Google Ideas

Jared Cohen starts Google Ideas

September 7, 2010: 1:38 PM ET

The two-term State Department veteran makes his Google plans official.

Jared Cohen in 2007. Image Credit: Washington Life Magazine

I reported last month that '21st century statecraft' specialist, Jared Cohen, would be leaving his role in the State Department and heading to Google to form a new Think/do Tank called 'Google Ideas'.  Today that became official.

Cohen talked to Foreign Policy about his time at the State Department and his new gig at Google.  On the last page, he finally gets to the new work:

FP: Going forward, tell us about your future work at Google.

JC: I am going to be director of a new division at Google called Google Ideas. And it's basically a think/do tank. Much of the model for it is built off of my experiences on the Policy Planning staff. It's not designed to be, "Let's pool all of Google's resources and tackle global challenges."

In the same way Policy Planning works by bringing together a lot of stakeholders in government, out of government, and across different sectors, so, too, will Google Ideas do something very similar. And the range of challenges that it may focus on include everything from the sort of hard challenges like counterterrorism, counterradicalization, and nonproliferation, to some of the ones people might expect it to focus on, like development and citizen empowerment.

What I'm interested in is the SWAT-team model of building teams of stakeholders with different resources and perspectives to troubleshoot challenges. So the reason I say it's a think/do tank is you need a comprehensive approach to think about and tackle challenges in different kinds of ways. In government, we used to refer to a "whole of government" approach, meaning work with multiple agencies to leverage ideas and resources; Google Ideas will take a "whole of society" approach.

FP: What can you do at Google that wasn't possible at the State Department?


  • Google to open 'Google Ideas' global technology think tank

    Hoping to apply technology solutions to solve the world's problems, Google is hiring Washington technology insider Jared Cohen.

    A rumor surfaced last month which put Washington insider Jared Cohen on the fast track to Google-dom.  Cohen is famous for his work as 'Twitterer in Chief' of the State department where he has lasted through two administrations.

    He's a fascinating fellow.

    Cohen was hired during the Bush Administration by Condoleezza Rice's State Department's policy planning MORE

    - Aug 15, 2010 8:51 AM ET
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