Fabric, Wire, and Transformation – takeaways from CIO Peer Forum keynote by Nicole Verkindt

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By: Neil Muir

Under the overarching theme of ‘What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There’, the 2018  CIO Peer Forum in Vancouver kicked off with a keynote by Nicole Verkindt. Nicole is a dynamic speaker, the founder of OMX (Offset Market Exchange) and the newest Dragon on CBC’s Next Gen Den. Engaging, yet down to earth with a very approachable style, she spoke on the requirement for persistence and tenacity in successful disruptive and transformative start-ups.

Nicole shared some of her own journey, including bicycling to Bay Street and changing in the washroom prior to funding presentations to ‘the Bay Street Boys’, and being turned down time and time again. Humble beginnings, yet with determination and commitment she ultimately succeeded. It was a compelling tale of dealing with failure and the need to stay true to a vision.

Technical Disruption and Transformation is typically benchmarked against the familiar examples – Uber, Netflix, Airbnb, and others. Nicole framed the attributes necessary for innovation and transformation against a significant and unique example – but one from the past. No one can dispute the significant transformation that manned flight has had on all aspects of our society. Nicole reminded us of the transformation created by Wilbur and Orville Wright over 100 years ago with their fabric and wire airplane. Their ground-breaking success did not occur in a moment of inspired genius, but rather after a decade of systematic progress. From their first kites of 1899, to their powered flight in 1903, through the skepticism of the following years until their vindication and success in 1908, they were consistent to their vision and dedicated in their cause. Working past and learning from their failures and collaborating extensively they ultimately succeeded. All attributes and traits that are critical to today’s digital entrepreneurs.

Nicole’s engaging story and presentation reminded us all that disruption does not happen without a lot of work, often a lot of failures, collaboration, and determination.  So have your vision, be prepared for hard work and failures, and collaborate with others!


Authored by:
Neil Muir. MBA, CMC, PMP. 25 year technology leader for international private sector businesses, passionate about delivering positive change through technology. Boats, skis, and hang-glides as the weather allows.

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