Day 10: Innovation, Collaboration and Externalization; An Introduction to Enabling change: Accelerating Illinois Modernization: a 30-day blog

Today Marian Cook, Chief Strategy Officer for Enterprise IT, joins me in writing this blog. I grabbed Marian out of private sector. She and I like to run to problems and take on major challenges. With being a CIO herself, working for a large blue chip technology company, running her on consulting company and advising many CIOs, she complements my necessity and ability to move at the speed we need to, to transform how technology gets done at the State.


As you may have gathered from previous blog posts (or perhaps your experience with the State), the State of Illinois consists of tens of different technology siloes, more than 40 years of technical debt and an out of balance cost structure. We are currently undergoing a transformation to bust through those siloes to achieve the efficiencies and effectiveness that a focused 1,700 person strong team can achieve for our customer.

This is more than just moving hardware, software or people.

It is about moving minds.

The purpose of today’s blog post is to outline and introduce the actions we are taking to sustainably change the culture and create results. We established collaborative communities to accelerate that transformation, get fresh perspectives in – or what we call ‘externalize the enterprise’ - and ignite innovation. In today’s post we’ll review the big picture. In future posts we’ll get into the details.

We focused on 12 different actions and collaborative communities that moved within the areas below. The actions staged over time were and fall within three categories: (c - Collaborative; e - Externalize the enterprise; i - Innovation)

  • CIO Council (c, i): Bring together over 60 agency CIO’s to share education, best practices and solve problems
  • CEO Speakers series (e, i): High level private sector executives, including the CEOs of Orbitz and 1871, lead discussions with our Agency CIOs on new topics
  • External site visits (c, e, i): Many of our Agency CIOs visited the Innovation Centers of Illinois corporations
  • CIO Working Groups (c, i): 11 working groups of Agency CIOs created enterprise strategies and action plans on analytics, mobile, cloud, GIS, cybersecurity and others
  • Centers of Excellence (Analytics and IoT) (c, e, i): Two working groups evolved into Centers of Excellence, or virtual teams of experts that share best practices, tools and assets
  • Entrepreneur Showcase (c, e, i): Start-up organizations present to Agency CIOs at the CIO Council meetings
  • Office of the CIO (c): Several key Agency CIOs were integrated into specific enterprise functions and teams
  • Enterprise Performance Management (c): Implementing performance management for the central IT division
  • Innovation Process (c, e, i): A CIO working group is implementing an innovation process to build from innovation at the edge
  • University Partnerships (c, e, i): Workshops, talent pipeline and research projects
  • Strategic Advisory Boards (c, e, i): Two advisory boards with leaders from the private sector, academia, and non-profit sector advise on key technology-infused transformation areas
  • Leadership Development Program (c): The first ever CIO and top IT leadership development program will be launched at this month’s CIO council meeting


We no longer live in a time of a smooth sailing with occasional short bursts of whitewater. It is all whitewater all the time. These collaborative communities effectively create and sustain meaningful change during a time of turbulence.

More to come in future blog posts…