What should CEOs demand of their CIOs?

Research shows that CIO-led innovation takes more more than picking the right technology

How can CIOs harness talent and technology to foster innovation that drives business results? ESI ThoughtLab asked CIOs, their peers and bosses that question in more than 350 organizations in 12 countries and across five major industries. Here are the results:

Boosting innovation

Only 31% of surveyed executives say their company’s CIO is highly or extremely effective at driving innovation. However, when the organizations were ranked by most innovative to least, based on 10 different variables, the results changed. CIOs at the highest-ranking companies are viewed as much more favorably (see the chart below). What are the 10 points that define positive CIO-led innovation? Culture, leadership, process reinvention, internal talent, an ecosystem of partners, data-driven, product innovation, risk management, employee experience and customer-centricity. Take a self-assessment to see how your organization compares.

Effectiveness of CIO working with your team

How would you rate the effectiveness of the CIO in working with you and your team on driving innovation, comparing leading and beginner organizations?

Leading and thinking strategically

75% of CEOs in the survey prize CIOs who can lead and think strategically.


“What I want in a CIO is someone who knows how to play chess, 
someone who can think through 
the consequences of the technological decisions we make and see several moves ahead,” said Albert Maasland, Group Chief Executive Officer, Crown Agents Bank.

Thinking beyond implementation

To move the needle, CIOs need to think beyond just implementing new tech.


“We need to wake up each morning 
and go to bed each night thinking about how to be seen as both the enabler and catalyst of change,” said Lev Gonick, Chief Information Officer, Arizona State University.

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