Digital Transformation ~ Conflict

imageedit_5_2836955823Don’t Ignore Conflict

Conflict is all around us everywhere.  Most of us deal with conflict of some form on a daily basis.   It is uncomfortable to talk about conflict and it is challenging for us to find ways to deal with it.   Conflict is primary, it is what I consider a fundamental function of our humanity.   Conflict rips and tears at people internally, externally, in small groups and large alike.   We are faced with it at every turn and it is hovers over us like a ghost.

It is something we deal with all the time but many people still seek to avoid it at all costs.

What is Conflict?

Conflicts are generally defined as relational disputes between two or more parties.
“The clashing of opposed principles” Oxford Dictionary

“Conflict is inevitable in organisational life but it need not have destructive consequences for the organisation (or work group). Depending on how the conflict is managed, the negative effects may be minimized, and positive effects may result from the conflict. Effective conflict management is based, in part, on a solid understanding of the different ways conflict emerges and can be resolved”. Organisational Behavior Hellreigel, Slocum and Woodman, 2001 Ninth Edition, South Western Thomson Learning, Singapore

Conflict in DT

Dion Hinchcliff is very effective at communicating important topics of digital today.   I enjoy learning though his perspective.  There is a very subtle arrow in the image below that I believe should be red, flashing and exploding.   It should have alarm bells going off and it should send you texts and emails, automatically set up doctors appointments, buy you lunch and set up a vacation for you.   Do you see it?


Dion Hinchcliffe CIOCMO

If you guessed this arrow,  you got it right.  Why is this the most important aspect of the picture?

This arrow represents an issue that will keep a CIO, CMO, their staff, husbands, wives, friends, children, cousins, best friends, etc engaged in all sorts of conflict management activities.    In the digital age, we take work with us everywhere we go.  We are on and connected and this arrow represents an internal conflict that is happening across companies globally.

This reminds me of a discussion I had with a C-Level coach concerning the challenges of a Global CIO.

A little bit of the secret sauce,  or as Guy Fieri calls it “Donkey Sauce.”
The CIO held at least one meeting a month with all of his directs and their staff.   This meant coordination of staff,  calendaring,  and essentially getting over 100+ people into a room.    He took care to make sure people were virtually dialed in as well but it was well known in the ranks to “show up.”   There wasn’t a head count but if there was a missing person,  he would see it.
The job of a CIO is to have a seat at the table beyond (OPEX)Operational Expense but this takes guts and it means taking on a lot of risk.    It is the “falling backwards” test and having belief and faith that your team will be there to catch you.   More often than not, your team is more than just these folks that are following but the leaders that prove they understand “servant leadership” from the top.   I don’t know what the C-level team did in terms of support but it always seemed to me that the CIO was blocking and tackling from both sides and being squeezed in the middle.    What made a difference from my view was active conversations that took place from what was known as the IT Senior Leadership Team and Business Partner Leads (from a strategic operations and IT team) and constant communication activities.   It certainly didn’t mean that everyone was in agreement, in fact there were a lot of disagreements (conflict) but these were always wrapped in passion in practice.  In other words,  people could disagree, work it out and get things done.   One thing was for sure, it didn’t matter who we made promises to,  we had to honor them and get them done.  Their expectations exceeded and commitments delivered.   I can attest to where the business would be without these efforts.   At this company I have had the opportunity to see the best behaviors and the worst.     What is true today for IT is that change has happened and will continue to happen for enterprise IT.   CIO’s are brokers and agents for the companies vs delivering technologies.   What this means is that companies will be forced to place the cost around OPEX / CAPEX on the business areas and groups.   KPI’s will show and are showing a lack of organizational balance.    The new CIO if they even call them that any longer will be an expert in talent management,  vendor management and communications expert including but not limited to conflict management.
The current shift in how companies are getting IT resources is seemingly based on individual unit KPI’s which are not a good organizational indicator.   The benefit of a business unit self prescribing a solution is essentially a short term fix for long term problems.   The business units exacerbate the problem by extracting dollars or limiting cash flow to enterprise services they perceive they no longer need because they have substitute technologies.  Unfortunately, the reality is that medium to large companies literally bleed out cash due to a lack of knowledge in enterprise cross cutting.    One example is cyber security,  there is a recent cartoon of the cyber person getting a seat at the table.
Inline image 1
You may wonder why..  The answer is that single point cyber solutions may create more organizational and operational risk on their own.     If I am a CMO or a CDO,  I would have very little knowledge of these things because generally these folks have grown up in corporate communications with a very different focus.    It is easy today to use a credit card to buy a service but this purchase can within itself cause millions in damages (think compliance alone).
So.. the main issues today are
  • illusion of choice (people believe they have more options than they really do)
  • misunderstanding of the differences between IT services and IT talent (services a generally highly focused without many variable options while talent allows for more organizational and operational flexibility and resilience)
  • illusion of cost (business groups look at individual costs and don’t have insight to organizational factors or costs,  this can be found when someone buys something they want to integrate or use x509 or directory services for)
  • illusion of communication (business groups substitute active dialogue and communication with posts or broadcasts,  they believe that since they shared information in a public forum that some receiver is there to read it and that it is now known)
The value of IT is specific in that,  there is a very clear understanding of requirements, cost, risk, and underlying operational benefits with long term implications including talent management.   All of this requires two types of partnership
  1. Services Partnership – HR, Corporate Communications,  IT, Vendor Management etc (anyone who doesn’t generally create or generate direct revenue)
  2. Business Partnership – Any business groups / teams that are revenue generation
Companies are struggling with this across the board because of their lack of tacit organizational knowledge.  When they figure out they have a problem, they go to other services or consulting and this creates more on the cost side.   These costs then start to come out of the strategic targeted budget and it creates a new level of overhead.   Now these business units get taxed multiple times…


