A vision for strengthening technology and innovation

Craig Barrett, former Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation, is interviewed by CEO Show host Robert Reiss about Barrett’s challenges in becoming the leader of one of America’s most sophisticated technology companies, the outlook for future computer technology growth, and America’s ongoing disaster – the failure to educate kids in the sciences, technology, engineering and math.

Barrett describes two challenges in taking over the helm at Intel. First, he had the challenge of continuing the spectacular accomplishments of predecessors such as Gordon Moore and Andy Grove; and Second, he had to extend Intel’s record in meeting or succeeding the prediction of Moore’s Law – the doubling of microprocessor performance every 10 years.

As to the outlook for technology, especially in the computer sciences, Barrett says “It’s always about innovation.” He goes on to remark that “The secret of innovation is to hire the best possible people you can from around the world, give them the research monies and the tools and let them be creative.” Implicit in his statement, however, is that there must be an inflow of scientists and engineers to produce the innovations, a topic he addresses next in the interview.

Education is at the heart of technological innovation, according to Barrett, identifying “the 21st Century as the century of innovation and technology”, in which science, engineering, math and education are at the core of our needs: but we’re failing in that the U.S. is not generally doing an adequate job of inspiring and educating our youth in these subjects. To address that failing, Barrett talks about STEM, a project supported by over 100 U.S. corporations whose CEOs aim to strengthen education in science, technology, engineering and math. These corporations are using their resources to increase the interest of kids in these science-centered subjects, motivate competition in educational excellence, and encourage state governors to improve the supply of secondary school teachers in the early grades who are specialists in math and the sciences.

Continuing his focus on education in the sciences, Barrett criticizes U.S. immigration policy that is helping cause a deficit in the availability of skilled technologists. “We’re using taxpayer dollars to educate foreign nationals, get the best education in the world, and then send them home to compete with us.”

Interview Aired: 05/08/2011