Over the last 25 years, Samantha Liscio has worked within the public and private sector in Ontario and Canada. Within both sectors, Liscio has seen big challenges emerge relating to changing customer expectations.
“The last 25 years in technology have been amazing. All the changes that are happening due to digital transformation, creating a ubiquity of technology and being able to do everything online. When I joined the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) three years ago they were in the process of transforming services to better serve people at the times when they're most vulnerable.”
Currently Liscio is the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at WSIB and has witnessed the same challenges facing both the public and private sectors. “It's all about managing customer expectations, providing digital services in a way that customers can consume anytime they want, anywhere they want, with any device they want. So being able to speak in business language, in terms of making complex technology concepts accessible and easily understood, I think has been key to defining my approach to the CIO/CTO role, being able to describe not only the ‘what’ but the ‘why’ it matters for customer and business value. And I think those are the key things that any CIO can bring to the table to be heard by the business.”
When it comes to being an effective leader, Liscio believes that “a good leader needs to show empathy and understand that change and transformation doesn’t come without consequences. I believe an innovation mindset is important, thinking about what is possible, both from a technology and a customer implementation perspective, and then finally adaptability and resilience, to be consistent and able to sustain through transformation. Especially at this challenging time, with almost everyone sent home within the space of a few weeks across the globe. Many industries weren't prepared to work from home, many people were being furloughed and not able to work. So having empathy that everyone's dealing with difficult change circumstances I think is critical.”
Reflecting on the workplace culture at WSIB, Liscio explains that, particularly within IT, “we have very specific shared values and we went through a lengthy exercise to make sure that everybody in the organisation understood those and brought into them, by establishing opportunities for staff to co-create those shared values with management and to sign up to them. They are simple values, but they are about doing the right thing and seeking the right outcome to meet customer needs. They are also about drawing on each other's strengths, seeking to solve problems and tear down barriers, instead of working in silos. We have published these core values for the IT organisation within WSIB and have begun to hold ourselves accountable to those as part of our performance commitments, and it's been interesting to watch the changes in behavior as a result of that.”