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Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 2): The Importance of Organizational Culture and Leadership

In my previous post, I described the challenges senior management faces in scaling collaboration capabilities to address business needs and the way work is done today.

Electronic and whiteboard displays, lean practices, and collaboration tools by themselves are clearly not enough. Management needs to take a holistic approach to develop and integrate capabilities in three areas to address the challenge of capturing the next wave of productivity gains: culture and leadership, extended workplace visuality, and pervasive collaboration.

Organizational culture and leadership are probably the single most important factors in enabling gains in employee productivity and innovation that result from knowledge work. Morten Hansen, in his book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results, provides an excellent perspective on what management can do to identify barriers to collaboration and design solutions to overcome them. Most of these barriers are cultural and particularly severe in large global corporations with multiple business units, complex matrix organizational structures, and operations that span multiple countries. Read More »

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What can the Public Sector Learn from the Best Corporate Innovation Strategies? – Part 2

In my previous post, I described the “culture of innovation,” for which Bay Area companies have become renowned. And we looked, briefly, at what it could mean for the public sector.

It may come as something of a surprise that Bay Area companies are no more likely to follow a Technology Drivers innovation model than companies located elsewhere. Like many top innovators, companies in the Bay Area have not only found success in creating ground-breaking technologies, but they are almost twice as likely as other companies to have developed the capabilities needed to provide a superior understanding of the stated and unstated needs of their end customers. It isn’t just about how many transistors you can fit on a chip.  It’s about how such advances can lead to products and services that gain traction in the marketplace through superior insight into, and understanding of, customers’ needs. Read More »

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The Customer Experience: The New Gold Rush (Part 2)

In Part 1, I explained that both sides of the customer experience equation—what I am led to expect, and what I perceive I received—are both heavily influenced by today’s hyperconnected world. Let me recap briefly before I explain how we can approach customer experience in this new world.

Today, I can easily compare products across the globe—and get any number of reviews on your products versus any others. Perhaps even more influential are the social media networks, where those I listen to most—my friends—can quickly influence me and make or break your product. Read More »

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Why Distributors Create Value for Cisco and our Partners

The success of distribution at Cisco is no longer a secret, thanks to Scott Brown’s recent interview with CRN. Of course, it was no secret to me--our distributors have been an important part of our channel strategy from the beginning. But I’m extremely proud of Scott and his team for driving the more recent growth and deepening our relationship with our distributors.

Those who know me, know I’m all about relationships. And I believe that the success and growth comes, not just from Cisco’s relationship with our distributors, but also from the relationship our distributors have developed with our channel partners. Together, we deliver greater value for our partners.

As customers begin to demand new consumption models, I believe distribution will play a significant role in helping partners evolve their business models more quickly to profitably deliver cloud and managed services solutions. Our commitment to a partner-centric sales and services go-to-market model doesn’t just apply to our traditional channel partners. As more solutions move to the cloud, we plan to work with our major distributors and leverage their capacity and their relationships in order to scale.

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What Helps Students Love Math?

multiply impact on students math skills

Photo courtesy of MIND Research Institute

Encouraging highly successful nonprofits to collaborate with each other on shared goals can often be a challenge. Part of their success hinges on laser-like execution of their own program and on getting results. But occasionally, two programs are so complementary that the combination greatly magnifies what they could ever achieve on their own. Cisco has been a longtime partner and supporter of both City Year, an education-focused nonprofit working in underserved schools, and MIND Research Institute, provider of innovative math learning software. Both held admirably strong track records with their approaches. City Year places young volunteers in schools to assist with multi-subject tutoring, before, during, and after school, in a Whole School, Whole Child approach. City Year staff measure their results by tracking what they call the ABCs: attendance, behavior, and classroom performance in literacy and math.

CityYearMIND

Photo courtesy of City Year

MIND Research provides ST Math, a set of cloud-based learning games for K-12. These games are non-language based, which has helped students succeed in learning math regardless of their language of origin, gender, and even, in some cases, learning disabilities. Two years ago, it occurred to Cisco’s Community Relations lead, Ricardo Benavides, that combining the programs in the same underserved Alum Rock district schools in the San Jose, California area might lead to even better outcomes. Read More »

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