A Conversation on Innovation with CIO Rusty Kennington

Note: This post is in response to the CIO Magazine article: “ The pandemic pivot: IT leaders innovate on the fly,” by Clint Boulton.

As the pandemic impacts businesses across the globe with evolving customer needs and expectations, many industries have been forced to innovate more quickly to survive, re-evaluating how they are able to adapt to tackle new business challenges.

In our new series, Conversations with CIOs, which features thought leadership from innovation leaders across the United States, we sat down with Rusty Kennington for his thoughts on how the pandemic has accelerated the need for IT leaders to adapt at rapid speeds.

“There’s no question that everyone has been forced to adjust – the pandemic pivot – in these last several months. And, while I certainly agree that some had to pivot as a response to the pandemic, many IT (and other) leaders were already transforming their businesses,” said Kennington. “IT leaders are taking  “what’s possible” to the next level, using knowledge of technology paired with their business partners to bring innovative, new options to the table.  It is how IT takes a strategic role in business.” 

Kennington is the Chief Information Officer at Henry Company, a leading innovator of building Envelope Systems that develops integrated air/vapor barrier, roofing and waterproofing systems to ensure superior building performance.  Over the last 25 years, Kennington has worked to create tangible, financial benefits for companies by pushing the envelope to leverage IT in ways previously unimagined or unsuccessful.  

“I spent the last three years with a leadership team that understood the value of leveraging technology to change every aspect of how we went to market and who our customer was. We were able to move quickly because the entire leadership team was aligned so when the pandemic hit, we were immediately able to leverage our technology to shift our business to meet a changed demand model.”

And while some businesses may not have been in a similar position pre-pandemic, Kennington shared his thoughts on what he’s discovered as a silver lining, and perhaps an opportunity for how other companies can adapt to find success.

“One of the most refreshing aspects of this pandemic pivot is the demonstration of the amazing things that are possible when everyone is aligned with a shared vision and sense of urgency,” said Kennington. “There’s no tolerance for the things that typically drive ineffectiveness into an organization; fear of making an imperfect decision, indecision in the face of ambiguity, actions not made for the greater good of the company, and just acceptance of mediocre performance.”

“Part of our job as CIO is to share what’s possible and the further upstream we do that, the quicker and larger the potential advantage we can attain in the market,” said Kennington.

Our job here at SMC Squared is to partner with CIOs to meet the demands of the current market by providing the technology resources that our client-partners need to transform –  through the pandemic and beyond. Learn More about how we help harness data and digital trends, and a host of new and proven development platforms to deliver quality and productivity that exceed US standards by clicking here.

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