by Mark Chillingworth

Be bold in the face of difficulty

Nov 14, 20112 mins

One of the beauties of my role is that it never ceases to fascinate. There are those in the media and analyst community that assume that cream of the CIO crop are to be found at a household name business or major national institute. But as with technology, the innovation or the great leadership is not in these titanic organisations, it is at the organisations overlooked by the London-centric industry watchers. This is certainly the case with the CIO of Welsh Assembly Government. Not to suggest that the challenges of Gwyn Thomas’ role are not large, or that the scale and complexity of the Welsh economy are simplistic when compared to England or a supermarket chain for example.
With the world facing a continuing economic crisis strong leadership and a focus on an outcome are required. As the slew of negativity continues to pour out of the Eurozone it’s easy to become focused on a short-term fix or even to retreat back to a chief laptop fixer modus operandi. Rocking the boat or even letting go of control all seem like high risk strategies in these choppy waters, but they are exactly what is needed. 
To my mind, what Thomas, who is the CIO November issue cover story is endeavouring to achieve in Wales is exactly what’s needed because by relenting on levels of control and empowering existing workforce teams to think boldly and to think of the future they are on the path to deliver local solutions to a global problem. 
As governments across Europe sign up to cost cutting agendas to pay off sovereign debts incurred from bailing banks out or allowing the public sector to live beyond its means, there will be new initiatives launched that claim great cost savings but fail to deliver. We have already seen it in the UK, the bonfire of the quangos didn’t even spark and CIOs tell me the NHS strategy of moving to GP commissioning will cost more than it saves. Whereas in Cardiff and across Wales cuts are being made, but new opportunities are also being developed. And it is opportunities that the economy now needs.