Chief Information Officer
David Threlfall – CIO Interview Series
Can you please provide a little introduction about yourself
I am currently CIO of a UK Unicorn Battery Manufacturer startup Britishvolt, responsible for designing and building the complete IT Architecture and Team supporting and enabling Phase one battery production in 2024 out of the proposed UK’s first Giga-Factory, currently under construction in Cambois, Northumberland
What has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?
I started in IT over 35 years ago as an amateur Software developer with an interest in Electronics. I held a number of Computer engineering roles until making the move into IT Management in the mid 90’s. Even from those early days I was more fascinated in what value the technology could bring to a business than the technology itself so my journey and mission to promote ‘Technology enabled Business Change’ began.
Has it always been your vision to reach the position you’re at? Was your current role part of your vision to become a tech leader?
I have never been driven to achieve a particular role or seniority, my main ambition has, and still is, to be able to influence the overall business strategy and ultimate success.
Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?
I have drawn on influences from many sources, especially those who can influence change in difficult circumstances – and mainly not within an IT environment!
How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?
I see lines blurring between IT and Operational leadership as businesses move rapidly into a digitally enabled, robotic and automated world
What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?
People and Communication skills – It is so important to ‘speak the language of the business’ and be able to communicate technological value in an no-technical manner.
How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development?
I rely on trusted business partners and my network to learn about trends in all these areas
What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact your business or industry in particular?
Immersive and Voice technology is beginning to make in roads and I believe these technologies alone will transform how humans interact with equipment, data, customers and Supply chains, especially in my field of Manufacturing
If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?
Be the genuine you; Focus on how to solve business issues and provide real value; learn what motivates the board of every organization – Revenue; Cost; Risk – focus messaging in these areas.
Is there anything in particular that you would still like to achieve in your career or what is the next step on your journey?
My main goals are to drive inclusivity and diversity in IT and to help Britishvolt manufacture the highest performing and lowest possible carbon overhead batteries that will change the world!
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Level up healthcare and eliminate prejudice of all kind.
A big thank you to David Threlfall from Britishvolt for sharing his journey to date.
If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.
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