March 31, 2011, 5:54 PM — I have been involved in deep research on Angry Birds, having become one of the top 300 players on the iPad HD Free version, out of a community of over 1 million players. That may be sad, but then again, it is deep research. Every time I fling a bird I think about a CIO (no, I don't mean it that way). Here are the preliminary results of my research: Ten lessons from Angry Birds that will make you a better CIO.
1. You have to play to figure out the rules
The only way one learns how to defeat a level in Angry Birds is to play. The same is true of technology. I still hear CIOs shutting down social media or giving out multiple phones because current technology doesn't fit the corporate architecture or poses too many risks to intellectual property or customer information. CIOs need to keep in mind that if they don't engage with emerging technology and allow people to use it in the context of actual work, no one will learn its limitations, its risks or the opportunities it presents.
2. People succeed best when their unique talents are recognized
Every bird in Angry Birds possess a unique set of talents. Fat black-and-white ones drop eggs and ricochet off walls; triangular yellow ones cut through things while tiny blue ones explode into a trifecta of glass shattering shimmers. The CIO also needs to be the CTM, or Chief Talent Manager, by helping people find the right balance between passion and organizational need. This recognition of uniqueness is an important component in developing good relationships with Gen X and Millennial talent. CIOs also need to understand, and anticipate, future competencies so they can build a talent portfolio ready to meet any challenge.
3. You can't recover from a really bad start
Cut your losses, restart and try again. Experienced Angry Birds players can tell from the micro-second the first bird leaves the launcher if they are on the road to a higher score or a waste of time. If they detect the later, they usually cut their losses and restart the game. CIOs share this intuition about what is and isn't working, but they still let people fumble through projects that elicit no passion, try to deploy technology in the wrong place at the wrong time, still let technology try to overcome cultural momentum. CIOs need to be courageous and cut their loses sooner than later when intuition tells them they don't have the right team or approach in placethen reconsider the tactics and strategies and start again.
[An Angry Birds Birthday Cake You Can Play With? Yes. See how this dad made a very cool gift. ]
4. Different problems require different specialists