CIO Briefing


Video: How to Not Embarrass Yourself in Front of the Robot at Work

By Caitlin Fairchild // September 30, 2015

charles taylor/

As more federal employees choose to telework, offices will need new methods of communication between workers in and outside the office. Enter the telepresence robot, created by companies such as Double Robotics. What looks like an iPad connected to a Segway could become the ultimate window into the workplace for employees working remotely. 

But a robot in the workplace limited by the strength of the office Wi-Fi signal and a lack of peripheral vision can bring up workplace etiquette quandaries most employees haven't dealt with before. 

One employee at Wired magazine spent several months using a robot double to connect her to the office. To see what she learned, check out the video below from Wired

(Image via charles taylor/

Study: High Salaries Not the Biggest Draw for Female Cyber Pros

By Hallie Golden // September 28, 2015

Andy Dean Photography/

Good news, agencies: You may not need to break your bank to lure cybersecurity pros away from Silicon Valley. Or at least, not when recruiting women.

When female information security professionals were asked what incentive they value in a job, the top response was flexible work schedules, according to a new white paper released Monday by the growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan.

While almost 80 percent of female respondents said flexible work schedules are “very important,” less than 60 percent of them said this about improved compensation packages. In contrast, male respondents were found to be much more focused on monetary incentives. 

At a time when agencies are facing increasingly stiff competition to recruit top-tier tech talent, failure to keep pace with the private sector’s pay scale is often referenced as one of the federal government’s biggest obstacles.

The study did not break down female responses according to whether they work in the public or private sector. The data comes from research in the (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Studies. The most recent study polled almost 14,000 information security professionals, 20 percent of whom said they work in government.

Not only did the report’s female respondents...

Google or Facebook: What's the Better Workplace?

By Quora // Quartz // September 28, 2015

Mark Lennihan/AP

Google is like grad-school. People value working on hard problems and doing them right. Things are pretty polished, the code is usually solid, and the systems are designed for scale from the very beginning. There are many experts around and review processes set up for systems designs.

Facebook is more like undergrad. Something needs to be done, and people do it. Most of the time they don’t read the literature on the subject or consult experts about the “right way” to do it, they just sit down, write the code, and make things work. Sometimes the way they do it is naive, and a lot of time it may cause bugs or break as it goes into production. And when that happens, they fix their problems, replace bottlenecks with scalable components, and (in most cases) move on to the next thing.

Google tends to value technology. Things are often done because they are technically hard or impressive. On most projects, the engineers make the calls.

Facebook values products and user experience, and designers tend to have a much larger impact. Zuckerberg spends a lot of time looking at product mocks, and is involved pretty deeply with the site’s...

Video: New Version of Microsoft Word Allows You to Skype with Collaborators

By Caitlin Fairchild // September 22, 2015

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at an event demonstrating the new features of Windows 10.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at an event demonstrating the new features of Windows 10. // Elaine Thompson/AP File Photo

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are essential programs for almost any workplace, and now they're getting an upgrade. 

Microsoft is adding a social element to Office 2016, allowing for increased collaboration. This goes way beyond "track changes." 

Now, similar to Google Docs, users see when someone else is editing a shared document, spreadsheet or presentation, and multiple people can edit at the same time. 

To further aid in collaboration, Microsoft Office has built-in Skype. A simple click lets you instant message or video chat with members of your team who are in another office or teleworking. 

Microsoft has also added "Smart Look Up," a feature that lets users run a quick search through Bing (sorry Google users) within the program. The search results will be narrowed down based on the context of what you're working on. 

To see all of these features and more in action, check out the video below from CNET

How Companies Are Using LEGOs to Unlock Talent Employees Didn’t Know They Had

By Jenn Choi // Quartz // September 17, 2015

Thomas Borberg/AP

This summer, Cambridge University announced a search for a “LEGO Professor of Play, Education, and Learning.” With the support of £4 million ($6.1 million) from the LEGO Foundation, the new professor would lead an entire research department dedicated to examining play.

This is an endeavor that Robert Rasmussen knows all about.

In the late ‘90s, he was asked by then-LEGO Group CEO, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, to explore how LEGO bricks could help a company improve its strategic planning, communication, and creative thinking. Rasmussen, a former math teacher and school principal, was already part of the LEGO family, leading product development for LEGO’s education division, which focused solely on children. What started as a project to be completed in his spare time became a defining career shift for Rasmussen, who is known as the architect of the LEGO Serious Play (LSP) methodology.

“It’s an engine. It’s like a language. It’s a technique without content,” Rasmussen told Quartz, who likens the method to an operating system. “It is the facilitator who asks a question, then the participants build the answer to that question using LEGO bricks, using them metaphorically to add meaning,” he said.

Sessions can start...