The early days of the Internet were a heady time of reimagining, rethinking, and, in effect, “e-enabling” a staggering range of business processes. Today, we stand on the cusp of an equally momentous paradigm shift driven by an explosion in connectivity—not just among devices, but also encompassing people, process, data, and “things.” This next-generation digital revolution will upend entrenched mind-sets and disrupt existing business strategies on a nearly unprecedented scale, transforming, yet again, the customer experience.
As I shared in Part 1 of my blog, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group projects that the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy will generate $14.4 trillion in Value at Stake for private-sector companies globally over the next decade. Nearly 26 percent of this total — $3.7 trillion — will be tied to IoE-driven customer experience advances.
But how do companies begin to tap the vast potential of the next-wave Internet? Since the Internet of Everything remains a work in progress, its uncharted waters and multidimensional scope will demand wholly new ways of thinking as organizations connect to a larger — much larger — universe. In order to meet IoE’s challenges effectively, your business will need a multidimensional toolkit — one that bridges marketing, design, engineering, economics, finance, or any other discipline required inside or outside your company.
The methodology that can enable these capabilities is design thinking. Drawing on methods used by design professionals, it combines empathy for the human context of the problem; creativity in the generation of insights and solutions; and rationality and feedback to analyze the solution within the customer context.
Design thinking is ideal for problem solving within highly complex situations. Which brings us to IoE. Its high level of complexity will demand that you rethink what you do for your customers, while redefining how issues can be addressed.
Knowing the customer is an age-old path to success. And at the heart of design thinking is a deeper understanding of the customer, citizen, or patient, pinpointing the human needs that fall between business objectives and the technology solutions. Employing user-centered qualitative research methods of observation, ideation, and prototyping, design thinking cuts to the essence of the human pain point and is centered on understanding the role you play in the lives of those whom you are serving. Defining and shaping the problem — in effect, determining the right question to ask — is key. Problem framing comes before problem solving and will be the foundation the creative insight in IoE innovation.
Unlike analytical thinking, which is based on a breakdown of ideas, design thinking concentrates on building up ideas with a broad focus, especially in the early stages of the problem-solving process. Once those early ideas are encouraged to develop, without judgment, they can spur creative thinking.
Here is an example of design thinking at work:
A retail client asked, “How do we increase sales conversions?” The client had the best merchandise selections, financing options, and competitive prices. Customers sang their praises in focus groups. Yet, they were converting only about 25 percent of shoppers. With a design-thinking approach, we were able to reframe the problem. Customers were attracted by the assortment, we realized, but they were overwhelmed by the choices. They were looking for guidance on the right solution. By reframing the problem (“How do we help customers make a personalized choice?”), we came up with great ideas that led to new services offerings. In the end, conversion increased significantly.
Design thinking is not a new tool—Procter & Gamble and GE are but two companies employing its concepts, and Stanford and Harvard both teach it. It isn’t a magical cure, either. But it could provide critical solutions within the complex scope of the IoE economy.
As in previous Internet eras, organizations that adapt and redesign the customer experience — essentially by knowing their consumers through empathy and innovative solutions — will thrive. IoE will reach its true potential only if it is seamlessly integrated into customers’ lives. And design thinking — with its emphasis on simplicity and empathy—could cut through the complexity of the coming IoE economy, while driving the creation of products and services that resonate with the way your customers live, work, and play.
After all, isn’t that the reason for creating those products and services in the first place?
Welcome to the Cisco Sizzle! Each month, we’re rounding up the best of the best from across our social media channels for your reading pleasure. From the most read blog posts to the top engaging content on Facebook or LinkedIn, catch up on things you might have missed, or on the articles you just want to see again, all in one place.
Let’s take a look back at the top content from April…
Are you prepared for the IoE Economy?
In this blog post, Cisco’s Chief Futurist Dave Evans and Joseph Bradley of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group share two use cases for IoE – connected marketing and connected healthcare – with both a near-term and futuristic lens.
John Chambers Receives Honorary Doctorate
Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers received an honorary doctorate from San Jose State University at the honors convocation ceremony in April. His main message to the grads? Never stop learning.
Tomorrow Starts Here
What if the next big thing, isn’t big at all? It’s lots of things, all waking up. Explore how IoE will change the way we work, live, play and learn.
Innovation May Spark Economic Renewal
If we’ve learned anything from the last two decades, it’s that every time we think the Internet has exhausted its transformative potential, something highly disruptive comes along. Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior talks IoE innovation and the $14.4 trillion value at stake that will spur research, new investments and new jobs.
A Typical Day
Explore how the Internet of Everything is sparking innovation and instigating meaningful actions to happen faster.
Is Your Site Safe From Attack?
Ars Technica editor Dan Godin compiled a list of Apache website compromises that have been impacting thousands of legitimate sites by allowing entrance to remote attackers. Until his research, no one had realized the magnitude of the situation and how widespread the attacks were. Check out the full insights, including potential solutions, in this blog post.
Three Networking Truths
There’s a clear consensus that one size does not fit all when it comes to deploying Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions to different organizations. Time to dispel common networking misconceptions with three truths about the future of networking as Cisco sees it.
My colleague Norm Jacknis (former CIO of Westchester County, New York) passed along a list of CIO concerns for 2013 that was prepared by Alan Shark of Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that provides technology guidance to local government. The list for cities and counties included:
I’d want to expand on a few of these items to include another emerging issue for CIOs and other government leaders: getting cities to embrace cloud and networking tools – while moving their urban economies forward.
Well, there’s good news to report on that overarching concern. There are several opportunities to learn more about how cities can embrace technology for economic growth:
The Transaction Processing Performance Council today announced its fifth international Conference on Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking (TPCTC 2013). I’ve the great privilege of chairing TPCTC series since 2009. This year’s conference will be collocated with the 39th International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB 2013) on August 26, 2013 in Riva del Garda, Italy. With this conference we are encouraging researchers and industry experts to submit ideas and methodologies in performance evaluation, measurement and characterization. Additional information on TPCTC 2013 is available online at http://www.tpc.org/tpctc/tpctc2013/.
It’s May 1st again, which means it’s time for our annual Open Source Conference, a time to celebrate the multitude of free and open source software developers world wide. Even more so than last May 1st, I’m very impressed to see the large turnout and the great feedback after the keynote and four tracks on Big Data, Cloud, Internet of Everything (IoE), and Software Defined Networking (SDN). Our keynote was from Dan Frye, a wonderful friend and partner at IBM. Wonderful to see Doug Cutting from Cloudera, Adrian Cockroft from Netflix, Troy Torman from Rackspace, Chris Wright from Red Hat, Juan Negron from Canonical, Mark Hinkle from Citrix and Vijoy Pandey from IBM and the great discussions that ensued. My thanks to Bhushan Kanekar who helped me put together the SDN track and also to our other tracks leaders, Mark Voelker for Big Data, Kyle Mestery and Brian Mullen for Cloud, and Fabio Maino and Laurent Philonenko for IoE and Collaboration — it’s great to see these guys come of age in open source, enjoying the moment and helping the open community grow. To all those of you who came, contributed and enjoyed this event, we salute you! Open at Cisco is proving it has indeed become a vibrant and fast growing community. Happy May Day!