As director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Regina Dugan oversaw the US armed forces' innovation engine. Now she deploys the same research tactics at Google.

Why you should listen

Businesswoman and technology developer Regina Dugan achieved national prominence when she became the first woman in charge of Darpa, the Pentagon's research arm. Dugan earned a reputation as a motivator and creative thinker, spurring non-traditional projects like a nationwide contest to find hidden balloons in order to test the power of social networks for intelligence gathering.

In a previous stint at the agency, Dugan investigated mine-detection technology, and her work wasn't limited to the lab. In Mozambique she drove a mine-clearing vehicle during a live detection exercise. Dugan currently is senior vice president at Motorola, where her mission is to advance the company's technology, which one day may include password tattoos. Ask her and she may show you hers.

What others say

“Our singular mission is the prevention and creation of strategic surprise.” — Regina Dugan

Regina Dugan’s TED talks

Regina Dugan on the TED Blog

Ideas

15 years of drones at TED, in five GIFs

November 20, 2013

In 1998, aircraft designer Paul MacCready gave a live demo of his two-ounce unmanned surveillance drone on the TED stage in Monterey. “You see what it sees. Imagine you’re a fly,” he told the assembled audience, who watched the drone’s footage projected onto the screen in front of them. (The moment is captured in the […]

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Technology

The only way to learn to fly is to fly: Regina Dugan at TED2012

February 29, 2012

Photos: James Duncan Davidson “Be nice to nerds…” As the opening slide from a TEDTalk, not too surprising. As the opening line from Regina Dugan, the director of DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), kind of ominous. But the projects she demonstrated are extraordinary, and how they get there, even more so. If you want […]

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Quotes from Regina Dugan

Since we took to the sky, we have wanted to fly faster and farther. And to do so, we've had to believe in impossible things and we've had to refuse to fear failure.
Regina Dugan
TED2012 • 1.2M views Mar 2012
Inspiring, Jaw-dropping