How the right thinking can inspire CIO ‘light bulb moments’

Our brains are our most valuable assets, so figuring out how to optimise them is paramount to achieving financial, career and relationship success. In essence, we want to generate strong 'light bulb moments,' which are novel solutions and insights.

It does not matter whether you are a Silicon Valley founder, an IT executive, the President of the United States or the Premier of China – we all have similar brains.

However, the vast difference between all of us lies in our ability to use them correctly. Some people are outstanding mental athletes because they plan 'think time,' cultivating and growing ideas by setting up the right circumstances for this to happen.

Hard science has proven that the single most important factor in achieving and maintaining success is the way we use our brains; the chemistry that we cook up in our heads and consume each day.

Avoiding Lack of Insight (LOI) Syndrome and 'weak lightbulb moments'

Our brains can produce ideas that are truly unique and innovative – valuable commodities in a world that runs on innovation and change. What if you added up the cost of missed/forgone economic opportunities because you have not been using your brain optimally? What would be the cost consequences in your life? Perhaps you are suffering from Lack of Insight (LOI) Syndrome – or weak light bulb moments.

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What if you could produce an atmosphere conducive to generating strong light bulb moments on a regular basis? In order to achieve this, consider devoting time to the following: Curiosity, Learning, Strategy, Execution and Worry.

Curiosity time

Chief Information Officers and other technology executives have to do a lot of strategic thinking. This is a special kind of thinking to solve a problem or capitalise on an opportunity. Curiosity is asking key and relevant questions without making any underlying assumptions or limits.

Sometimes the questions are basic and fundamental, yet very powerful. For example, 'What business are we really in?' Or 'Who is our customer and what do they want from us?' The answers could uncover who we want our customers to be in the future. Try asking these kinds of questions periodically, to both your team and yourself, and look at the quantitative and qualitative company data.

Curiosity is also trying to see if there is a connection or insight that can be gained between patterns or trends that appear unrelated. The most powerful question you can ask yourself is, 'What do I believe to be true that isn’t?' When you think you really know something, poke at your thinking with this acid test: 'How do I know this is true?'

Learning time

All leaders need to keep on top of developments in their industry, but avoid practicing 'learning time' during regular working hours because your mind may not be in the right mode to maximise learning and create a strong light bulb moment.

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It can be very tempting to drop everything and dive right in to new ideas, especially when you come across an interesting article or resource during the course of the day. Resist that temptation by quickly taking a note and returning to it later. Set aside some time in the evenings and on weekends to read publications relevant to your industry.

The most careful planning and preparation is required for curiosity, learning and strategy time. Plan this time and treat it with the reverence that it deserves, scheduling it when you have no immediate deadline and nothing else urgent to think about. Do it at a time and place where you will not be disturbed for at least a few hours.

The first step in creating strong light bulb moments for any CIO is to understand and discover how your brain works, and create a practice and atmosphere for maximising its potential.

It is important that we each learn how to cultivate a practice of curiosity, learning, strategy, execution, and worry time that will work for us. Today, we only talked about the importance of curiosity and learning time. They are critical components to understand before moving on to strategy time.

Sourced from Ron Avignone, founder, Giva

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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