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The hybrid team leader: David Kennedy of Orion Health

Divina Paredes | Dec. 23, 2014
David Kennedy of Orion Health discusses why a co-joined CIO/CISO portfolio is an imperative for a global company dealing with sensitive information.

He says it is important to have a clear strategy to ensure the teams can align to the common goal.

"The mantra for all my teams is this: Simplicity, clarity and visibility in all that we do."

Gamification is one approach Kennedy uses for the ICT team through a program called Ticketmaster.

"There's a little Oscar statue and the first week of every month the IT teamglobally goes through a competition for who can close the most tickets. Each ticket is weighted differently, it depends if it's a priority one or a priority zero. And then it's a race to the first week to see who wins this trophy. This trophy gets shipped around the world once a month."

Kennedy says it was an idea that sprung up when he first joined Orion. He noticed that the tickets were piling up.

"You have to think of ways by which you can respond to what the customer needs, and the business needs. And Ticketmaster was a way to get people into spirit of doing things faster."

He vouches for the positive culture at Orion Health.

"The market goes through constant change," he says. "In order to meet that, you have to then enable your teams to not be put off by change. And the culture we have here really is one of constant change and saying: 'What's the next best thing?'. That comes from [CEO] Ian's innovative mind."

The global CIO

Kennedy is essentially a global CIO based in Auckland. So what are some insights he can share on working with teams and customers across the globe?

"Lead by the front," he advises. "Commitment and drive are key, and working together creates fantastic results."

It is also important to listen to customers, both internal and external.

"'Listen to your customer' is a mantra that I now live by through my time at KPMG, he states.

"Make sure you strike a clear balance and add value uniformly" to both of these groups.

"It is very much a part of a collaborative crowdsourcing culture at Orion Health," he says.

Stakeholder management is a key part of the role. He meets monthly with most executives, and bi-monthly with two other executives due to work commitments. "It is important to understand their strategies and needs so that I can mobilise them through technology," he says.

The upsides of the role

"I work with many people and continuously learn from my teams," Kennedy says. "I'm fortunate that I can educate customers and employees about what we do and the culture we have here at Orion Health.

"The fast growth we experience allows for continual improvement, for pushing the boundaries of technology to better the company and improve the experience of the employees.

"Also, knowing that we are making a difference in the health sector is something that is very rewarding."


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