by David Ivell

The CIO Questionnaire: David Ivell, CIO of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Feb 18, 2010
CareersIT LeadershipIT Strategy

Kew Gardens, the gem of the national gardning obsession is not afraid of technology and recently signed a new deal with Oracle. The CIO explains his motivations. Q. Where were you born? A. Bromley in Kent. I have just moved back to UK from living and commuting from Majorca, Spain for last five years.

Q. How many people work in your IT department? A. 35 full time, plus 10 consultants working on IT and DM strategy.

Q. Who are your key suppliers? A. Oracle, HP and Lenovo.

Read the full CIO interview with David Ivell

Q. Who have been the most influential people in your career? A. A number of managers from IBM, I always admired the IBM “respect for the individual” aims and the managers who practised that, putting their people first, knowing them as individuals, respecting family life and time, always seemed the happiest and as a result their teams always gave the extra mile without anyone asking.

Q. Which tools or tactics have given you most success in communicating up? A. Face-to-face communications and relationships at an individual level rather than bland communications. Q. How do you keep up to date with the march of technology? A. Attending conferences gives not only the ability to hear presentations that have been carefully prepared but more importantly you have opportunity to meet and discuss the change of technology with other people. You gain the benefit of in-depth thought that surrounds a topic as seen by others and views and opinions adapt to new perspectives and personal experience.

Q. How do you deal with stress? A. Right now by taking a walk in perhaps the most beautiful garden in the world here at Kew. I am also an avid reader and can place stresses away in a box while I get involved in a plot. And of course, 10 minutes with my twin four-year-old girls and the debate over which Disney Princess is the best singer and I can forget any work related stress.

Q. What profession would you most/least like to attempt? A. I would love time to try and write: a novel or travel writing.

Q. Which word or phrase do you most use/overuse? A. Let’s have a coffee and a chat.

Q. Which business (or other) books have been influential in your career? A. I can’t say I am a great lover of business bibles but books that tell of courage and inspiration — such as Benedict Allen’s Mad White Giantand Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About The Bike — have captured my imagination and I am sure they have influenced my career.

Q, Do you have a sport you practise or sportsperson/team that you follow? A. I will follow England teams whatever the sport and will be avidly following the World Cup this year.

Q. What else do you do outside of work? A. With two young girls, they take up my time the most — them and an old golden Retriever.

See the slideshow of David Ivell’s plans for IT at Kew

Read about the recent deal to upgrade HR and financial systems at Kew Gardens here.