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What makes a good idea for I-Prize? We have a list of specific questions we use to evaluate all contributions. Before I explain what they are, I should also specify that some ideas which may not be good for Cisco, may still be very interesting for startups to pursue. Most contributions into I-Prize fall into 3 broad categories:1. Feature (e.g. add Bluetooth to IP-phones)2. Product (e.g. create a networked home health monitoring device)3. Market (e.g. get into the mobile phone business)(the above are merely examples-I’m not suggesting that we are actually going to do these :-)For the Cisco I-Prize, we’re looking for new businesses, so features aren’t”big enough”. We’re interested in Products (especially if we can see a range or family of products in the same area) and Markets (especially if they are good adjacencies for us). The evaluation criteria for the Cisco I-Prize comes down to market size, timing, adjacency, and differentiation.Identifying a big market opportunity isn’t enough in itself. If you’re too late, it’s like arriving when the party’s over (the good stuff is already gone). The notion of timing is pretty straightforward (too soon, too late, just right?). Contrary to what you might think, first movers rarely win (Google wasn’t the first in Search).Adjacency is all about core & context (see Geoffrey Moore’s books, including the recent Dealing with Darwin). The basic idea is that companies should concentrate on their core and outsource or partner for context. For new business opportunities, we want them to be close to Cisco’s core-so that we can bring existing skills, technologies, or business-models to bear. In other words, getting into wireless medical devices could be adjacent, but fluffy children’s toys would not.A final consideration is to consider what Cisco’s enduring differentiation would be. That’s another way of asking the question:”once everyone knows what you’re doing, why should customers continue to pay you a premium for your product or service?” If there is no advantage except for being early to a market, your offering could quickly become commoditized and you’d make little or no profits in that market.The Cisco I-Prize evaluation criteria are the same criteria Cisco uses to evaluate any business opportunity (acquisitions and internal developments). We have a team of people in the Emerging Technology team that are reviewing all of the I-Prize ideas and will use the questions of market sizing, timing, adjacency, and differentiation to select the best overall idea.

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8 Comments.


  1. Chandan Haldar

    Looks like anyone who writes a comment (whether promoter or demoter of an idea) appears in the list of collaborators on the author’s profile. Haven’t yet been able to figure out how one becomes a subscriber though.

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  2. Chandan Haldar

    How are the co-authers, collaborators, and subscribers numbers (that I see on my profile page) tracked? How do I become a co-author, collaborator, or subscriber to an idea? Not everyone I see who voted in favor of some of my ideas appears in the list of my network. A little confusing…

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  3. Hi GregAs part of the evaluation for the winning idea, we will do a search to see if there is some prior art or patents that could restrict us from entering that market. However, we have no way of knowing if someone else is working on it too–and who may come out first. However, being first to market is no guarantee of success. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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  4. Casio find new idia for company bisines move only forward, that’s cool. This is dream for people who want start bisines or carier. That’s right, good idia!

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  5. I am curious about those who demote your idea. Should there not be a rasoning that needs to be filled out before demotion. I relate this to a blind demotion that in effect promotes all others. Without the reasoning for the demote I would not consider a demotion as valid. I would want to believe the idea promote/demote system is valid and not blindly semi-random by other contestants.Thank you in advance for any feedback.

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  6. Hi Bruce,The demote/promote features are an element of the judging process but not a vital one (we primarily want to gauge enthusiasm from the community for a particular idea)–the main evaluation criteria are highlighted in the blog and are evaluated by a dedicated team from Cisco.

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  7. Gregory Wolfe

    Isn’t there a way Cisco can compare ideas with some agency relating to copyright act to know if any ideas like that was submit before date posted on the Cisco I-prize website so to prevent anyone from firsting us into development and flood the market? I thought that was something that was looked into.

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  8. Gerardo Payan Ramos

    Estimados senores de Cisco, tengo una idea que es una combinacion de producto y servicio, del cual yo estoy seguro que ustedes podrian desarrollar y aportar seguridad al mundo de la aeronautica civil y comercial, por favor contactese conmigo para hablar de detalles.Gerardo Payan RamosEl Paso, Texas(915)694 6237

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