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For Better Collaboration Try Breaking The Rules

I recently read an article Why Getting It Wrong Is the Future of Design. It speaks to how innovative design changes often come from doing things that would be considered completely wrong. The article focuses on art, graphics, architecture, theater, movies, tableware, and even video games. Then I read this line “I was following the rules, then selectively breaking one or two for maximum impact.” and it got me thinking. What are the rules to collaboration and can we break a couple that result in better collaboration?

I’ve always been one for experimentation in trying different things, using various products, and embracing change. After reading this article I’ve been trying to selectively break a few rules and thinking about other rules to break. It hasn’t been easy, because there are many hard and fast best practices on how to collaborate. Here’s some of what I have come up with:

  • Forego physical meeting rooms: If the entire team is physically located in the same area could they be just as, or even more effective meeting virtually? There are a lot of remote workers and many teams at Cisco are geographically dispersed so virtual meetings are a must, but if a team is located in the same building many members will still attend virtually.  I can see benefit to this approach. People who couldn’t attend would simply review the meeting recording at their convenience and not rely on meeting minutes. The team could also move away from fragmented means of communications to using virtual meeting rooms (Cisco Spark) for correspondence. Since most projects involve shared input into documents, room based document control is a great way to provide visibility to changes without relying on a single person to collate individual updates and rely on e-mail to share updates. Perhaps the biggest benefit would be consistency in attending the meetings in the same way, but also being able to always have a place for ad hoc meetings and tasks while providing visibility to everybody.

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Don’t You (Forget about Employee Engagement)

Tonight I’m heading out for a huge slice of nostalgia. I’m going to see 1980s pop group Simple Minds. No doubt there’ll be much reminiscing and swaying of hands to classics like “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

This year Cisco has been celebrating its 30th birthday. Another recent addition to the 30-something list is the movie “The Breakfast Club.” This John Hughes classic became an icon of the time and helped make Simple Minds and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” world famous.

As a remote worker, I understand it could be easy to feel “forgotten” and become disillusioned with a lack of information and sporadic contact with your managers, peers, and co-workers. How do you, for example: Read More »

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The Importance of Taking an Integrated Architectural Approach to Your Collaboration Deployment

Collaboration is all about enabling diverse and distributed team members, both inside and outside your organization to effectively communicate, share information, and work toward a common goal. The benefits of collaboration show up as:

  • Productivity gains
  • Better and faster decision making
  • Improved communication and teamwork
  • The ability for remote and virtual team members to take part meaningfully

Before investing in new collaboration technology, it pays to take a moment and define your goals: What do you want collaboration to deliver, and to whom?

I’m not talking about departmental or point-to-point focused  goals that will address only an immediate need (like deploying video endpoints to several offices to enable better team interaction for a particular group, say an engineering team). I am talking about looking beyond that.

What benefits do want your organization as a whole to derive from collaboration? Read More »

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How and Where Will You Work in the Future?

My previous blog post considered enterprise agility and our individual responsibility to take some level of ownership by being more present and connected. This week at UC Expo in London I met many industry colleagues, and it sparked off some interesting conversations.

Two themes emerged that made me think about what work might look like in ten years time:

1) Balancing artisan creativity with the art of making money

We agreed that the mass-market appeal and adoption of some technologies and devices have lead to quite bland output by some teams. We have, to some degree, lost the ability to be creative at scale. The pressure of time and money and the corporate iteration process often distil the essence of something beautiful down into something quite vanilla – generic tools often force us down the road to blandness.

Thankfully, some emerging approaches and technology are starting to Read More »

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“Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza” Customer Experience and Cisco Context Service

Due to a middle school crush, I became a fan of Elton John during the most prolific point in his career, releasing a series of records I still enjoy today.

Always looking to impress, I’d listen to the albums again and again looking to memorize the lyrics if the chance for a sing-along ever presented itself.  If a verse was hard to understand, I’d take my best shot, which occasionally produced comic results.

Little did I realize there’s a cottage industry of misheard song lyrics, with one of the most common being, “Hold me closer Tony Danza” from Elton’s song “Tiny Dancer”. Wow, talk about ruining the context of a song!

Context is an increasingly critical element of customer experience. The historical process of identifying and qualifying a customer during a real-time experience can backfire without context. Take my friend who called to report an outage on his cable service and was repeatedly upsold for an “enhanced” package during his queue time and agent interaction. We call this “doing the wrong thing right.”

Context provides the foundation for more personal, relevant and differentiated service – the battleground in the Experience Era.  Read More »

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