How are we doing on Innovation so far? All groups in Cisco are interested in Innovation (of all types: line-extension, services, new processes, etc.). Cisco’s Emerging Technology Group (ETG) is specifically responsible for incubating new growth markets, which is why we are sponsoring the I-Prize contest.ETG has brought 4 business units to market so far (we have 5 others that are still busy working on their products). The 4 publicly announced business units are:1. TelePresence: the next best thing to teleportation2. IP Interoperability & Communications Systems (IPICS: radio & telephony interoperability)3. Digital Media Systems (desktop video & signage)4. Physical Security (video surveillance)Each of these business units has been incubated in our group, which means we hire the founders (half from inside Cisco, half from industry), build the product, and then sell the product. From idea to product takes between 12-18 months. We then continue to incubate the new business unit for 2 to 3 years. Once it grows up nice & strong, like all children, it leaves home (and finds a home elsewhere inside Cisco).This incubation process is relatively unique in industry, because we are responsible from idea to successful launch. It’s not enough to have a good idea, we have to execute well also. We expect our first business units to graduate within the next 12-18 months. This lets us make room for new ones. We’re always looking for the next billion dollar idea, so if you have one, go to www.cisco.com/iprize and enter our contest!
The Cisco I-Prize was announced live in Bangalore India by CEO John Chambers and SVP Marthin De Beer. Watch the announcement video to see an exciting Cisco innovation: the On Stage TelePresence experience. While John was physically on stage in India, Marthin was physically in San Jose California, 8000+ miles away but appeared on stage via Cisco’s TelePresence technology. The interaction between John and Marthin wasn’t recorded — both men were speaking live and in real-time. This has to be seen to be believed!
Cisco spends 4.5 B$ annually on R&D. We also do acquisitions. The perception in the media is often that Cisco”buys its way into innovation”. While it is true that acquisitions are a key part of our overall strategy (124 acquisitions to-date, about one every three weeks), there’s more to Cisco’s innovation than the Borg model (“œresistance is futile-you will be assimilated”) (for you non-Trekkies, see: Wikipedia:Borg). Many of Cisco’s most successful products and technologies have come from internal development: the CRS-1 (90 Terabit router), the Integrated Services Router, MPLS (the technology at the heart of all next-generation IP wide-area networks). About two-thirds of all products sold by Cisco were produced through internal development. Read More »
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: Read More »
Change creates opportunity. I think that looking at major changes in the world we live in can provide some interesting new market opportunities. There are two ways to capture a market: invent it or re-invent it. The first is actually harder than the second, since you have to educate your (potential) customers on why they need your product. Henry Ford (he of the automobile) once said that if he had asked his customers what they would have wanted, he would have delivered”faster horses”. When you re-invent a market you need to look for a disruption opportunity (a better mousetrap), but you don’t have to educate your customers, create budgets, channels, etc. Read More »