Top Ten Highlights from the 2014 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium

Registration for the 2015 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium opened last week. As with last year, I’m a member of the organizing team. One of my roles is to write content, such as the text below, for our newsletter. We sent similar content via e-mail in yesterday’s edition.


2014 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium -- Innovation Showcase

2014 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium — Innovation Showcase

The 2015 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is just around the corner: May 20, 2015 at the MIT Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge MA. This global event helps CIOs and senior IT executives become better business leaders.

Last year, Lindsey Anderson, event chair, told us in his opening remarks that we should all be thinking about the digital revolution because of two concepts: exponential growth of technology and convergence of global markets. Here are ten highlights from the 2014 Symposium (download the program pdf) to remember:

  1. Thaddeus Arroyo, Chief Information Officer of AT&T Services, received the MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award.
  2. During the morning’s academic panel, Erik Brynjolfsson, co-author of The Second Machine Age, set the scene for the day saying that, “We are at an inflection point where technology continues its ever rapid pace . . . and as a result is having a profound impact on society.” See the video.
  3. All day networking was highlighted by the 2014 Innovation Showcase and Evening Reception. Dell’s Karaboutis said, “Data is the new currency in the digital world,” a sentiment that Jeff Boehm observed as he visited vendors such as CloudPhysics, Cambridge Semantics, Luminoso, and RapidMiner that were showing new ways to gain insights from data.
  4. “Every company is now a software company,” says Mendix CEO Derek Roos while summarizing the digital disruption. The issue facing every business is that the world is becoming programmable, so software is critical for customer satisfaction and brand differentiation.
  5. To cope with this second machine age, “culture, laws, ethics, and economics all matter.” CIOs can no longer focus on technology alone; they must work closely with business owners.
  6. “Fear vs. fear” has replaced “hope vs. fear.” Narinder Singh, chief strategy officer for Appirio, says, “It’s now fear of disruption versus fear that we can’t screw something up because I don’t want to get fired.”
  7. Collective intelligence is the new frontier. Professor Thomas Malone tells us that the team’s strength depends on team members having high social intelligence, as well as a willingness to have everyone participate. Andrew McAfee explained how collective intelligence is expanding to include combinations of humans and machines.
  8. “IT doesn’t support the business; it is the business,” this is one of many great quotes from Adriana Karaboutis, the Dell CIO. Another was when she explained how she ditched the company’s IT steering committee, “I’m not a ship; I don’t need to be steered.”
  9. After the event, Sheila Lahar’s take away from the event was that modern CIOs are agile, customer-focused, visible, and innovative. Laura Aberle’s take away was that CIOs need to help enterprises stay ahead of the customer empowerment curve.
  10. Matt Haney identified the one overarching theme to sum up the Symposium: “evolve or perish.” This was the theme of the afternoon’s general session about becoming the CIO of the future.

Are you looking forward to the 2015 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium?

(Click here for the 2015 Registration Page)


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