by Mark Chillingworth

Inspired thank you – thoughts from the 2012 CIO Summit

Sep 30, 20123 mins
IT Leadership

The third CIO Summitbuilt on the foundations and lessons from the last two events, but most importantly, it really brought to the fore the opportunities technology offers, but didn’t shy away from the challenges faced. 
The CIO of a major manufacturing firm said he valued the annual Summit as it was “time to listen and think”. Which reminded me there are precious few moments like this in today’s fast paced, digitally connected world. Ironically the Summit focus greatly on the benefits of this connected world, with CIOs from environmental services and insurance showing clear benefits to their organisation. But then, Ian Cohen, CIO at JLT was very clear, social media had enabled his organisation to listen, and listening was something his inspired presentation really showed the power of. I was inspired by all of the presentations, but increasing my listening skills was definitely something I will take away from Cohen’s presentation. 
It wasn’t all new technology tools, Shaun Mundy amused with his discussion on Agile methodologies and continues improvement. Again, listening, reflection and being clear about what can and cannot be achieved were valuable lessons. 
Elsewhere in the events world this is the political party convention season. When I compare the Thursday’s presentations on thinking differently, challenging doctrines, improving efficiency and facing difficult challenges I wonder what all the parties could learn from the Summit speakers. Albert Hitchcock of Vodafone answered direct criticism on stage, Trevor Didcock described the incredible growth and market changing affect easyJet has had on its sector and Paul Brocklehurstof Surrey County Council was frank that further local authority efficiency will only come from a rethink of the structure of power in this country. 
Brocklehurstwasn’t the only public servant clear about the challenges within state institutions. Catherine Doran of Royal Mail put her stamp on the opportunities for the Royal Mail as a data provider, but also said the weight of its legacy and market rivalry meant the organisation had to modernise fast. 
Many CIOs have remarked to me that Gerry Pennell’s  presentation on being CIO for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games really inspired them with its scale. What was nice was to be reminded that business technology leadership is central to the success of everything, especially a world class event that reinvigorated the nation and the world’s perception of Great Britain. 
But all the stories were personal too, from Ibukun Adebayo’s staff personality issues to Richard Hodkinson’s finding the legal world operating at a pace many of us don’t associate with chambers. 
From the feedback received I know everyone took something out of the day. I’d like to thank all that spoke, it was a great day to listen and I was certainly inspired.