Pulling it Together

If the C-level seeks to avoid conflict or create internal war conditions,  it is costly to everyone in the company.  In previous blog posts, I talk about having courage and taking risks around communication.  This is exactly the place where having courage matters.   Avoiding conflict makes organizations and people sick.  It causes micro-aggression and internal silo wars.     There should be strategic and operational investments in conflict management as part of Digital Transformation.   Digital Workplace, Employee Experience and Productivity are very important but beyond the user experience there are human factors that are cognitive, physical and social.   Addressing these as part of change management activities and transformation will create healthier and more successful companies.




Categories KM

Having Courage Means

The Hardest Post

Normally, I am not at a loss for words but today I am.   Last week I didn’t write because I was visiting a friend out of town.   We discussed the differences between leadership and management.   We started talking about work and the difficulties in dealing with people along with the challenges of tight budgets and schedules.    He started to describe his situation and the specific challenges he faces with his manager.   He described his manager as a micro-manager,  the manager wants to know where my friend is at all times and what he is working on task by task.  I mentioned that in some cases that behavior is fairly common and that my friend (let us call him “B”) should work on communication and building trust.

As his story continued,  I was faced with one of the most shocking and egregious  acts of a manager I have ever heard.   It left me stunned for a few days.   I struggled with writing about it as well.

The following story includes a video,  I am warning you that if you are highly sensitive to anything that has to do with the holocaust,  do not read on and do not watch the video.  

B was called into the office by his manager.   His manager started by discussing performance.    He told B that he has to meet the deadlines and quotas set and that there are consequences for failure to meet the timelines.   He pulled up this video on YouTube

B explained that it was hard for him to even listen to or pay attention to what his manager said next.  He couldn’t rationalize why he was shown this video and he has been haunted ever since he watched it.    B also explained that he had a co-worker who is Jewish that experienced the same thing with this manager.

Both B and is co-worker are still working for this manager and are afraid to report him.


