The Next Generation of

By John McCormick  |  Posted 12-19-2007 Print Email

Futurist James Canton foresees the CIO motivating the rest of the organization, including the CEO and the board, to change.

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A lot of this comes down not just to the CIO but to the IT staff. No matter how smart people are, they are better when they have smart people around them. A point you make in your book is that companies should invest more in their people.

That's right. CIOs need to be hiring people and retaining people who are brilliant wizards--people who are smarter than they are--in order to really execute.

It's one of the reasons we're starting to see a pullback from outsourcing: The key decision-making group is being kept internal.

But I'm concerned increasingly about CIOs having the right access to the talent that can help fuse business and innovation.

One of the big missed opportunities is that high schools and colleges still do not embrace innovation and technology as much as they should. That is a role certainly for the private sector. If I were a CIO for a company, I'd scope out high school kids and college kids to see what kind of talent I might want to use for some of my company's work. The sooner you get the kids, the better.

It's a bit pathetic that high schools and colleges are not focused on integrating innovations and technology skills into the core curriculum as a mandate. The kids will get math, science and education, but they should be graduating with an ability to execute on technology and business. But we just don't see that.

Where does this leave today's CIOs?

There is a new generation of CIOs emerging. The more they understand where the business is going and can help shape it, the better they're going to be in their careers, the better they're going to be able to serve their organizations and the better they're going to be able to deliver shareholder value.

But more CIOs need to see this fusion of business and innovation as a tool for establishing competitive advantage.

Every CIO is really the visionary in the organization and should be the one looking out over the horizon to see what's emerging next. CIOs should be the ones saying, "Let's take some risks here, let's make some changes here." They should really be the architects of the future or there won't be a future.

I'm a great believer that CIOs have a terrific mandate to chart that future and they must. That is their destiny.

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