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Collaboration is Hard: How to Work within Conflicting Points of View

August 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm PST

“If someone is very abusive, or very aggressive, I always try to think, why is this person so aggressive? And sometimes by even making a joke, or by trying to get more information about the person…you break the ice. And sometimes you have some surprising results”

Boris Dittrich, Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, spoke on collaboration at Cisco’s San Jose campus recently.  He told a story about his time as an openly gay Dutch parliament member:

I was still a member of the national parliament and a leader of my political party. We had created a new government and I was on television every night. So people usually said something when I walked down the street. Usually friendly.

Dittrich then recounted a less friendly encounter he had with a man as he walked from the train station to parliament: Read More »

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Transforming American Governance

In the midst of the debt crisis here in Washington, D.C., the nation teetered toward default, but eventually came to a compromise to avert that outcome. A recent article in The New Yorker likened the situation to “. . . members of an ordinance-disposal unit arguing about how to defuse a large ticking bomb.” Our nation faces a large—and growing—long-term fiscal imbalance driven by an aging population, which will dramatically increase healthcare and retirement costs.

The nation certainly faces other challenges: the continuing war on terror, increasing economic competition from emerging world powers like China and India, rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and other new and unknown problems and threats. Any one of these issues would provide a large enough agenda for a president and Congress. Their convergence creates an atmosphere of unparalleled complication for government management.

Overcoming these obstacles will require a “changed” government, a 21st-century government transformed to operate on demand. Read More »

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Cisco Prepares for the London 2012 Olympic Games

There’s just one year to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games.  It’s been quite a year and we have had much to celebrate – not least that, at the heart of a world-class event, there’s a world-class network infrastructure helping to make it all happen.

Games test events are underway from a technical perspective and we’re pleased with the way our network is performing.  Our marketing activities have scaled to a fully-integrated activation plan and colleagues worldwide are really engaging with our internal programme – check out

Neil Crockett judges final STEMNet challenge

one example here.  I am especially proud of our investment in creating the British Innovation Gateway, announced in January.

But a recent highlight for me has been chairing the judging panel for the Cisco STEMNet challenge. UK schools were invited to design a website for Paralympian handcyclist, Rachel Morris. Rachel kindly agreed to help judge the entries, joined by Chris Thompson of Ravensbourne College, the Digital Media Centre of Excellence in East London.  We were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions and by the enthusiasm and engagement the students showed in wanting to support Rachel’s endeavours, which made for quite a few emotional moments among us all.

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Courts, Corrections, and Cuts: Is it time for Connected Justice?

I live in California where we are facing severe challenges in our economy and funding public services ranging from teachers in the classroom to courts and correctional institutions.  In San Francisco, cuts to 25 courtrooms and 40% of staff are underway to address the $13.75 million budget gap.   Longer lines for citizen services and delays up to 5 years for cases coming to trial are expected.

Of course, the economy is not only challenging governments at the state and local level but nationally and internationally as well.

Isn’t it time we use technology to help cut costs and deliver services that are more efficient?

A great example is the City of San Antonio Texas  sharing video across public safety and justice systems. 

See below for more information about Connected Justice. Read More »

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Smile for the Camera

Humans are inherently resistant to change. In the workplace, we’re most comfortable using technologies that have been made available to us, as long as they are convenient and easy to use. Rarely do we want to stray from business norms. It’s this human behavior that makes the cultural aspects of a business video strategy the most challenging to execute.

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