Tag Archives: Innovation

Creative leadership is crucial for the modern CIO

I’ve just finished putting together an eight-page special supplement on CIO Connect‘s annual conference. The supplement will be available in the next edition of CIO Connect magazine, which is out in a week-or-so.

The annual conference, ‘Business an Unusual‘, was a splendid mix of interaction, debate and networking. As many as 150 people attended the event, including 115 CIOs.

While putting the supplement together, I drew on automated polling results from IML that gauged the opinions of attendees across a range of areas. The following CIO poll results cover leadership:

  • 75% of CIOs work for organisations that encourage creativity
  • On a scale of one to four, the majority of CIOs (77%) rate themselves on the creative end of the spectrum
  • 77% of CIOs believe they receive recognition for the work they do from their company

The conclusion? Creative leadership is crucial for the modern IT leader – and most CIOs work for organisations that encourage, and then recognise, the significance of that creative leadership.

Why there should be no such thing as an IT project

Silicon has just published my analysis piece which suggests there should be no such thing as an IT project. The article quotes a number of CIOs and a link to the full article can be found beneath the following introduction:

“IT projects never really work,” says Mike Day, CIO at fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. That seems like negative talk from a technology chief but there is sound method in the apparent madness.

More technology chiefs are waking up to the need for IT projects to be sponsored by the business. In cost-constrained times, CIOs are trying to avoid driving into a technology cul-de-sac. So rather than simply implementing IT projects, many CIOs are aiming to understand what executives need from the outset and meet agreed outcomes.

“The best ideas are sponsored by the business,” says Day. “Technology is now so pervasive through the organisation; it’s end-to-end. The CIO has to communicate to the business what is possible and why.”

For the full feature, click here.

Summer 2010 edition of CIO Connect magazine

The summer 2010 edition of CIO Connect should be hitting IT leaders’ desks this week. Cover star is Deloitte UK partner and CIO Mary Hensher, a people person with a passion for the potential of IT to change business. Other articles include cloud computing, innovation, governance and a review of IT leadership from India.

As ever, thanks to all the CIOs, business leaders and technology experts who contributed their time and opinions. Below is a full list of featured participants:

  • Mary Hensher, Deloitte UK partner and CIO
  • Richard McGrail, head of IT at Baillie Gifford & Co
  • Steve Webster, IT director at Admiral Group
  • Peter Ingram, IT director at Addison Lee
  • Martin Ferguson, head of strategy at Socitm
  • David Hopkins, manager of business development at Siemens Enterprise Services
  • David Wilde, head of IT at Westminster City Council
  • Patrick Smith, local government client executive at IBM
  • Richard Mahony, director of telecoms research and analysis at Ovum
  • Philip Virgo, secretary general of the European Information Society Group
  • Ian Wilcox, principle IT consultant at Hampshire County Council
  • Peter Bassill, chief information security officer at gambling giant Gala Coral Group
  • Chris Head, principal associate at Socitm Insight
  • Robin Johnson, global CIO at Dell
  • Peter Breunig, CTO at Chevron
  • Mike Bevil, manager of IT Innovation at Merck
  • Ruth Spellman, chief executive at Chartered Management Institute
  • Zafar Chaudry, CIO at Alder Hey
  • Peter Bauer, chief executive at Mimecast
  • Rajendra S. Pawar, chairman of technology company NIIT
  • John Suffolk, UK government CIO
  • Saurabh Srivastava, chairman of CA
  • Filippo Passerini, president of global business services and CIO at Procter & Gamble
  • Dana Deasy, group CIO at BP
  • John Torrie, UK chief executive at Steria
  • Michael Gogola, director of information services at HCA International
  • Francis Jellings, head of IT at Virgin Trains
  • John Robinson, group IT director at Morse
  • Mark Foulsham, head of IT at insurance specialist esure
  • Stuart McGill, CTO at Micro Focus
  • Maurice van Sabben, president of National Geographic Television International
  • David Head, director of LFA
  • Adrian Joseph, Google’s European managing director
  • Dominic Batchelor, partner at Ashurst LLP
  • Inbali Iserles, professional development lawyer at Ashurst LLP
  • Danièle Tyler, solicitor at Ashurst LLP

As a CIO, how is your relationship with the FD?

We’re putting the feelers out for some new research at CIO Connect. The research addresses the relationship between the finance director and CIO – if you’re an IT leader, we’d love to hear from you. Here’s the blurb:

Do you sometimes feel like you’re playing Oliver to your FD’s Mr Bumble? Or have the tough economic conditions provided an opportunity for you to work closely together on IT-driven efficiencies to help cut operational fat?

CIOs expecting budget increase in 2010 are among the lucky few. Only one third are anticipating a bigger slice of the pie, according to a recent survey by analyst group Ovum, and even then expectations are slim – an increase of between just 1% and 5%. Meanwhile, CIOs taking part in a Gartner survey at the beginning of the year said they are planning on IT budgets in 2010 mirroring 2005 levels.

