Exactly one year ago, I read The Adventures of an IT Leader, a fascinating book addressing IT governance from an unconventional perspective. The book is basically a well-written novel with many IT governance themes developed in an engaging style. I did not know at the time that the main character was inspired by a well-known health care CIO (chief information officer), John D. Halamka.
I work in an environment where executives generally have very little training and awareness about IT governance. The idea of using nonconventional media, such as a novel, a theatrical performance or a short video clip to build a minimum level of awareness and cultural readiness in executives, before engaging them in complex IT governance decisions, was particularly appealing to me.
The idea was intriguing, but at the beginning, few people were willing to invest time in developing or even discussing it. Finally, I was put in touch with ISACA and invited to explain my idea in an article for the ISACA Journal.
But my journey into the fascinating world of what social science calls boundary objects had just begun. Boundary objects examine how different communities use information in different ways. I started looking for someone willing to develop with me a kind of “proof of concept” of what I think could be an interesting cross-cultural communication medium: a thriller novel about IT governance, risk and security.
I knocked on many doors (or email addresses), most of the time without success. I was almost ready to quit, when John Halamka replied to my uncommon email and we started working together. The CIO who inspired The Adventures of an IT Leader found the idea interesting, encouraged me and together we authored The Fifth Domain, which is quite a peculiar kind of experiment.
As I write this blog post, some IT players are starting to use fiction to communicate about security. A good example is 2020 by Trend Micro, Europol and the International Cybersecurity Protection Alliance (ICSPA). 2020 is a video web series about mobile and cloud technology.
I do believe the idea of boundary work and boundary objects should be developed more and more in the IT field. Times and technologies are changing fast; humans change slowly. Besides developing IT governance models and best practices, we must invest time and mental energy in developing boundary objects, enabling IT and business to cooperate effectively.
Read Giuliano Pozza’s recent JournalOnline article:
“Communicating IT Governance—Does It Matter?,” ISACA Journal, volume 2, 2014