Keynote - Blaine Maxfield (2012 LDSTech Conference)
Hasten the Work, Summary of an LDSTech Conference Keynote by CIO Blaine Maxfield
Blaine Maxfield is the chief information officer for the LDS Church. As CIO, he manages the Church’s ICS department (Information and Communication Services).
In his keynote at the LDSTech Conference, Blaine focused on the challenges created by the rapid growth of the Church. For example, from 2009 to 2010, every two minutes someone was baptized; every 24 hours, a new chapel was constructed. How can we accommodate such a rapid growth in the Church without hiring a commensurate number of employees?
Blaine stressed that technology plays a role in our effort to “hasten the work,” a theme used in ICS to guide the department’s purpose. He illustrated this theme with several examples. One LDSTech project involved creating a mobile application that allows senior missionary couples working in developing countries to pinpoint the location of clean water projects and update their water status. The end result of this app is that thousands of individuals can have cleaner water. This is just one example of how technology is helping build the kingdom.
Blaine told another story to illustrate how technology is helping hasten the work. On a business trip to China, he was expected to smoke and drink as part of the business discussions. At the time he was expected to participate in these activities, he revealed that he was a Mormon and stayed back alone from the smoking and drinking discussions.
By the next morning the Chinese businessmen he was with knew quite a bit about the Church and its history. They approved of having “ten wives” but not eliminating smoking and drinking. The following morning there was a can of Sprite by the place of each participant; this indicated they accepted him and his beliefs. He inferred that it was through our new era of Internet connectivity that this example of two diverse people came to understand one another in a very short time.
The statistics about the growth of the Church are staggering, but equally astonishing are statistics about the spread of technology across the world. According to the International Telecommunications Union, 5.3 billion mobile devices were registered at end of 2010. Mobile apps and technologies can help provide a way to hasten the work.
In conclusion, Blaine gave several principles that he hoped would be guidelines for LDSTech volunteers as they worked to advance the kingdom:
- We need to stand for something as we go forward.
- Never let down the team.
- Lift where you stand.
- We need to act and not be acted upon.
Here are some sketchnotes captured by Ben Norris: