“We believe economic progress without social development is not sustainable, while social development without economic progress is not feasible.” – Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum
Historically individuals and institutions have often been limited to the results of their individual efforts to make an impact. With the advent of the Internet and widespread broadband connection, however, it is now possible to efficiently join with others to act collectively -- pooling global resources and talents to solve problems too big to solve alone. This is the power of collective knowledge, creativity, and commitment in a connected age. This is what Cisco believes as we consider, plan, and execute our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
One way in which Cisco works collaboratively to make a global impact is by participating in events like this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. Cisco is one of the strategic partners of the event and our Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, will be speaking as part of a panel addressing Leading through Adversity on Wednesday, January 23 from 9 to 10 a.m. (CET) (midnight to 1 a.m. PST/3 to 4 a.m. EST).
Years ago I was standing next to the Chief Trauma Surgeon (CTS) in an Emergency Department while the team worked feverishly to resuscitate an injured EMT. The EMT had been struck by a speeding car while at the scene of an accident. In one split second he went from being a first responder to being a patient. My job was to relay information to the Operating Room to make sure the Trauma Suite was prepared appropriately should this patient survive long enough to make it to surgery. The code had been going on for almost an hour and all the efforts of a dozen brilliant and highly trained professionals seemed to have no impact. In fact, things just seemed to be getting worse. Finally the resident came over and asked the CTS if we should ‘call it’. In hospital speak, that means to admit defeat and acknowledge that the patient cannot be resuscitated. It means, literally, to call the time of death. I watched while the weight of the decision spread over the face of the CTS and change his posture as if an actual physical weight had been put on his shoulders. After a few minutes, he turned without a word to walk towards the waiting room to speak to the family. He had only taken a few steps when he turned around and came back. “No, keep going.” The commitment and compassion I saw in his face that day has never left me. He was there for that EMT. The power of truly being there to make a difference hit home.
At Cisco, we are working to make it easier to “be there”. To bring knowledge and expertise right to where it is needed, no matter where you are, no matter who you are. We are using technology to connect not just machines and data bases, but people. Today, we see the powerful forces of social, mobility, the cloud and information coming together. Gartner describes this as the Nexus of Forces. This nexus is disrupting old models and creating new market transitions. Scaling these technologies is making things possible that were not possible before. And Cisco is working to be there, to help you be there.
There is a growing understanding of the network’s ability to multiply impact in health care as well as recognition of Cisco’s role in applying networking technology solutions to address health care needs. Most recently, Cisco won an award from GBCHealth for the “core competence category” for our work in the corporate social responsibility program known as Connecting Sichuan. The three-year program aimed to transform healthcare systems after the 2008 earthquake through the implementation of ICT technologies by connecting urban and rural health organizations for improved access to quality healthcare.
More than 280,000 now receive critical health care regardless of where in the region they live, thanks to the Connecting Sichuan program. And there has been a 32 percent reduction in antibiotic costs as a result of remote health care treatment enabled by the program.
Given these results, Cisco was presented with the award at the annual GBCHealth Conference, which brings together thought leaders from business, government, multi-laterals and civil society to discuss important health topics and healthcare challenges globally. GBCHealth is a coalition of more than 200 member companies with a mission to mobilize the power of global business community to build a healthier world.
This is a very significant award honoring companies that exemplify a spirit of innovation and dedication to outstanding achievements in global health. This year’s award was extremely competitive—the winners (1 for each of the 5 categories) were selected from 40 finalists, conferred by an external panel of expert judges drawn from government, multi-laterals, academia, non-profits and the corporate community. On hand to receive the award was SVP Carlos Dominguez who also led a session at the conference about how social media can shape the future of disease awareness, prevention and treatment. Other dignitaries and featured speakers included Muhtar Kent, Deepak Chopra, Richard Edelman, Christy Turlington-Burns, Kenneth Cole and Barbara Bush.