CIO 100 Leaders Accelerate Their Minds and Digitally Disrupt

CIO 100 Leaders think differently.  Allow me to share how ‘cutting the cord’ to TV enabled me to lead better, think more clearly and opened my mind up to new possibilities for the organizations I lead.


The number of cord cutters in the U.S. increased from 4.2% in 2010, to 8.2% in 2014. This has nothing to do with cost savings. It has everything to do with building value.


Go Beyond Possible

In 2009, I wanted a change.  I was tired of the wasted time with TV and sought an approach to free my mind.  What if everything I fed my mind, I controlled building on positive thinking.  I had just done this with my body. I had been training hard for a ½ Ironman triathlon. As a result of wanting to become more educated on how my body performs, I started seeing a professional triathlon coach.  He was a 25 time marathoner and 4 time Kona finisher.  He knew how to race and he knew how to win.  But I started to ask myself questions.  What if I wasn’t dependent on him? What if I knew kinesiology and exactly how my physiological, mechanical and psychological mechanisms worked together?


To become a nationally certified personal trainer, I took off 6 weeks.  I trained under two professional body builders during that time who started their own gym.  Great guys and sharp too. I passed a comprehensive course that was a series of exams, cumulating with a physical “hands on” exam to conduct an actual training session. This framework helped me understand nutrition, calorie consumption and changed my understanding of personal training and broke the boundary of what was possible.  I wanted more.


Create Positive Energy

After this program, I started racing in triathlons more and more often. Finally, I decided I wanted to know more about the art of triathlon training.  I didn’t want to hear from someone else, I wanted 1st hand knowledge of what it took to perform at the top levels.  Over the next 3 months I became a Certified USA Triathlon Coach (USAT), at the time one of only 1,500 in the world. Why is this important? This additional knowledge enabled me to think differently to perform differently for outstanding results. What I found was that physical inputs mattered, but the power of your mind, was almost as important and how your physical body performed.  The alignment of physical and mental performance was the ultimate combination and something that every top athlete found. 


I cut the cord in 2009. I decided that I could apply the same approach I took with my body, to my mind.  What if I flooded my mind with information? What if all the negative thoughts injected into your mind from watching TV, were removed. They were simply erased, over time.  I cancelled cable.  Gave away my TV.  I was ready to start again. I removed the limits my imagination created and formed a new world where anything was possible. Each failure is excellent and welcomed as it brings you one step closer to success.  Encourage your teams to create and fail and create again. For it is within this environment, where 10x value is created and CIO 100 leaders emerge.


Enable Change

You hear a lot about the “conditions of change” or the “environments for change.” When you create that environment for your teams, you get unparalleled performance. There is no competition. Your team has no boundaries. There is no limit to the value you can create.


As you think about the first 6 months of this year and where the next 6 will take you, your team and your organization ask yourself, “what if I was surrounded by positive energy week over week.”  This my friends, is how exceptional customers experiences are created. This is how we envisioned and launched the digital mobile application for Access Health CT.


CIO100 Leaders think differently.  It’s an honor to be named to the CIOonline’s CIO100 List of transformative IT projects:


Thank you to everyone that made the 2015 CIO100 possible.  You all know who you are, and you’re amazing. It was a privilege to digitize healthcare and transform the consumer experience and learn from you all. 



Peter Nichol

Below highlights our amazing innovation story, transforming business through digitization.


Building on the already successful Connecticut online health insurance exchange, Access Health CT (ahCT) took the next step to build the only mobile platform available nationally that consumers can use for enrolling in health coverage, obtaining government benefits, accessing their account information and submitting their verification documents. It uses a scalable, software-as-a-service platform to keep costs and risks low. The ahCT Mobile apps are fully integrated with the ahCT Web portal for real-time synchronization and an improved consumer experience. The Android and iOS mobile apps are built for speed, reducing the average health insurance and benefits application time from traditional Web channels by more than half to 10 to 15 minutes. Once enrolled, consumers can use the mobile app to check their messages, receive notices and submit verification documents using the camera on their mobile devices. Other states are inquiring about using the mobile platform for their health insurance exchanges.

PROJECT TYPE: Cloud Computing Services or Software as a Service (SaaS), Mobile or Wireless, Security Technologies

BUSINESS GOAL: Customer Impact

CIO: Peter Nichol, Head of IT


Read the full story of the digitization and launch of the Connecticut Mobile application: Part 1 and Part 2.




Sicinski, A. (2015). How to Develop the Habit of Thinking Big mind map. Retrieved August 10, 2015, from


Previous articleCIO 100 Leaders Predict 5 Cloud Trends
Next articleReaching Happiness: The Power of Silence to Open Innovation
Peter is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.