Innovation is both an art and a science. It requires creativity, inspiration and passion -- but also tools, skills, plans and resources. Coming up with the right blend determines the difference between home runs and white elephants, to mix metaphors. Timing also is a factor. Initiatives that are seen one year as innovative or leading-edge often are considered ho-hum or are even discredited the next.
So when the Bank Systems & Technology editorial team designates particular technology executives as "the most innovative," we take it very seriously. In addition to balancing the objective and subjective criteria, ultimately what matters about innovation is, does it help the bank become a more successful competitor? The achievements of the six executives we've named as "Banking's Most Innovative CIOs 2007" are proof that IT makes the difference at successful financial institutions.
For those who run IT, enabling this success requires the proverbial delicate balance between vision and technical expertise. Having the determination and focus to drive transformation is critical for today's tech executive, but it's not enough -- especially as governance and budget/resource allocation requirements increase. As Korn/Ferry International's Craig Stephenson says in our report on page 38 about the qualifications in demand for top bank IT executives, "The concept of bringing innovation to life in the technology function can be diminished by third-party vendors, cost pressures and business requirements."
This year's honorees are managing this balancing act -- and helping their institutions succeed.
We'll also highlight the achievements of Banking's Most Innovative CIOs 2007 at Bank Systems & Technology's Executive Summit, "Banking 2.0: The New Generation of Competition" (Sept. 23-26, 2007, The Royal Palms Resort & Spa, Phoenix). You'll find details at www.banktech.com/summit2007.
While we're on the subject of professional accomplishments, congratulations to Bank Systems & Technology Senior Editor Maria Bruno-Britz, who has received a Gold Award for News Analysis in the ASBPE (American Society of Business Publication Editors) Northeast Region 29th Annual Awards of Excellence competition. Maria was recognized for her June 2006 article, "Bank Americard Resurrection: Just Posturing or Real Business?"