The CIO as the Trailblazer? Maybe Not

Are you a trailblazer? Probably not. I don’t know many CIOs that are. Most of us are just average Joes and Janes keeping the lights on in the datacenter.

I always like reading the industry rags when they interview all those cool technology leaders who seem to throw money at every cool tech on the market. They are working on developing the coolness factor for their organization. They are “out-of-box” thinkers.

When I was in architecture school, there was a competing college that accepted students that  were suppose to be out-of-box thinkers. They never learned standard construction but instead focused on the beauty and artistic side of architecture. Graduates were suppose to go on to become leaders and trailblazers in the architecture world-redefining the world we lived in. At least that was what was said in the brochure. I was a little jealous at the time. My college on the other hand focused on real world construction skills. You know — the boring stuff…

A few years back, when I was a working in my first real architectural firm, I met up with a graduate from this school. He mentioned to me how he could not get a job because he did not have the skills to work in a real design firm. Firms needed people that understood construction, knew how to build quickly, in scope, and within budget. They did not have time to be creative – time was money. I thought it was ironic. Part of me felt justified.

One can say the same thing about technology.

Most companies want their MIS departments to be funded to be “good-enough” to keep the bottom-line in the black. They ignore the hype about having their MIS being best in class, trailblazers, thought-leaders, innovators, etc. Because all this costs money. And lots of it that they would rather spend elsewhere.

As a technology leader, do you consider yourself a trailblazer?

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