What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come

Ever wonder what CIOs would wish for if given the chance? We did, and we learned that in some cases dreams can come true.

Picture yourself at a golf resort on the fringe of a desert, attending yet another executive offsite. Eager to escape the stuffiness of the conference room, you slip out onto the veranda, where you spot a bottle of designer water sticking out of the sand. You pick it up, looking for the nearest recycling bin, when out pops the CIO genie.

In gratitude for being released, the genie, who looks a lot like IBM's Lou Gerstner with a goatee, grants you one wish. (Y2K needs are taking all his other resources, so you cannot have the traditional three.) You hesitate, there's so much technology you've been waiting for, so many management hassles distracting you, but the genie is overdue at a conference in San Francisco and can't wait. He hands you a wand clearly labelled One Wave Only and departs on a flying carpet (business class) for the coast.

What to do? We presented the hypothetical wand to six information technology executives, who wished for all manner of magical thinking caps, crystal balls, love potions and truth serums. (Did somebody actually suggest an "end-user silencer module"?) But even when given free rein to fulfill their wildest dreams, managers in the end chose to wish for the simple but not quite achievable fixes that would most improve their workday lives. And thus we present their wishes: Truly Ubiquitous Computing, True Blue Business Partners, the Ultimate Time Machine and the Perfect Employee.

Oh, and just because we can't help being practical, we ran these fancies by a few top-flight futurists for a reality check. The verdict? Technology and savvy management can fulfill some wishes now and others in a short while. As for the rest, well, let's just say human nature won't be "solved" any time before the millennium.

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