Having Courage

I personally can’t shake it either.  I watched this movie when it was made back in 1993 and I had a story that went along with the movie myself.   I was still active duty Navy and one of my best friends was from a small town in California.  A few of us got an apartment out in town and we lived together on and off the ship.   One day, I was washing dishes and Jason (my friend) came up behind me and drew something on my neck with a magic marker.   We always would mess with each other in good fun but this time, it had an impact.  I yelled at him and ran over to the mirror only to find it was a swastika.  I felt as if the world stopped for a moment.  I had experienced people drawing swastikas on my sheets and putting on equipment in the navy but most of the people that did this were from small southern towns with no experience of knowing or being around Jews.    I am not defending them; they grew up thinking that the swastika is a symbol of “brotherly love” as I was told back then in 1992.    This was different.  He was one of my best friends and he came from California.  I couldn’t process how he could even think this was remotely funny.   The moment of silence came over both of us and he looked at me realizing that what he did had a serious impact.   I couldn’t get the damn think off of me and I couldn’t even see what the hell I was scrubbing.  I was flustered.    I didn’t know exactly what Schindler’s list was about specifically but I knew it had to do with the holocaust.   That night,  I asked him if I could take him to the movies.     Jason and I went to the theater and sat through the movie.   If you haven’t seen it, there are scenes with a little girl and a bit of color.  Jason was over whelmed with tears and emotion.  I can remember how that felt like it was yesterday.  He looked at me and said “I am so sorry,  I understand now.”    Jason was a shipmate and a brother that would put his life at risk for me and me for him.   It was ignorance and a clear lack of understanding that drove us to that place.

I hadn’t watched this movie or seen parts of it since.

I offered advice to B in the form of standing up and taking action.  I offered him ideas on presenting this situation to his leadership and Human Resources.   He is still in fear for his job and I don’t know if he will do anything about it.    His manager has a laundry list of things that I consider “bad behavior” but this was the worst.

It is easy to say to someone that they “should” have courage in the face of adversity.  It is easy to say for someone to stand up for your beliefs.   Having courage means that he would have to take that risk.    I sure hope he does because this world has enough hate in it.

What would you have offered as advice to B?

Thanks for reading..  I am out of words on this one…





Categories KM

Make a Difference Now!

Just One Thingmake-a-difference-in-someones-life-mandy-hale-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures

Things are tough.   People don’t listen, and  you can’t influence everyone.  We need advocates in our lives to make a difference or at least we believe that we do.   It can be depressing and it is a challenge.   Everyone on this planet is faced with some adversity, it is a part of our humanity.   We are all faced with life, death and the stuff that happens in between.

I was talking to a good friend a few days ago, he was telling me that a 30 year old cousin of his had a heart attack and died immediately.    It was an unexpected event and this young adult had plans of getting out of the corporate life and doing something different with his life.    He wanted to leave a legacy.    My older friends talk a lot about legacy.  They talk about leaving something behind that is of value.   There are many people that work hard and attain wealth and status but still feel they have something they need to do.   They have a strong desire to do something good and leave a legacy.

We can talk about religion and G-d and all of the philosophical aspects of life and legacy but my sense is that we have to think more about now.   I don’t think that we should wait to make a difference.   We should make a difference right now.   We should focus on what we can do on a daily basis as we make choices.   We should make it part of our awareness and activity.    For me,  I answer emails and phone calls that other people consider a waste of time.  I take meetings with people that others would not.   I speak to people often and I listen as much as possible to give them time to tell their story. This isn’t a perfect scientific formula.   It is simply making the time and taking the time to be aware.   It is taking the extra effort to help someone when you can choose to do something else.   It is making a phone call to make an introduction.   It is meeting with a young person looking towards a career.   It is volunteering for something.   It also can be paying attention to someone.

Many times,  people only pay attention to others they believe have some value.   Everyone has value.  Just because I am not aware of this at the time doesn’t mean I should ignore them.

I am not saying this to lecture you or even tell you something that you already know.   The reason I am saying this is because today is a gift, it isn’t a promise to you or anyone else.   We live in a complicated world of distraction.    We are distracted and we wake up and days, weeks and months pass.   We are distracted and focused on success.   Success being .. whatever you define it.   I am thinking to remind you that we are a few generations from being forgotten.   Think about your great great grandparents for a moment, you may not even know their names.    Your name may be forgotten as well.  The actions we take and the legacy we leave may not be tied to our names.   It very well may be something we inspire someone else to do.   It may be a lesson that you teach.  It may be an act of caring and kindness that changes or saves a life.   It may be a simple thing like holding a door for a person and having a child witness it.    It can be many things but you have to make a choice in the moment to act and to care.   You have to make a choice to make a difference and you have to be aware.

