Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Innovative CIOs’ Digital Profiles

Being an innovative CIO means learning fast, be inclusive, embrace multi-viewpoints and take calculated risks.

CIO is one of the most sophisticated executive leadership roles in the business world today due to the disruptive nature of technology and the exponential growth of information. CIOs need to be Chief Information Officer, Chief Integration Officer, Chief Interaction Officer, Chief Improvement Officer, etc. But still, one of the most appropriate titles for CIOs is “Chief Innovation Officer,” because digitalization opens the new chapter of innovation. CIOs need to present entrepreneurial spirit, learn to think and lead innovatively, take calculated risks while nurturing contingencies, and growing great talent, etc. Here is the innovative CIO’s digital profile.

Innovative CIOs as digital visionaries: Innovative CIOs are at their very heart visionaries who have determination, dedication, passion, and motivation to overcome the challenge of reinventing IT and leading digital transformation. Innovation comes with the foresight to envision a need that others overlook or ignore and a willingness to forge ahead to satisfy visions, in spite of a risk of failure. Vision is particularly important for CIOs because nowadays information and technology are often the game changer to either leap and fail the business even overnight. Thus, digital CIOs should have a very active mind and fully operating brain, they need to think both critically and creatively, coming up with the digital vision and technology awareness. Technology changes so quickly and information grows overwhelmingly, you must first be aware of new technology before you can learn to apply it to the business. In this regard, digital awareness becomes the prerequisite for the CIO to become a technological visionary, understand how to capture digital technology trends, be passionate about information, and apply the right technologies to the business with tailored solutions. Also, the expectation of a single person serving as omniscient technology sage is unreasonable. The collective vision is part of collective wisdom CIOs should learn, CIOs must be the open-minded leader, drawing from the experience and expertise of those around them, crafting and casting the vision for the ways in which digital technologies can create sustainable business value.

Innovative CIOs as natural creative thinkers: To run an innovative IT organization, the CIO needs to be the creative thinker who can bring up the fresh perspective of the business and advocate alternative ways to do things. They have to deal with situations that you have not dealt with before, possessing confidence and experience to be entrepreneurial. Creativity is about connecting the dots, IT leaders must connect wider dots wisely in order to stimulate innovation, not just about IT innovation, but business innovation. Creativity is a higher level of thinking because it often imposes a higher cognitive load as you think “harder,” and consciously leverage different kinds of thought processes and thinking tools such as association, perspective shifting, or opposites analysis when you try to come up with an innovative solution to business problems. Innovative CIOs can even appreciate digital transformation because it brings an abundance of opportunities for business growth. They look for every opportunity from risks; besides managing risks with every opportunity. CIOs must practice their creative thinking frequently and build the culture of learning and innovation in their organization.

Innovative CIOs as skillful innovation practitioners: Many traditional CIOs are IT operational managers who spend the significant proportion of their time and resource on “keeping the lights on.” It is no longer sufficient to run a digital IT organization. CIOs need to become the innovation practitioner because innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but “must have” competency for keeping IT relevant and improving organizational maturity. In practice, innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology, companies need to invest in IT to advance businesses through either incremental or radical innovation. Innovation is a management process, you need to know how to involve employees, and how to frame the question to get the best ideas. The business knows what good ideas are, what has been done before and can evaluate the ideas. IT has the very power to influence an organization’s “personality.” as well. The available digital technology just makes innovation easier to do now than in the past-less costly, more easily accessible. Innovative IT leaders need to find creative ways to tackle innovation potential lying in an enterprise and to provide the necessary tools to unleash creative forces and to develop these tools further, with the goal to maintain the idea and innovation pipe of the company filed at any time. The risk is part of innovation, for innovative CIOs, their mantra is: Fail fast and fail forward, learn something from it and focus on unleashing the full potential of the business with the long-term perspective.

Being an innovative CIO means learning fast, be inclusive, embrace multi-viewpoints and take calculated risks. Due to the overwhelming growth of information and shortened knowledge life cycle, CIOs have to become a continuous learner and new knowledge creator to practice expert power and exercise creativity muscle. As businesses change shape, size, expansion, and transformations, CIOs need conditioning and improvement. The path to leadership mastery is something that unfolds day by day, it takes mental tenacity, innate leadership strength, fair temperament, in-depth business understanding, and solid skills to lead confidently and effectively.


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