The recession has left its scar and many FDs are wary the economy could bite again in the face of high unemployment and the UK debt burden. Understandably, they are reluctant to dish out more from the organisational pot. With FDs under pressure to keep finances tight, and CIOs hit with greater demands to do more with less, how does this challenging dynamic impact your working relationship?

We are carrying out a survey to discover just how the vital partnership between CIO and FD is working in the current economic climate. Click here to find out more and to participate in the survey.

Spring edition of CIO Connect magazine

I was on holiday last week, during which time the sparkling spring edition of CIO Connect magazine hit the desks of the UK’s key IT leaders. In the lead-up to the release of the magazine, I’ve been busy modifying the content to include more forward-looking elements.

The changes are represented in ‘Foresight’, a new introductory section to the magazine that identifies the business and technology issues that will impact the work of CIOs in the next year-or-so. In short, change in business IT is so rapid that there is little point having a discussion about the here and now. CIO priorities are always about helping the business to work smarter and the ‘Foresight’ section will help IT leaders as they attempt to establish a competitive edge.

There are several other subtle changes in the spring edition, too – including more boxes and summary points in the main features. The aim is to give time-precious CIOs as much information as quickly as possible. As ever, the edition includes a series of exclusive features:

  • Globalisation at Procter & Gamble – featuring Filippo Passerini, global CIO at Procter & Gamble, and Karen Winney, business services director for UK, Nordic and Ireland at Procter & Gamble
  • Innovation and transformation at ITV – featuring Richard Cross, group technology director at ITV
  • Equal opportunities in IT – featuring Intel CIO Diane Bryant, Scottish Government CIO Anne Moises and Christine Ashton, IM strategy and technology director at Transport for London

Finally, here are a list of the IT leaders and business experts that appear in the issue. As ever, thanks to all that contributed their time and thoughts:

  • Richard Cross, group technology director at ITV
  • Jon Inch, CIO at Christie’s
  • John Suffolk, Government CIO
  • Filippo Passerini, global CIO at Procter & Gamble
  • Karen Winney, business services director for UK, Nordic and Ireland at Procter & Gamble
  • Diane Bryant, CIO at Intel
  • Anne Moises, Scottish Government CIO
  • Christine Ashton, IM strategy and technology director at Transport for London
  • Tania Howarth, CIO at Birds Eye Iglo Group
  • Stephen Entwistle, financial director of McKeowns Solicitors
  • John Thorp, chairman of the VAL IT Steering Committee at the IT Governance Institute
  • David Woodgate, chief executive of the Institute of Financial Accountants
  • Robin Dargue, CIO at Royal Mail
  • Karl Deacon, CTO at Capgemini
  • Neil McGowan, IT director at JD Williams
  • Tim Mann, CIO at Skandia UK
  • Olivier Uytterhoeven, director of IT at Starwood Hotels
  • Nathan Marke, CTO at 2e2
  • Tony Eccleston, partner at Ernst & Young
  • Steve Pikett, head of IT at Rothschild
  • Paul Mockapetris, domain name system (DNS) inventor and chairman of Nominum
  • Martin Roesch, founder and CTO of Sourcefire
  • Professor Soumitra Dutta, Roland Berger Professor of business and technology at business school INSEAD
  • Rob Spencer, senior research fellow at Pfizer
  • Ray Johnston, group IT operations manager at Aspen Insurance UK Ltd
  • Euan Semple, social media consultant and former BBC technology chief
  • Richard Moross, chief executive and founder of online printing company Moo.com
  • Peter Hinssen, programme director for Realising Business Performance Through IT at the London Business  School
  • Dr Martin Clarke, director of general management programmes at the Cranfield School of Management
  • Ian Cohen, former CIO at Associated News and managing director of SimplyGreatConsulting.com
  • Ian Buchanan, former CIO at Alliance & Leicester
  • Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former director general of MI5

Defining innovation

CIOs talk a lot about innovation. Actually, it’s often all they talk about – along with a bunch of related concepts, such as value, efficiency, globalisation, leadership and partnership. But what is innovation?

It’s a question that’s being analysed in a number of ways by CIO Connect and I’m putting together a special feature, speaking to CIOs and senior researchers at blue-chip businesses. Early conclusions? CIOs – and other business executives, more generally – often wrongly focus on the ‘blue sky’ element of innovation.

‘Blue sky thinking’, as well as being a bloody awful phrase, is only one tenet of innovation. It covers the research and development part, the creativity. But there’s another area of innovation that is probably more important, especially in the current economic climate.

Innovation is not just about developing something ‘new’, it is also about the re-use of existing assets in different and exciting combinations. Basically, it’s about regeneration and making good with something bad – ‘brown-field site thinking’, if you will (to borrow and manipulate the phrasing of geography).

Now, which is better – ‘blue sky thinking’ or ‘brown-field site thinking’?