La Fosse Associates, recruitment specialists, organised an excellent conference yesterday evening on the theme of the CIO's role in business innovation.
The speakers, in general, said that CIOs must do more than run an organisation's IT and manage risk and security. There was a suggestion that the CIOs should have little to do with running IT; they should outsource IT support if necessary and devote time to helping the business innovate.
If CEOs don't listen to innovative ideas then it's probably the fault of the CIOs in not being persistent enough in their communications.
The conference had an innovative start when the facilitator, Simon La Fosse, called from the back of a packed, 300-seat conference room, then rode a battery-powered skateboard along the centre isle, up a ramp and onto the stage. A lot could have gone wrong.
La Fosse went on to make the point that the ability to identify and deliver innovation is "often the only thing in the corporate world that separates the also-rans from the winners in today's intensly-competitive environment".
Simon Francis, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said it's the job of CIOs and technologists to innovate - not the finance director or head of marketing. He said that CIOs must be inspirational leaders of change.
"It's your job to shape the change. You have step up and reach out to the other departments. You go first. You are uniquely placed to do it. If I were starting a business now one of the key hires I would make very early on - of course - would be the CIO or the technologist."
I'll post separate pieces on the conference talks, as each speaker had something worthwhile to say. The conference over-ran by about half an hour - and nobody left until the end.