Northwestern MSIT Program Board Chair Named CIO Innovator of the Year

Kevin Glynn, CIO at DSC Logistics and Chair of the Industry Advisory Board for Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, shares his thoughts on innovation.

Kevin Glynn is Chief Information Officer (CIO) for DSC Logistics and Chair of the Industry Advisory Board for Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program. Earlier this month, Glynn was named CIO Innovator of the Year by the Society of Information Management (SIM) Chicago, The Executives’ Club of Chicago and the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) Chicago.

DSC Logistics achieves the business goals of Fortune 500 and other leading companies by designing, integrating, managing and adapting customized supply chain solutions.

In his role as CIO, Glynn is responsible for all information technology (IT), including operations, new system developments, and telecommunications. He leads the IT team in leveraging information technology to enable optimization across the enterprise and deliver innovative solutions to DSC Logistics customers. Glynn is also charged with bringing new technology such as drones and autonomous vehicles into the enterprise.

Earlier this year, Glynn wrote on this MSIT blog about game-changing technology. Now, in honor of his latest award, Glynn shared his thoughts on what innovation means and how he brings innovation to DSC Logistics.

First off, what does this CIO Innovator of the Year award mean to you?

It is a great honor and I appreciated being nominated. I didn't think I'd win because the other nominees are all strong CIOs. The award is a team award. It reflects on our whole team for embracing new ideas and then executing on them.  

DSC Logistics is a very collaborative company and all my accomplishments are shared with many people, not just in IT, but throughout DSC, as well as our key vendors and customers.  

What does innovation mean to you?

For me, innovation is the application of two different ideas to do something interesting. For example, we were worried about counting inventory quickly and wrote an application to help that process. During the app development, we were approached by a drone company to see about flying drones inside a warehouse to count labels. The process wouldn't have worked if we didn't already have the app in development. Note that while we proved the drone idea would work, we determined the ROI was only mildly positive so we have not pursued the project into production.

How would you describe how DSC Logistics approaches innovation?

We always start with a problem that will help the customer. That's where interesting things happen. Customers always like new ideas and are key in helping us shape them.

How do you like to explain what your role is as CIO?

That's a bit hard. My best response is to help the teams stay focused and also get them the resources we need to be successful. It's much less about a 'vision' like some people describe.  The priorities for the work come from the customers, our colleagues in the company and ourselves, not from a single individual. And solutions are always team generated. The best solutions come when the team works together to solve problems.  

What do you pride yourself most on when it comes to your role as CIO?

The team we have. We have a small but talented team. I'm honored to be part of it.  

In what ways do you interact with the Northwestern Engineering MSIT community and specifically, MSIT students?

I have one MSIT graduate on our staff, and she and I occasionally discuss news from the program. Each cohort always has a few students that connect with me and we stay in touch in various ways. I also speak to the MSIT Industry Advisory Board members relatively consistently throughout the year, as well as with Program Director Randy Berry and Associate Director Abi Shay.  

As Chair of the MSIT Industry Advisory Board, what do you view as your most important responsibilities?

Our job is to advise Randy and Abi about what we see in the market. We are also resources for the program — over half of the Board work as adjuncts or speakers for the Capstone course. My job is simply to help that, although Abi does a ton of the organization work.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

It's been more than a week since the award and the congratulations flowing in are astonishing. People are happy for the success of others. I've also been really focused on staying humble. The afterglow of the award was nice, but I really don't want it to be about me. I wish I could list my whole team as the winners of the award to thank them.