International Women’s Day 2013
Today, Friday March 8 2013, is International Women’s Day.
Look, I’d love to talk about how women are stronger than ever and yet equality is a mile away, but honestly, I don’t feel it, y’know? This whole gender debate is almost a bad thing (note, please, I said almost) in that it takes attention away from the really cool stuff that is out there right now. That it doesn’t take a male or a female to be able to see how cool these things are.
I do want to see more women in IT though, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen, but let’s talk about that another day. Today let’s be inspired.
AGIMO: Australian Government and IT
Today, I had the pleasure of reading through the transcript of Australian Government CTO John Sheridan’s speech from Kickstart 2013. I have found a speaker I would absolutely love to see in person, because just reading this makes me excited; I can’t imagine what the people at the event must have been thinking and feeling. Wow. And he uses LEGO on his slides. Double wow!
He starts off by saying that technology is an integral, essential part of everyday life in Australia. How we’re beyond thinking of technology as though it’s a train coming towards us in a narrow tunnel. This is kind of refreshing for me, although I think there’s a long way to go before “using” and “understanding” technology move closer on the scale.
“this will be in one CSV file and you’ll be able to sort and play with that to your heart’s content”
“The problem is not one of technology, it is a problem of personnel management, and that’s the sort of thing that technology should do if it’s getting it right. It shouldn’t be a barrier to what we do, it should be an enabler of what we do, so that we can focus, Public Service managers can focus, on the important things”
I love this because it’s true. I find myself telling people more and more, the hardest job in IT is not making the technology work. It’s about joining the technology to the people who are using it, and it’s about improving their quality of life. What I believe is that it’s not just the CIO who has to step up to the business and say “look, this is what IT can do”, it’s everyone on the team. Things like:
- IT needs to be responsible for helping people adapt to new technologies, which are often sudden and unexpected (smart phones are a good example).
- IT needs to be responsible for providing customer service, even though a lot of the time the technology itself is not customer facing (who do you complain to when systems are down or security breached?)
- IT needs to be innovative, and think outside the norm. But it’s not about the fastest to innovate or the first to market – tried and tested technology for the government in particular, over cutting edge might-close-down-tomorrow shops.