Kimberly Stevenson, a corporate vice president and CIO at Intel, has spent her professional career immersed in technology, working for some of the world's most recognized technology companies. Not surprisingly, she's a vocal champion for IT and how it will transform business and society. "I love to see all this disruption coming in all different industries, and it's all coming from IT," says Stevenson, one of four finalists for the 2013 MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award. She shares her ideas on running an IT department, the power of technology and the importance of technologists.
If you weren't in IT, what would you do? Run a sports franchise (using IT to drive wins).
What's the next step in your career? "Increasing my impact is what drives me. Whatever is next will have to have the opportunity to make a huge impact."
What do you do in your spare time? Tennis and travel. "Next trip is a girls' weekend in the Smoky Mountains and Dollywood."
What's on your reading list? The Eye of God, by James Rollins
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know: "I went to high school on a tall ship and graduated in Monte Carlo."
How did you approach your first two years on the job? I came from within the organization, so I had a good bead on what the organization was. It was a well-run IT organization, so when you take on a new challenge, you say: "How am I going to take this well-run team and make it better?" That's the approach I took in the context of the changing business at Intel. The first thing I said is that social networking is going to be one of the strategy thrusts we had. I thought a few years ago that it will change how enterprises communicate and collaborate, and if IT wasn't leading, then the organization won't change. I championed it as a catalyst for change.
Second, I believed in the strategy I inherited because I was part of the team that developed it, but I had to look at how to refine it and how could I elevate the team to add more value. So we simplified the goals to a few high-impacting things, and we put a focus on building the right culture and added definitions around possibility thinking, risk taking, putting the customers at the center of what we did and acting as one IT. So we shifted the tide from what IT is capable of doing to learning what our customers need and figuring out how to do it by taking some risks. And then we created around these things some visible symbols to reinforce the culture. We changed what got rewarded and recognitions; we aligned them around the priorities we were trying to achieve.
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