Accelerate Illinois’ Modernization – a 30-day blog spree: Day 2: My early interactions with Governor Rauner

March 3rd, 2016

Illinoisans are lucky to have a businessman at the helm of its state government. Governor Rauner understands the power of technology. He is the main reason why I decided to plunge back into public sector. I saw a vision which can turn around my adopted home state of 18 years. In my first meeting with him after I started, he told me he knows that “technology has the power to fuel Illinois’ transformation”. I had been traveling around the globe, working with Mayors, Governors and Prime Ministers, in my previous role related to Internet of Things and Smart Cities. It is extremely important to have visionary leadership at the top that understands the value technology brings to government efficiency and economic growth.

I started bringing all agency CIOs (80+) together every two months. At the first formal meeting, I invited the Governor to share his vision with us. For some CIOs, working with the state for 30+ years, it was the first experience to see a sitting Governor addressing state’s technology leadership. His presence as well as his insights signaled that it is not business as usual.

We regularly bring outside leaders into our meetings to get fresh ideas, best practices and lessons learned. At the same meeting where the Governor addressed agency CIOs, we also heard from the Orbitz (now acquired by Expedia) CEO Barney Harford. They conduct 5,000 website experiments-a-month to see what the customer wants. Barney’s statements were in perfect alignment with Governor’s vision and insights.

Governor and I have attended many meetings with private sector leaders together. He is always extremely engaged, taking notes and asking right questions. When he addressed a gathering of CIOs of Midwest’s $1B+ corporations, he was on point and requested the private sector to step up and support our transformation. He gets it. His 100% executive support for technology transformation has enabled the speed at which we are moving forward. While technology is the fuel for transformation, his executive leadership and guidance are essential ingredients for our success so far.

More later…