Think about this and how you can do one thing to make a difference.  Just try it out and see what happens.   I would be happy to listen or read your stories..







Categories KM

Leading Knowledge Management


The Basics

From a leadership perspective,  a KM lead needs to have the ability to execute.   Knowledge Management efforts are fundamentally about change.    Practically speaking, it is impossible to change anything without a clear vision and mission.  Knowledge Management should be part of the organizational DNA, not something we deliver but something we are.

In order to lead KM,  we need to understand the needs of the people and the needs of the business.   Today, we talk about Knowledge Management in terms of mobility or concepts related to “Digital.”    Fundamentally,  KM in motion is about the ability of an organization including its workforce to execute.   In order to accomplish large organizational goals and smaller individual goals,  people need data, information, knowledge and the ability to share it and collaborate in a way that is comfortable to them individually.

Every organization is different and in my experience the very basic building blocks are

  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Respect

People leading KM or seeking to empower employees must have a seat at the table with senior leadership.   There have been many times that I had to “Seniorsplain” information to teams.   The differences between word of mouth and formal communications can have a dramatic impact on the workforce.

A few years ago, my team and I were just getting started in implementing a KM practice.  My team was learning a lot about KM itself and I was learning about the business.  I went out and interviewed leadership and my team started to meet with groups and talk about what KM more broadly.   We were met with resistance on almost all of the first meetings.   It took multiple meetings and clear messages from leadership for people to start to believe.   The Global CIO had discussions with his directs and they had discussions with their teams.    I met with all of them and we discussed ways to enhance, improve and optimize their individual areas without disruption.   The key factor was to add value without disruption.  Still many people didn’t believe me on the first handshake and I needed to continue to work with them to show proof.   It was a combination of proving value, building trusted relationships, showing up and being consistent that started to turn things in our favor.   Our CIO was willing to learn and he took some risks himself by advancing KM concepts and sharing these with his teams.

We spent a lot of time communicating, testing, learning, assessing and re-applying concepts.   Where we met resistance we either worked it out or moved on to leaders and teams that were more open minded.   Our practices were consistent,  we spent a lot of time learning and sharing and we added value by raising awareness across the organization and bringing teams together.

Organizational intelligence and ability is the essential lifeblood of any company.  It is often overlooked in practice but given a lot of lip service.  When an organization is charged and committed to KM, employees across the organization are aware of it.  It is much more difficult in large organizations and there is a misinterpretation or natural substitution of digital technologies as opposed to engagement.   This is further complicated by advances and changes in technologies and business itself.

Leading Knowledge Management takes patience, a strong desire to learn, a love of people, understanding, courage to speak to leadership, and courage to take risk.   If leaders don’t trust you, the teams won’t trust you.   If the teams don’t trust,  leaders will lose trust in you.

Organizational and leadership commitment, clear communications followed by associated consistent actions, and the ability to do what you need to do (including taking some risk), is how you lead Knowledge Management.

Note: Vinegar Tasters 

The image represents three different perspectives through an activity of tasting vinegar.  See more   Knowledge Management does not prescribe to a specific perspective but it seeks to illuminate and raise awareness holistically.


Categories KM

Bad Automation – It’s Here


Automation is Here

Go to a movie theater,  an airport, or an amusement park and you will experience more interaction with machines and less with human beings.    This may on the surface seem like a good thing but in terms of personal cost and experience, I believe it is harmful to customer experience and limits our ability to make choices.

Do you push or say “operator” when you are calling a company?

Most people when asked dislike dealing with machines vs talking to a human being. See   Nigel Clark even created a consumer business around this concept called

Companies continue to use these services because most customers simply deal with it.

  1. The overall costs are lower or seem to be lower in the short run.
  2. The percentage of customers that get frustrated and leave may find that they have no place to go because many companies have gone to robotic services.
  3. Machine services are getting better and some people today may not even realize they are speaking to a machine.

