Foster an open thinking environment to bring out innovative solutions.
Martin Rose started his working career at IBM. He started his IT management career at the Affinion group. He also acquired his Bachelors in Computer Science and his Masters in Business Administration during his years with IBM and the Affinion Group.
Martin started his public sector experience with the Connecticut State Department of Information Technology where his team built a Platform As A Service and Software As A Service hosting model. His first CIO position was with the State’s Department of Transportation where he modernized the department’s contractor portal. He moved to the Department of Education to help with new education initiatives which involved statewide educational technology innovation.
Martin moved to local government as he became the CIO for Pinellas County, Florida where his team won many awards for technology excellence including the ESRI Enterprise Award. He went back to the private sector as the CIO for The Seminole Tribe of Florida which owns Hard Rock International.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I have been in a leadership role all my life. My personality, directness, hard work ethic, trustworthiness and coaching ability have helped me in my career. I took on leadership roles within IBM but they were more project based. My first IT Management role was very successful and I built a style of leadership from that first role.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My days are filled with many new challenges. Usually I start with daily operations updates and then move into project management schedules. Typically, the day starts off as proactive but usually something always happens during the day which can switch my team and myself into a reactive mode. My days are often very productive, as a CIO I am responsible for many other diverse supporting areas outside IT including human resources and vendor management.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am a lifelong learner and very passionate about technology. I’ve always embraced new technology and have been very focused on the future. I’m always thinking about what is beyond the next curve not the one in front of me. I try to bring ideas to life through open thinking and striving to create a culture of open thinking in my staff. No solution is out of bounds, I want my staff always thinking innovation.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The one trend in technology that excites me the most is automated vehicles. Automated vehicles run on technology innovation created over a lifetime. From sensors to GPS to cameras, the idea of a vehicle which can drive itself is a game changer for the way we live. However, technology is not foolproof and there are bugs in the early days but every advancement in innovation has experienced the same hurdles.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I never leave the office with an unread email. I will often times address the issue after hours if it’s urgent or address it the next day. As a product of the electronic age, I keep all my critical information and communications in electronic form. I like having fast access to the information I need.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The one advice I would give my younger self is it is alright to make mistakes as long as you grow from them. None of us are perfect, we all have made mistakes. You will never achieve your full potential if you are afraid of making a mistake. Also, never compromise yourself. You have to live with every decision you make so don’t change who you are when making those decisions.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Information Technology and Digital Transformation is the heart of most organizations and the CIO should be at the table alongside the C-Level Executives mapping out digital strategy. In progressive and high technology companies, this is probably the case but most of the time IT is lumped into shared services as an operational mission. Companies need to transform digitally, this cannot be realized if IT is not part of the discussion.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am constantly making sure that the work being done is in alignment with the business needs and goals. IT is not a standalone business in most organizations; they provide services to the business. I sometimes see staff working on unapproved requests that are not essential to the business needs or mission. Business alignment has to be first.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The one thing I do over and over, business alignment. Business alignment must drive IT strategy, one does not exist without the other. That is even more pronounced now that more companies are experiencing Digital Transformation.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Taking on too much work can be hard for an organization with finite resources. You have to be able to know the limitations of the resources you have and communicate those limitations. I overcome this now by being more cautious with my capacity estimations.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Bringing in free food for the staff is always a small welcomed thank you which everyone can enjoy.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I like to keep moving and work out often, I recently bought a heating pad which I use every night to help my body recover.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Email software is the biggest single software system that myself and others use frequently. I am surprised how overlooked Email is these days with so many other software or communications systems. In a way, Email has become like the phone, a given communication tool. I use Email almost like an enhanced communication and file system.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Who moved the Cheese?”. It is an easy read and perfect for an ever changing industry like Information Technology.
What is your favorite quote?
“Think what you can do if you were not afraid”
• IT Leaders need to strive to always improve business outcomes
• A CIO must be diverse and well rounded to oversee all aspects of Information Technology and Business needs
• Foster an open thinking environment to bring out innovative solutions
• Communications either verbally or electronically keep everyone informed and working toward a common goal
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.