Disruptive innovation and the creation of new technology markets have been at the heart of what Cisco does since 1984 when our founders pioneered the first multi-protocol router. Twenty eight years later, Cisco continues to obsess about finding better ways to solve networking and communications problems.
We invest the bulk of our resources in enhancing the platforms, protocols and devices that our customers already know and trust, as you might expect. However, we’re also continually looking for new product and service ideas that can entirely disrupt the status quo in existing markets, or open up new markets by solving problems with better, more convenient, or simply cheaper approaches to problem solving.
It’s in that spirit that Cisco has introduced the Technology Fund, a new multi-million dollar innovation fund designed to nurture disruptive ideas inside Cisco that are currently nowhere on the company’s radar…but which might become another TelePresence, Catalyst or Jabber ten years from now.
With a multi-billion dollar R&D budget, why does Cisco need a separate Technology Fund, I hear you ask.
As Joel Bion, SVP of Advanced Research and Development at Cisco, and overseer of the new Tech Fund, puts it: “If you’re the general manager of a business unit at a large company, you’re constantly making choices about developing features that can generate revenues almost immediately, or with investing in the development of products and services that may not generate revenue for years, or which may never generate revenue.”
Both are important, of course, but the Cisco Technology Fund ensures that long term breakthroughs are not sacrificed in the pursuit of near term revenues. It does so by providing senior Cisco engineers with the funds, resources, equipment and people needed to explore and investigate those ideas which may still be years away from being ready for incubation in Cisco’s Emerging Technologies organization or from integration into existing business units.
In the video below, Joel Bion explains more about the Fund and how it works.