From the business side of things, it makes sense and it makes the “board” happy to see operating costs decrease.  From the consumer side,  I argue that good customer experience is decreasing over time and that consumers are simply getting used to being treated like this.   Consider what you do in your life and how you deal with these situations.

From here,  I will just provide a few short examples of why automation at this time is bad for consumers and customer experience.

Air Travel

Airline companies have pushed customer experience to the brink.  They have pushed people so far emotionally and economically that they don’t want to fly.   When I was a child, my father would take me to the airport to watch the planes take off.   We would see people get dressed up to fly.  It wasn’t a bus service it was an experience .   When we did fly, it was fun and felt like an adventure.   I recall people clapping when the plane landed.   The pilot was a person that you would admire.

Today,  flying is miserable.   Consumers must deal with micro-transactions, unfair practices and treatment of passengers, limited choices and being forced to be physically and emotionally uncomfortable through the travel process.  On top of all of this,  since our world is increasingly unsafe,  consumers are forced to deal with being dehumanized and embarrassed as they line up as cattle to be inspected as they seek to get to their gate.

Automation is all over the airlines

  1. While choosing an airline or flight, it is very likely that you are dealing with a machine.   This is very normal today and the reason it is bad for consumers is because we are presented with choices and there is no negotiation.
  2. Once a consumer makes a choice and locks in, micro-transactions can begin to take place and consumers now only have two options,  choose to continue or choose to discontinue the overall transaction.  If they choose to discontinue the overall transaction,  there may be a fee (most likely).
  3. Through the process of physically getting a ticket,  confirming a seat,  tagging baggage more recently weighing baggage, it is likely that a consumer deals with a machine vs a person.

Why is this a problem?

On recent travel,  I had a problem confirming my flight on the website and application.   When I called the airline, I had no person I could talk to and the machine just kept telling me that I had to solve my problem at the airport.  I spent a lot of time going back over my information to make sure, I didn’t miss anything.  I also kept going back to the website to continue trying just in case it was a technical issue or a timing issue.   After many attempts over time, I was able to resolve the problem but I am not sure how.  I just kept trying.

When I got to the airport,  there were several lines but I couldn’t tell if I needed to get in line or not because I had already confirmed and simply needed to drop off a bag.   Asking another passenger a question is the natural thing to do because maybe they know something I don’t.   Of course they don’t know, they are just guessing like the rest of us.  So,  I took a chance and went to the short line where they receive baggage.  Luckily, there was a person there and she took my bag.   Other passengers noticed my “airline courage” and followed over to the short line.    When the person took my bag and placed it on the scale she said “It is 2 kilograms over, please be sure to take something out on your way home, I will let you through now.”

I was thankful that she took the bag and didn’t make me open it or pay $300.00 more for 4 extra pounds.   Here is the reason why she told me to be careful on the way home.


On the way home, there are no people only machines.   We are to tag and bag our own baggage and if it weighs more,  you pay.  There is no negotiation and no discussion only 0 or 1.

As a side note,  over 90% of the trip home including security was automated.  There were only 2-3 times that we interacted with a person.

I am not inclined to take a trip like this again as I felt like a unique id being fed through a physical manifestation of something digital.



There was a time that parents would hand kids a few bucks and drop them off at the movie theater.  The movies represented a lot of things, it was a way to get out for a little while and immerse yourself in a new world.  Maybe we would go on a date and share some popcorn or even take the whole family.

Today going to the movies is a whole production in itself.   The experience in the theater is one thing but the experience to get the tickets is a whole ordeal within itself.   We can use services like Fandango to buy tickets ahead of time.   Print the tickets or use an app.  While this seems convenient and practical it is very expensive.  An average trip to the movies for my family is over $75.00 between tickets, popcorn etc.   Automation has made things worse.

On a recent trip to the theater,  I decided I would go directly to theater with my family because it is likely that the theaters do not put special pricing on sites like Fandango.

