Stevens Institute's CIO Advances Innovation
The New Reality for Customer Engagement
CIO David Dodd oversees an organization that is responsible for all the institute's technology and systems, including academics, administration and research.
High: What do you think corporate CIOs can learn from academic CIOs?
Dodd: What's unique about higher education is that we have multiple generations among our constituents, and those generations accept and embrace change in different ways and at different rates. Higher-ed CIOs are constantly balancing the needs of digital-native students with the systems that faculty and administrators have become familiar with over time.
The key for any organization is to move away from thinking of things as "a change" and wondering when that change will be over. Instead, it's important to look at change as a continuous process and an opportunity to evolve, adapt and grow.
Another thing to remember is that it's almost never about the technology, and it's always about the person it impacts. When you change technology, individuals want to understand, 'What does it do to me? What does it do for me?' Every person is different. Every person will have his or her needs that must be considered, and you need to do your homework to identify what those needs and concerns are.
It's also important for corporate CIOs to recognize that there are different forms of fulfillment. It's easy to get single-minded about profit-taking, but that's not the only form of enrichment for people and organizations. By investing in people, you will create a stronger team that is more willing to dedicate themselves, resulting in greater success as an organization.
Corporate CIOs should strive for more than just an operational team> They must create a strategic team of people working for more than just money.
High: What trends particularly intrigue you as you look to the future?
Dodd: I'm intrigued by the growing strength of technology as a global force. Technology has enormous power for good, and equal power for things that are not good. We need to think about how we'll deal with the enormous power that technology brings in a responsible way, such as curing disease and making the world a better place.
I'm also extremely fascinated about moving away from a data model to an information, intelligence and knowledge way of looking at things. With the incredible amount of data that exists in the world, how can we take that data and transform it into knowledge that can serve our global society. How do we go about helping people assess information, sift through it critically, and assign it as having authority or no authority.
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