by Maryfran Johnson

Making IT Fun Again

May 21, 20093 mins

One CIO's Quest to Boost Morale and Improve IT's Reputationn

Had any fun at work lately? (I thought not.)

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Early Cloud Adopters Ride Out Hype Cycle

Making IT Fun Again at Schneider Electric

These are far-from-amusing times at most of our workplaces, and the little humor that does sneak in tends to be a bit subversive. Even Dilbert seems ready for a good antidepressant these days.

Google the phrase “making work fun again” and all you’ll find is 296 incredibly lame hits. None of them funny, either. So you may find, as I did, a welcome bit of relief in reading about CIO Dave Patzwald’s approach to injecting fun into the IT department at Schneider Electric North America.

When Patzwald arrived at Schneider three years ago, his IT department was “dispirited by rounds of outsourcing and canceled ERP projects. They weren’t feeling respected or recognized,” as he tells Associate Editor Kristin Burnham. Their number-one request to the new CIO was: “Just make this place fun again.”

Of course, it was more of a morale boost that the Schneider group was looking for, not a slapstick work environment. What Patzwald ended up providing at Schneider was a wonderful blend of renewed camaraderie, engaged workers and a series of funny but educational internal company videos that forever changed the IT department’s reputation for the better.

He even brought in a friend—a professional comic—to help unearth everyone’s inner Jerry Seinfeld. “Creative people just need to be unleashed,” he explains.

For those readers in the Midwest, you might enjoy hearing Patzwald talk about Schneider Electric’s humorous transformation in person this month. He’ll be our opening keynote speaker on June 10, at the CIO Perspectives Forum in downtown Chicago (go to CIO Perspectives Chicago for registration details).

Also in this month’s issue, we tackle the amorphous topic of cloud computing in our cover story “Early Cloud Adopters Ride Out Hype Cycle.” Senior Editor Kim S. Nash’s exploration of the cloud phenomenon looks at how several companies use various services and products that label themselves as cloud.

Our cover story dispenses with the myth that there’s anything ground breaking or unique in this broad notion of using the Internet to access all sorts of managed tech services. As Nash writes, “If you’re at all worried about being behind the cloud curve, don’t be.”

Now there’s something to smile about.

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