“The availability of military and student discount tickets is controlled by each individual theater, not by Fandango. To see if any discounts are being offered for your theater for purchases made via Fandango, click on a red show time to begin the purchase process. All available ticket categories will be displayed on the subsequent page. Look for ticket categories labeled “military discount” and “student discount,” or similarly named categories which would indicate a specially priced ticket.

Please be aware that not all theaters make student and military discounts available through Fandango. Many theaters offer these discounts exclusively at their box office. We suggest that you check with your local theater for their military and student discount policy and availability. Individual theater phone numbers can be found by clicking on the corresponding blue theater name.”

When I went to my local theater,  I had the expectation that a person would be at the window and that I could get the discounts that I had expected before.  What I found was a kiosk.


When I walked up to the kiosk,  it said “Welcome Mr. Cohen, so happy to see you, Alexa told us you would be here and we tracked your vehicle and estimated your arrival, based on your previous movie choices, we believe that you, your children and your wife would like to see Spiderman.”   Just kidding, it didn’t say that but I tell you what it didn’t say “DISCOUNT.”   There were no discounted tickets and the kiosk itself has a service charge.  Technically,  you can pre-order popcorn or whatever else you want on there as well but choices are limited.


Combine the “decoy effect” with automation and you have a perfect opportunity!

We always have the choice to stay home or pay the extra money,  what I am talking about is the experience.    I enjoy talking to the young kids at the counter that are working their first job.  I enjoy asking for other options.

Where else?

Home improvement stores,  Pharmacy (they hand you a paper and you may not even talk to a pharmacist any longer),  Doctors office,  grocery stores,  bowling alley, gas station, and work.   Automation and the reduction of people in the workforce is accelerating day by day.    Some of this is intelligent but most of it is not.    Consumers are constantly getting hit with less choice, no opportunities to negotiate or discuss, less opportunity to interact with human being and less opportunity to benefit from a transaction.

Most people are asked to agree to things electronically that are overwhelming thought automation as well.   People are so used to hitting electronic licensing agreements that they simply don’t read, they just say “yes.”   Recently,  22,000 people agreed to scoop poo and clean toilets for free wifi. Free Wifi.


Maybe this was a little long but I hope you realize that this impacts you and it is important to understand what is happening.    It will only get worse over time as we become more numb and tolerant to automation.

Recently a television commercial for a security system has a woman calling asking for help as someone just broke into her house, the machine answered and told her that she was in the wrong department.

Automation is here and it is advancing too quickly.   What happens when your mother receives a robocall from the lab diagnostic services.  “Hello, Mrs. Weaver,  we hope you are having a wonderful day, your lab results are in and they are x,y,z.  Your death is estimated in 5.35 weeks, 2 hours and 3 seconds.  If you have any questions about your results please contact our lab health center or find us on line at”

Consumers are being treated like unique identified targets vs customers.   Analytics is replacing the idea of individual interaction.  Customization is really about the presentation of limited options that are terminus as opposed to having room to move in directions that are not prepacked.   As more companies go down this road, consumer choice will actually continue to decrease over time.   This impacts work life and home life and it impacts the quality of an experience.

If you disagree please like this post, if you agree please like this post.









First 100 Days



Recently,  I went over the steps I took as I started my job at Chubb Insurance.  I was brought in by senior IT leadership to address challenges of transformation and change using tools, techniques and practices derived from Knowledge Management.

I quickly realized on my first day that I would need a consistent approach to gather information, listen, learn, think, engage and share with peers, team members and leadership.

Mark Friedman is an Executive Coach and Leadership Development expert.   I worked with Mark all through the hiring process and I asked him if he had advice for my first few weeks on the floor at Chubb.   He helped me think through a comprehensive approach and provided some tools to use.

There are many things to do on the first 100 days but I found a few simple steps most helpful.   I was able to determine quickly who would help me and where there would be some challenges.   I modified the worksheet that Mark provided to me for my own use.  I simply started at the top and worked my way down.

