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Imagination at work

Imagination at work

Five CIO 100 honorees are boosting revenue, cutting costs and maybe saving the planet with cool technologies

Steal these ideas

Finagle free equipment

NOAA's Undersea Research Center obtained free networking equipment from vendors such as Cisco. Vendors often donate products and services to organizations working on innovative projects because it's good PR.

Get everyone involved

The secret to the success of Ohio State University Medical Center's robot deployment was the involvement of stakeholders from different divisions and departments, including IT, clinical care administration, facilities services and purchasing. Each brought a unique perspective to the planning table.

Ask around

JEA got the idea to use artificial intelligence and neural networking to regulate its boilers by asking other utilities and energy companies about technologies they were using.

Go with your gut

When two Goodyear employees approached CTO Joseph Gingo with the idea of designing and testing tires on computers, Gingo put them on the task. He trusted his two PhDs even though part of him thought the idea was hare-brained at the time.

Getting cozy

What's the best way to inspire a high level of synergy and cooperation between IT and the business? Two CIO 100 winners offer a clue.

Goodyear achieved that ideal of shared passion and commitment by putting the together the brightest, most talented employees across departments and letting them run with a project. Monsanto did it by making it easy for employees in one department to move into another to enhance their knowledge and build relationships.

Dave Glemming and Loren Miller are the two Goodyear employees who originally advocated for using computers to design and test tires. Separately, the two men, who both hold PhDs and had been working for the company for several years, approached Goodyear's then vice president of tire technology Joe Gingo with the idea in 1992. Using computers to test tires was a radical concept at the time. Gingo, who is now CTO, initially thought it sounded crazy but another part of him thought it just might work. Gingo went with his gut, and gave them his blessing to figure out how to use computers to simulate tires, trusting that the smart, dedicated veterans would come up with a solution. They did.

At Monsanto, CIO Mark Showers jumped on a serendipitous opportunity to enhance collaboration between IT and Monsanto's breeding organization. Jason Bull was a plant breeder who was assigned to work on a project that looked at using technology to identify particular genes in plants and then predict the best plants to breed. After working so closely with the company's software developers, he wanted to try a career in IT. He spoke with Showers about his desire. Showers created a role for Bull, recognizing a unique opportunity to get a key stakeholder's perspective on the project. Bull is now managing the project on the IT side. Showers says he's since welcomed several other scientists like Bull into his shop. "It tends to be the best way to get the business analyst liaison roles on a project like this," he says.

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