes to donate to relief funds. Ross also served as Convener for the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Policy Committee on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.

Ross was named one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy Magazine, as well as one of Huffington Post’s “10 Game Changers in Politics.” In 2010, he was named Middle East/North Africa Technology Person of the Year by the Union of Arab ICT organizations and also received the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award.

Ross has served as a guest lecturer at numerous institutions, including the United Nations, Harvard Law School, and the London School of Economics His writing has appeared in publications including the Johns Hopkins SAIS Review of International Affairs and the NATO Review.

Ross currently serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and sits on the board of directors or advisors for companies in the fields of technology, media, telecommunications, education, health care and cybersecurity.

Ross lives in Baltimore with his wife and their three young children.

Speech Topics

  • Big Data and Deep Analytics
  • Cyber Crime & Cyber War: Your Industry on the Battlefield
  • Foreseeing the Next Big Innovations and Marketplace Risks
  • Futureproofing Your Children
  • Managing Large-Scale Innovation
  • Robotics and Machine Learning
  • Strategic Communications in a Chaotic World
  • The Code-ification of Money, Markets and Trust
  • The Geography of Future Markets
  • The Industries of the Future
  • Understanding Our Changing World

Books and Media

Related News

Alec Ross: Bloomberg: How Is Social Media Used in Diplomacy?


The Economic Times: 21st Century Statecraft to shape our future: Alec Ross, Hillary Clinton's former advisor for innovation


GTN Presents: Alec Ross


Mashable The Future of Digital Diplomacy: An Interview With Alec Ross


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