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CIO Unplugged – 4/1/09

April 1, 2009 Ed Marx No Comments

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine personally, and are not necessarily representative of Texas Health Resources or its subsidiaries.

Welcome, Welkommen, Bienvenu, Bem-vindo, Bienvenido, Vítaný
By Ed Marx

My family will host our 6th foreign exchange student this Fall. Anne will join us from Germany and stay through the academic year. Our “extended” family has expanded over the years, and these former students are now doctors, teachers, and actors. We keep in touch with several of the girls and have even visited a couple here and abroad. The experience of a single exchange—the families, students, cultures—has enriched our world.

I serve on the global healthcare CIO council for a fortune 50 company. Each year a dozen of us gather from around the world to help drive corporate strategy. We get a glimpse into the future and where the industry is headed as it relates to technologies on the horizon. We share challenges and solutions. We commiserate. We learn. We advance the corporation, our employers, and ourselves. It is rich.

Around the table this past week, I sat with CIOs from Brazil, Japan, USA, Singapore, Greece, UAE, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and England. (How fitting that the International Olympic Committee shared the conference facility with us in Chicago.) Although we contributed and advanced the mission of the council, the biggest benefit came from the transparent sharing amongst CIOs. I’m not able to share council specific outcomes or where my organization is headed strategically, but I can offer these key takeaways:

· Innovative ideas to remove culture as obstacles to transformation

· Creative organization hierarchies that enable velocity

· Leading from the center

· Progressive management of vendors

· The world is flat and we have more in common than you think

· Negotiating the C-Suite more effectively

· Leveraging specific technologies to enhance mobility

· Expanded vision

I gained more from this intimate exchange than I could have attending a week long mega-conference or reading a year’s worth of subscriptions. I established relationships with 11 peers who I can call on as needed. We forged budding bonds through time spent together and found that we have a common burden and shared passion. Their diverse backgrounds opened my eyes to fresh thoughts and strategies. Some of us have already exchanged additional ideas and materials to further our organization’s success.

The council sponsor benefitted and they will develop enhanced products and services to meet our future needs. Our employers will benefit from this investment as we bring back executable ideas for both strategic and operational advancements. And I, like my peers, have personally benefited through this mutual exchange of ideas, cultures, and personalities. May sound trite, but I believe the world is a better place now.

Seek opportunities on different levels to share in global exchanges. I’m looking forward to what we’ll learn from Anne this forthcoming school year.


Ed Marx is senior vice president and CIO at Texas Health Resources in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. Ed encourages your interaction through this blog. (Use the “add a comment” function at the bottom of each post.) You can also connect with him directly through his profile pages on social networking sites LinkedIn and Facebook, and you can follow him via Twitter – User Name “marxists.”

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