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TEDx: The tech support of CIOs

Paul Vecchiato | July 13, 2017
TEDxSydney this year contained plenty of advice on how smart IT chiefs can position themselves as a vital asset for their businesses.


The modern CIO would be barely recognisable to someone in the position a decade ago as technologies such as cloud computing have radically altered daily operations.

But freeing the IT department from its ‘rack, stack and patch’ existence brings challenges. Paramount amongst these is the fight to remain part of the conversation when almost anyone with a credit card can provision a new service or application.

Fortunately, the TED Talks at this year’s TEDxSydney contained plenty of advice on how the smart CIO can move their department beyond a cost centre and position themselves as a vital asset for building the business.


Embrace being out of your depth

When you’re the IT leader everyone looks to you for answers on anything even remotely tech-related. Given the rapid pace of change in technology and the emergence of new applications seemingly overnight it’s impossible to be informed about everything and the demands of trying to keep on top of it all can be overwhelming.

Feeling ill-equipped when you’re supposed to be ‘the expert’ might make you want to shy away from debate, but it’s exactly those times when you should push on through says Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

He argues that everyone feels “imposter syndrome” no matter how successful they are and that it should be utilised as a learning opportunity. Continue asking questions and learning even when you feel out of your depth.


Think like a computer

With disruptive technologies, it’s difficult to decide when to jump and when to wait for a better option. If you’re prone to sitting around waiting for the perfect time to make a choice then Tom Griffiths has the solution for you.

The professor of psychology and cognitive science suggests relying on the “optimal stopping problem,” a mathematical theory used in computer algorithms to make tough choices. It works by choosing a certain time to decide an outcome to increase the likelihood of it being in your favour.

For example, when buying a house, it’s impossible to see every property in the market. Your best option is to see, say, 37 per cent of the market and then buy the one that’s better than the average instead of searching for a perfection that might not exist.

Ideal opportunities are next to impossible, but you can take some of the stress away and settle for a pretty good option instead by taking a quantitative-based approach.


Bring in the creatives

The best person to have by your side isn’t just the numbers guy anymore, but the creative one. Technology development requires the involvement of creative types more than ever says scientist and engineer Elanor Huntington.


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