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2014 Knowledge ∞ Continuum: Management of IT

Join us for this one-day executive program designed to provide business leaders with a cutting-edge learning experience focused on the management of information technology. Participants will be introduced to the latest approaches to leadership, innovation, architecture, emerging technologies, project management, business analytics, and social media. Learning will be accomplished through case studies, research reports, exercises, interactive classroom discussions, and networking with other participants (including alumni of the McIntire School's M.S. in MIT Program). 


​Time ​Topic ​Faculty
​8:00-8:45 ​Registration & Continental Breakfast
​8:45-9:00 ​Overview & Introductions ​Nelson
​9:00-10:15 Bitcoin & the Disruptive Potential of Cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrencies have caught the attention of technologists, venture capitalists, and governments alike. Businesses have already begun accepting them as a form of payment, and there is talk of bitcoin ATMs. Cryptocurrencies are an excellent example of a potentially disruptive technology. Marc Andreessen calls bitcoin "revolutionary," Paul Krugman calls it "evil," and Robert Shiller, the 2013 Nobel Prize winner in economics, calls it "a bubble." Who is right?

Expected outcomes: Participants will have a better understanding of what crytpocurrencies are and their disruptive potential.
​10:30-11:45 Digital Innovation & Disruption
The massive changes in technology around us are helping new players disrupt many sectors, from cars to hotels to banks and government agencies; incumbents are finally responding by applying technologies as well and undergoing major internal transformations. This session will address the key technology drivers for change and the most impactful trends that enable disruption today, including the "digital-physical blur," the changing data supply chain, the power of scale, and the role of open innovation and crowdsourcing. We will discuss what digital transformation means, using multiple examples from both disruptors and incumbents. We will look at how organizations can identify and leverage specific business capabilities to achieve their goals, and how to harness startups and smaller innovators in adapting their business models and modernizing their processes.

Expected outcomes: Participants will be better positioned to identify and analyze emerging technologies, as well as recommend suggested courses of action that organizations should be taking right now to address digital opportunities and create new capabilities.
Elron and
McDonald (via Skype)
​11:45-12:45 ​Lunch
​12:45-2:00 Creative Leadership: Fostering a Mindset of Innovation
A creative leader is part alchemist, part diplomat. They are always looking for imaginative ways to influence people to achieve their vision and harness their organization's creative energy. At the heart of innovation is the introduction of something new that adds value. These new ideas might help us see a vision for the future, simplicity for a complex task, consensus to end a conflict, or new revenue in times of budget cuts. Chic Thompson will take you on an interactive journey through the steps of creative leadership that will foster a mindset of innovation and strategic curiosity.

Expected outcomes:
  1. Be curious first... critical second. When you see or hear a new idea, be "curious first" to explore the possibilities. Be "critical second" to calculate the probabilities.
  2. Find the creative constraints. It takes constraints to unlock the energy to see the impossible.
  3. Look for second "right" answers. Reframe your challenges and see them from different perspectives to generate fresh new solutions.
  4. Think in opposites. Act on opposite/paradoxical trends and turn obstacles into an opportunity.
  5. The question is the answer. Ask great questions to reveal new ideas.
    1. What do I have to be more open-minded about?
    2. What are my blind spots?
    3. What if I trusted my customer 100%, what could I offer them?
  6. Keep your brain alive. Keep your brain mentally sharp so you can come up with creative ideas anytime, anywhere, any place.
​2:15-3:30 ​Predictive Analytics for Anti-Phishing
Phishing attacks continue to exact significant losses on individuals and organizations. Given that user behavior is often the weakest link in the security chain, in this session we will discuss an ongoing project focused on predicting the dynamics of user susceptibility to phishing attacks in two different industries: commercial banks and online pharmacies.

Expected outcomes: Participants will be better positioned to understand the intricacies and nuances of user-centric security vulnerabilities, and how predictive analytics can help identify high-risk users.
​3:45-5:00 ​Project Management
The focus of this session will be discussing contemporary trends and emerging best practices in the field of IT project management--e.g., agile project management, estimation, project brand management, and black swan events.