 100-day checklist


Up: _____________

Across: _________

Down: __________


Personal set up:_______________

Meet live:   ____________________

Phone calls: ___________________


Info/Documents: _____________________

Day One:  ______________________________

First Week(s): __________________________


Strategic Capacity

Mission / Vision / Scope and Organizational| Business objectives

Tactical Capacity

Building Blocks:



BURNING IMPERATIVE in place (by day 30): _____________

MILESTONES set (by day 45): _____________________________

Team ROLES assessed & aligned (by day 70): _____________

Team CULTURE/Communication steps: ___________________


I wrote up an interview template and set up introductory meetings that were designed for 15-20 minutes.

My biggest advocate and supporter was the Global CIO.  I sought advice as I ran into challenges and started developing a map related to the questions of the first 100 days.


There were many opportunities created through this activity.   Building relationships and listening were key factors.

The first 100 days helped me understand where I fit in the organization and the challenges I faced.   This activity helped me determine where I needed to start and it was a driver for me to make the phone calls and sit with people all across the company.   Most of the best information and guidance came from the Executive Assistants.

If you have questions, or want to see more of the tools I used and examples of products I produced, please let me know.

100-DAYS-WHITE-PAPER (Here is another useful guide from intelligent

Why Every Leader Should Build a RetroPi


It is estimated that the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019.   The level of interaction with technology creates an illusion of understanding.   Expert users are not expert technologists.

Many senior leaders don’t claim to be expert technologists but when it comes to technology decisions it has become much easier to have an informed opinion on technology whether for design or desired outcome.   This has put a great strain on IT because technology while magical is not magic.   It takes hard work,  a great deal of thought and planning.   Even if agile methodologies are applied,  requirements matter.

In this world of 140 characters or less,  it is safe to say that some folks reading this blog if uninterested would have disengaged about eight sentences ago.    The expectation today is that everything will happen quickly and it will be exactly what was expected or we disengage and find something else.   This is one of many reasons that IT is suffering in large companies today.  CIO’s are fighting subscription or licensed services for solution delivery.   It is true that cloud services and licensed subscription models have great benefit but acquisition of these services still require strategic thinking.

A simple exercise in building a small and usable gaming system will demonstrate end to end implementation of easy to acquire technology and show how important strategic planning and understanding of technology is relative to projects small, medium or large.

Many leaders in industry are walking away from IT and looking to make IT decisions on their own.   They can use their own budget and solve their own problem without IT.  In some instances where risk is low, they can do this with very little impact.  In most cases, they find a need to bring IT in at either the end of the purchase or when they need to actually implement.  This creates contention and can impact their ability to get the software or services they wanted in the first place.   The underlying question is “Why can’t I do here what I do at home”?   Anyone feel free to comment on this .. but the various reasons should be addressed in another blog at some point.   

If industry  / business leaders want to make decisions in technology, they should become familiar with what it takes to compose and implement solutions.  I am not saying they should become IT experts but my contention is leaders should know their desired outcome relative to the environment they are in.    An info-graphic on AI can drive me to put Alexa in my home but this is very different from me deploying Alexa in my company.   As a leader, I need to understand the differences to make an informed and economically sound and viable decision.

Making it Real

The Raspberry Pi is a small computer that you can purchase for as low as $10.00.

The Raspberry Pi has free open source operating systems that you can download for many uses.   One of the operating systems available has software called RetroPi.  With RetroPi you can build a system that plays thousands of games from many of the older popular gaming systems.

You can get as fancy as you like depending on your desired result.


or you can keep it simple


Either way,  it is learning experience that incorporates some very basic skills using technology to accomplish a relatively simple goal.

Leadership that seeks to use technologies to enable and grow their business should have a tacit understanding of this kind of project.

Some factors to consider here are

  1. Instructions are readily available both written and video (Build a Pi)
  2. The operating system is no cost and easy to install
  3. The software is pre-configured and highly intuitive
  4. The estimated time to completion is 10 minutes (That’s fast)

Results May Vary

Here we have a simple project that should take 10 minutes to employ.  It will result in countless hours of fun and entertainment for the family and for those who enjoy retro games, it will save hundreds of dollars in purchasing a retro console.  It meets most of the criteria asked from technology companies and IT today.  It has the makings of a perfect simple technology implementation.

Side note, below is my machine that I built..