Interview at MIT with Peter Nichol: How One CIO Gets People Curious About Digital Projects

At MIT interviewing Peter Nichol by SearchCIO: The CIO role in digital projects hinges on understanding business models.


Part of what we’re doing today is educating the rest of the organization. It’s not really IT; I’m a technologist, but I consider myself a business executive first, and if we can apply technology, we will. If we can remove it, we will also remove it because it will be faster. 

There’s always a balance between academic knowledge and how you practice it as a practitioner. You have to understand your business first to be able to get any type of engagement. If you don’t understand the business, regardless of your technical background, not too many people are going to listen. But if you understand that business model and understand the key challenges, now you have an opportunity to potentially offer solutions and get people curious about potential options, and if you can do that well, now you have a stake at the table, and now maybe you can lead some digital initiatives. It’s that balance between digital capabilities and digital leadership, and you kind of get that involvement that ultimately helps transformation occur.


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SearchCIO. (2015c). CIO role in digital projects hinges on understanding business models. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from

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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.