Expected outcomes: The primary objective will be to create more effective project managers and stakeholders.


CEU Credit

Last year the program received 0.6 hours of CEU credit. We expect a similar amount this year.

​Program Fees

Program tuition: $1,000 (covers tuition, program materials, and meals).

A non-refundable deposit of $500 per participant is required by March 4, 2014. The balance of the program tuition must be paid by March 21, 2014, to guarantee a seat in the program. Space is limited; reservations/deposits are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program Faculty

Ahmed Abbasi, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Enterprise IT Management module of the M.S. in MIT Program, has taught graduate and executive education courses in electronic commerce, analytics, systems development, and data networks. His research interests focus on fraud detection, online security, and social media analytics.

Dan Elron, Managing Partner, Strategy and Corporate Development, at Accenture, is responsible for defining Accenture's strategy, industry positioning, and offerings, primarily in the technology space. Most recently, he has focused on the impact of cloud technologies on the firm's businesses. He also serves as the adviser for the information technology industries for the world economic forum and as the associate director of the Center for the Management of Information Technology at the University of Virginia. 

Stefano Grazioli, Associate Professor, Director of M.S. in MIT Program, and Coordinator of the IT Architecture module of the M.S. in MIT Program, has taught graduate and executive education courses both in Europe and in the United States since the early 1990s. His research interests focus on IT architectures, knowledge management, and information security. Stefano is a University of Virginia Teaching Award winner.

Mark P. McDonald, Managing Partner at Accenture, is the co-lead of Accenture's "Accelerating Digital," a global initiative engaging leading clients in the areas of digital strategy and transformation. He works with executive teams across multiple industries in identifying and developing digital business outcomes and strategies. Mark has led the strategy, architecture, and transformation work for a global professional services company making the transition from an internal product orientation to a customer orientation. He has also led business assessments and solution road mapping for a global logistics company, agent insurance, and industrial products companies.

Before Accenture, Mark was a Group Vice President and Fellow at Gartner, Inc. At Gartner, Mark led in the business model and transformation of Executive Programs at a business unit, growing it from $80 million to more than $300 million. He led in the redefinition of the customer experience, realigning and reskilling field sales and service organizations globally.

Mark is the author of several books related to digital technology, including The Digital Edge (2012), which looks at how companies create sustainable revenue from digital resources, and The Social Organization (2011), which addresses the challenges associated with applying social media to create mass collaboration. In 2012, the Huffington Post named Mark as one of the top 100 most influential bloggers on technology issues.

Ryan Nelson, Professor, Director of the Center for the Management of Information Technology, and Coordinator of the Project Management module of the M.S. in MIT Program, has taught in the McIntire School's graduate and executive education programs since 1990. His research focuses on improving the management of IT projects and leverages a growing database of over 150 IT project retrospectives.

Chic Thompson's passion is inspiring executives, M.B.A. students and children to be "curious first... critical second" while creative problem solving. He is a Fellow at the University of Virginia's Darden Business School and adjunct faculty at:

  • The Federal Executive Institute
  • The YPO University (Young Presidents' Organization)
  • The Brookings Institution

Chic's first book, What a Great Idea!, published by HarperCollins, was a main selection of the Executive Book Club and published in Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish.

In 2001, Harvard Business School released a case study on the speaking career of Chic titled "What a Great Idea!" In 2004, UVA Darden Business School awarded Thompson a Batten Fellowship in Entrepreneurship. His second book, "Yes, But..." is a guide to overcoming the bureaucratic language that stifles continuous innovation. He wrote this book after consulting with GE to help design its continuous improvement process called "Work-Out."

Chic received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Delaware and his Master's in Education from the University of Virginia. He then worked in new product development and marketing for:

  • W.L. Gore and Associates (Gore-Tex)
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Walt Disney

During the last 30 years, Chic has given over 3,500 presentations and has teamed up with talent ranging from Tony Robbins and Stephen Covey to Cirque du Soleil and Second City Improv. ​