Habits of an Effective CIO and Smart Cities for Dummies

Earl Newsome, Chief Information Officer, Americas IT at Linde, and Jonathan Reichental, Founder and CEO of Human Future, discuss what the future of smart cities might look like and what makes an effective CIO.
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Earl is Chief Information Officer of the Americas IT organization for Linde PLC. He’s led major IT transformations for Fortune 500 companies, streamlining IT operations while directing a multi-million dollar IT budget. Jonathan is Founder and CEO of Human Future. His career has spanned both the public sector, where he served as CIO for the city of Palo Alto, and the private sector where he served as CIO for O’Reilly Media.

 Earl Newsome and Jonathan Reichental are like most CIOs in that they think at scale. But, what sets them apart from the pack is their ability to think so thoughtfully about the future, plan their goals, and accomplish them. On this episode of CIO Classified Earl and Jonathan lay their plans for the smart cities of the future, discuss why culture is a key ingredient to a thriving company, and dive into what exactly an “infinity crisis mirror” is.

Key Takeaways

  • CIO’s have to be both technically savvy and socially adept. Any effective leader has to have a strong social IQ that guides their work as an orator, telling the story of IT’s impact, and as a listener, gathering feedback from their colleagues and understanding company culture. 
  • The smart cities of the future have to leverage technology to make democracy more inclusive and accessible. Town hall meetings can happen on Zoom, as opposed to being relegated to a stuffy conference room. Local representatives can be everywhere, without leaving their office. Technology has to keep constituents in touch with their representatives. 
  • Successful CIOs have to get their business passport stamped. Meaning, they need a ground-level understanding of their company’s culture, their competitors’ tactics, their sales team’s strategies, and their marketing team’s movements. This can only be accomplished through experience. 

Key Quotes

  • “You need to know how your culture operates. That’s the difference between strategy—what we do, and culture—how you do it. If you’re not an effective orator, if you’re not aligned with that culture, you won’t be an effective CIO.” – Earl Newsome
  • “Empower your people. Great leaders give their teams the room to work, and the tools they need. Then, they get out of the way. When that happens, people will do great things.” – Jonathan Reichental
  • “As we look at this new world of work, we need to be intentional about it. You know, we can choose to let it happen to us, or we can choose to design it. And so I think this is a great opportunity.” – Earl Newsome
  • “The way we work has changed forever. There’s a recognition that speed is important, that reinvention is important, and that innovation is daily. It’s not something you plan for and put on a to do list. It’s a way of working, thinking and behaving.” – Jonathan Reichental 



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