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“Brick by Brick”

Undoubtedly you heard the news last week of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s open letter in which he publicly acknowledges his sexuality and expresses deep pride in being gay.  While the headline alone is remarkable – the real treasure can be mined from exploring the letter in its entirety and inquiring how we as individuals and as an enterprise can manifest the true intention of this extraordinary message.

Tim Cook’s announcement was an act of service and contribution.  In sharing a personal truth, he illuminates a universal one -- our greatest challenges often bear the greatest gifts.  For Tim, being gay has given him a deeper understanding of those in the minority, greater empathy, the confidence to be himself, to follow his own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry.  And as a result –  a richer life.

His message reminds us all that not everyone has “the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.” In doing what he feels is his part to help others, he inspires us to re-evaluate ours.

Like Apple, Cisco has a long held commitment to embracing people’s differences and welcoming a full spectrum of different backgrounds, experiences, cultures, affiliations, work styles, and points-of-view.

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OPEN: A Fundamental Part of the Network of the Future

Over the past several years, I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of two important trends in the networking industry -- the evolution of open standards and open APIs, and the definition of policy as the key interface to the network.

Open is an extremely important word to the future of networking. The simple dictionary definition for open means not closed or locked, allowing access to inside, and freely accessible.

The ultimate networking environment will allow a user the freedom to connect anything together in the cloud and to an existing environment. In order for this vision to happen, companies must work together to create a common language.

OpenStack has garnered a lot of interest in the development community and among our customers.  We at Cisco have been actively helping to shape the discussion around policy.  Working collaboratively with our partners and competitors, we helped create Group-Based Policy (GBP), an intent-driven policy API for OpenStack.

The Group-Based Policy initiative represents a significant innovation in how users conceive, manage, deploy, and scale their applications in OpenStack clouds.  And its now available as a 100% open source solution available to any vendor.  When coupled with Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, we are able to offer our customers a completely policy-driven network.

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Doing our part to stop hunger…in Silicon Valley and around the world

Earlier this week, I was privileged to join Cisco employees and executives to sort 27,100 pounds of food at the Second Harvest food bank in Silicon Valley. This food will go to help the 1 in 4 Santa Clara and San Mateo County residents at risk for hunger – roughly 625,000 individuals.

This event is just one part of Cisco’s largest annual giving campaign to help stop global hunger in Silicon Valley and around the world. We’re in the middle of our 12th annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign, involving over 160 food agencies worldwide.

Since we started this effort, we have raised $40 million dollars for hunger relief, which translates into 160 million meals for those who need it most.

And this year, the bar is set high.  We’re in the midst of a two-month effort to raise $1.8 million in employee donations for hunger relief, most of which will then be matched by the Cisco Foundation.

At Cisco, giving back is part of our DNA.  I’m proud to be a part of this effort to help stop global hunger.  And I’d encourage all of my Cisco colleagues to consider making a donation or volunteering at a local food bank during this holiday season.

Together, we can really make a difference.

Cisco execs and employees sorting food for 2nd Harvest

Cisco execs and employees sorting food for Second Harvest

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Accelerating open innovation on all fronts at Cisco

I introduced Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) earlier this year as a cornerstone in our strategy of embracing open innovation at Cisco. I also shared how we were extending Cisco EIR and open innovation across the US through local incubation partners, and I announced the launch of Cisco EIR in Europe. Now I would like to share updates on the great progress we are making with Cisco EIR as a catalyst of open innovation at Cisco.

Startups Selected to Join Cisco EIR in Europe

Last week we were excited to announce the six startups that will be joining our Cisco EIR program in Europe at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. The six winners – innovating in the areas of Smart Cities, Internet of Everything (IoE)/cloud and Big Data/analytics – were chosen through a rigorous multiphase selection process conducted in collaboration with Pioneers. More than 350 applicants from 39 countries applied to join Cisco EIR Europe, with 15 finalists pitching live at the Pioneers Festival in front of Cisco experts and our European partners. Winners were selected based on the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s IoE vision and strategy.

We were impressed beyond our expectations by the vision, passion, talent and technology of all 15 finalists. These startups made us more excited and convinced than ever that Europe was the right platform to discover and nurture the next generation of disruptive ideas for our industry and for Cisco.

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The Future of Work & Collaboration

According to Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report, the future of work will be more flexible and collaborative than ever before. In this two-part blog series, Rowan Trollope, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology Group, explores how the IT and business landscape is changing based on this new research and how organizations can prepare.

While no one can predict the future, it’s certain that technical innovations are certain to change just about every facet of our lives -- including how we work.

In a time when connectivity and mobility are expected to have exponential growth, one must consider the future of work and how the workplace will evolve to become more flexible and collaborative thanks to these technical innovations.

Consider these findings from the latest research in Cisco’s 2014 Connected World Technology Report:

  • More than half of professionals consider themselves accessible for work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including 3 in 10 who are accessible by both email and phone.
    • Roughly one quarter of professionals are employed at an organization that allows them to work from home.
    • About half of Gen X and Gen Y professionals feel their organization’s HR department is adjusting to enable a more mobile, flexible work style for its employees; though nearly one third feel it is not doing so quickly enough.

As connectivity and collaboration become more pervasive, it’s time for organizational leaders to consider how to thrive in a changing workplace based on new expectations, behaviors, and preferences from employees and customers alike.

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