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The title of an upcoming webinar organised by my APAC colleagues From Information to Innovation –the Changing Role of the CIO, caught my eye as the email invitation went out to our customers, prospects and internal team. Among the speakers for this event is former CIO Rob Livingstone, who is now himself an advisor and consultant to other CIOs on innovative practices. When I learned more about what the webinar entails, what really got me thinking was the word “innovation”. 

 

New technology and innovations are lauded as the currency of this digital age but I was curious about the sentiment out there. Do companies genuinely believe they have to innovate to grow? Are they investing towards this strategy? Or were these just sexy buzzwords that MBA students and industry pundits bandied about? innovation.jpg

 

A quick Google search turned up an intriguing Wall Street Journal article – Economists Duel Over Idea that Technology will Save the World: Has All the Important Stuff Already Been Invented? (Read it in full here.)

 

There are some key opinions that stood out from the article:

  • Since Nobel economist Robert Solow first argued in the 1950s that growth was driven by new technology, most economists have embraced the idea. Progress may be uneven, according to this view, but there is no reason to expect the world to run out of ideas
  • On one side of the ring, is Joel Mokyr, who imagines a coming age of new inventions, including gene therapies to prolong our life span and miracle seeds that can feed the world without fertilisers.
  • Robert Gordon, on the other hand, believes our best days are over. After a century of life-changing innovations that spurred growth, he says, human progress is slowing to a crawl.
  • Mokyr has long studied how new tools have led to economic breakthroughs. For example, how the development of telescopes allowed for rapid advances in astronomy. History makes him certain his colleague is wrong
  • Gordon often displays images of a flushing toilet and an iPhone and asks: “Which would you give up”?

 

I’m no economist. But being in the video collaboration industry, gives me a front-row seat to how just one sector of (recent) innovation, has changed our lives dramatically. The advances for productivity supported by the ability to collaborate face-to-face, anytime, anywhere, in multiple ways puts me firmly in the camp of optimists (such as Mr Mokyr) in this debate. And it’s exciting to me, because it isn’t just about the method of collaboration, but rather, the subsequent output or value (made possible by the innovation) that is astounding. 

 

In a recent IBM survey, the 4,000 or so C-level executives participating considered technology the single most important external force shaping their organisations and their business strategy. With this imperative in mind, the upcoming webinar led by Rob Livingstone looks to be immensely relevant to current and future CIOs.

 

The live webinar - “From Information to Innovation – the Changing Role of the CIO”, will take place on Friday, 28 November, at 12:00pm Singapore time (9.30am Bangalore, 3:00pm Sydney). Rob Livingstone, together with Polycom experts Nick Hawkins and James Brennan will take participants through the trends that are accelerating the new rise of the CIO and IT function, and discuss how great collaborative organisations are tomorrow’s innovation leaders. If you’d like to find out more about the need for collaboration and innovation in today’s competitive market, be sure to join in here.

 

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