At a time when innovation, speed, and agility are all critical to virtually every enterprise, what does it take to lead a technology organization?\n\nThat\u2019s the central question CIO contributing editor Julia King posed to Ron Moskowitz, CIO at South Coast Air Quality Management District in their conversation at the CIO 100 Symposium and Awards, where Moskowitz was inducted into CIO\u2019s Hall of Fame.\n\nOver his career, Moskowitz served in a variety of IT executive roles in city and county governments in California. Now he is CIO at South Coast Air Quality Management District [AQMD], where the organization\u2019s role is to control pollution in an area covering most of Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino.\n\nFollowing are edited excerpts of Moskowitz\u2019s conversation with King on fostering a culture of innovation. To hear directly from Moskowitz and get additional insights, watch the full video embedded below.\n\nOn leading an innovative technology organization:\n\nI believe innovative projects require leadership with vision, charisma, high energy. Be able to clearly communicate what the team needs to do their job, to achieve that vision, and get excited about the possibilities and ideas and the benefits everyone can appreciate.\n\n\u2026It\u2019s important to make sure that you know what is expected of you and what you\u2019re able to provide, and to listen to not just what your business requirements are, but the team that has to deliver, what they need to do their jobs.\n\nEmpower your team and show them that they\u2019re appreciated. Invest in their professional development. Challenge them to be better and try new things. Have fun. \n\nOn balancing innovation and keeping the lights on:\n\nWith every new product or service comes a support model for it. So, our plates are often overloaded pretty quickly\u2026. \n\nAt South Coast AQMD \u2026 we created an IT steering committee. We lined up every project for every division, how much it costs, what the resources are needed. And before that, people really didn\u2019t know what was going on with each division, let alone within IT. But once we sat down, everyone took a look at it, looked at the budgeting, we all came to agreement and prioritized our projects, and there\u2019s a better understanding, a better willingness to work with IT, and really just make sure that our plates are manageable.\n\nThe other thing I would say is \u2026 formalizing project management is very important. It provides a structure for people to understand when a project should be delivered, how much money it will take.\n\nOn streamlining innovation:\n\nThe first thing is that you always have to be in discovery mode. And that means that you do need to know your product, your service, why it\u2019s important, how it\u2019s being received, determine where the bottlenecks and pain points are, start scoping out what you want to do, how you want to address them. Prioritizing becomes a critical skill, since most people don\u2019t have unlimited resources or time to fix anything you want. Getting support and trust from every level is important. Not everybody wants change. So, creating the right narrative and soliciting input from almost every direction can bring people along. \n\nAgain, structured project management is very important. [In] project management, there\u2019s kind of a rule where [spending] time in the beginning [on planning], you\u2019re almost guaranteed that things are going to go well. \n\nAlso cultivate a culture of no blame. Things are going to happen when you try to innovate and you just address them\u2026. Don\u2019t let people feel bad about it, just move on, fix it, and try not to make the same mistake twice. \n\nOn the importance of being present and visible:\n\nI believe in being a servant leader. Listen and provide solutions, promote recognition and celebration. People see me, and I talk to people. I have an open-door policy and I listen to what their needs are. Creating that environment is crucial. \n\nI also believe in providing training to staff for what they need. I walk into so many organizations where I have staff and they are told to support something, and they don\u2019t know 100% of what it is that they\u2019re trying to support, and they\u2019re trying to Google things quickly to come up with answers. Creating a formalized training program is important and identifying things like process standardization through ITIL or through some other source and get people certified\u2026. Giving them the tools and technologies they need to do their jobs [is] so important.