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What drives 40 years of I.T. success?

Carol Ko | Oct. 9, 2008
Daniel Lai has recently talked about the changing role of CIOs.

Daniel Lai (picture), head of IT of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation, has recently talked about the changing role of CIOs, who are also now coining themselves as chief innovation officers.

Daniel LaiA chief innovation officer, according to Lai, needs to develop new systems, create new applications, create new business processes, envision new solutions, support business models, and even drives business.

In one of the panel discussions of the Hong Kong International Computer Conference (HKICC) 2008 held last month, Lai defined innovative technology with three attributes, the ability to raise productivity, enhance lifestyle, and create new business models.

Here is his long must-have list for innovation: unconventional wisdom or thinking, the right atmosphere, encouragement, motivation, appropriate climate, initiative, management skills, support from peers, passion, determination, persistence, and creativity.

Treat yourself as a professional

With 40 years spent in the IT industry and remarkable achievements (Lai led the IT department in one of the biggest IT projects MTR-KCR merger in Hong Kong last year), and winner of the top five China Distinguished CIO Awards in 2007, Lai sets a strong success example for his industry and for any modest commentator like me.

In an interview preceding the panel discussion, I asked Lai what drove him to thrive in the IT industry for four decades.

Its passion, he said, which holds true to the success in any career. You have to be truthful to your company and colleagues. All successful CIOs are bound by some code of ethics, he said. Treat yourself as a professional. You cannot take things lightly. You have to look far ahead, and cannot play smart. For any project commissioned to you, you should think in terms of company and colleagues interests, and work towards the common goals.

Carol Ko is the Deputy Editor of MIS Asia and is chiefly responsible for covering stories of CIOs and senior IT managers in North Asia.


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