Reinventing the World

Reinventing the World

This was too good not to run, so I'm foregoing my space this month to bring you what I'll call the CIO's 10 commandments -- but they're not mine. Management guru and co-author of In Search of Excellence and author of The Circle of Innovation Tom Peters addressed a group of over 800 IT executives at the CIO Perspectives conference (the sister event of CIO's Informat) in Orlando, Florida this year.

What Peters doesn't know are the rules of the game that will be played by CIOs in the coming years. What he does know is that CIOs are in charge of reinventing the world. He wrapped up his expansive talk by issuing 10 pieces of advice. Peters calls them his "CIO Manifesto".

- My name is Che Guevara. If I am not prepared to stake my professional life on the concept of revolution, I do not deserve to be employed in an information systems activity.

- I don't go gaga over the business case. Most corporations don't have the innovative potential to hack their way out of a wet paper bag in the middle of a monsoon. My role is to lead.

- I know that the very young will lead us. I am a connoisseur of talent. I dote on weird, weirder and weirdest.

- I believe that the promise of ERP/supply chain management is underhyped. The Internet is underhyped. Value chain/supply chain management, ERP, the Internet, etc, will devour all of the current ways of doing business, private and public, and change the definition of every industry.

- I believe that the real legacy systems that have to be changed are those that involve the corporate culture. I will attack the slippery cultural issues head-on. I am a CIO; I am not a technologist but rather an anthropologist. I can learn more from studying Gandhi, King and other community and social activists than I can from going to another meeting of geeks.

- I will think beauty, think aesthetics, think designs. Every project should be able to pass the beauty-aesthetics test.

- I must slow down and think. I will take time to reflect and go trout fishing. There is no evidence that the tools I am developing have made people smarter and more thoughtful. If anything, the evidence may be on the other side. The next time I think about going to my ninth industry conference of the year, I will go trout fishing instead or spend four days in the garden.

- I will never get it right. I aspire to beautiful metasystems in which all of the internal and external slack is extracted from the value chain, but I also know that a generation on the Internet is a few months at most. Beautiful, coherent architecture makes me swoon, but it is at the same time a hopeless snare and a dangerous delusion. Beauty is my mantra, but "Ready, Fire, Aim" is my calling.

- I will minimise benchmarking against my traditional rivals. I will start looking for the four-sigma freaks assiduously. My goal: We do not want to be the best of the best, we want to be the only ones who do what we do.

- I am not a wimp.

Good on ya, Tom.

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