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How Culture Affects Connectivity

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

As I wander through the world of broadband, I frequently worry that for every step forward, we take one step back. As I’ve written about previously, we seem to be at an inflection point where we see the potential value of broadband, but putting it into reality seems to be more ephemeral.

Especially here in the U.S., we seem to be “talking the talk” more than we’re “walking the walk.” The confluence of certain events recently has underscored my ongoing concern even more recently.

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A solo trip to Russia

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When you hear about Russia, what images come to your mind? Grand Palaces, matryoshka dolls, vodka?

Since studying Russian history at school and in my endeavour to visit as many countries as possible during my lifetime (I’ve currently visited 42), I’ve always wanted to visit the largest country in the world and to see the Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace with my own eyes. Read More »

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Collaboration Patterns That Accelerate Your Business

This is my fourth blog in a multi-part series.  In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment.  In my second blog, I discussed the importance of building trust-based relationships and networks to make collaboration work for you.  In my third blog, I share how you can turn human interactions into business results.  In today’s blog, I discuss patterns of collaborative behaviors and how to leverage them to better support collaborators.

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Collaboration can happen at anytime.  Some would describe it as chaotic.   But interestingly enough, through all the collaborative interactions we observed, we saw patterns in the “chaos” -- patterns that did not just exist in organizational silos, nor were they simply associated with a job role or personality type.   Throughout the day, people play a variety of roles and experience different types and modes of collaboration.   They go from online to offline, in a virtual meeting to meeting over coffee, have an ad-hoc chat in the break-room and attend a global Cisco TelePresence meeting.

If we pay close attention to the behavior patterns of collaboration we can learn how to better support collaborators and create a more seamless experience. This is where process, technology and the physical and virtual workplace can complement the human behaviors that occur during collaboration.

Accelerating Collaboration through Catalysts and Connectors

“Not everyone is comfortable with collaborating virtually. [A catalyst’s] outreach encourages participation and makes the experience rich and meaningful.”   -- Study Participant

In our study, we found that certain types of people play an essential role in not only Read More »

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Turning Human Interaction into Business Results

This is my third blog in a multi-part series.  In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment.  In my second blog, I discussed the importance of building trust-based relationships and networks to make collaboration work for you.  In today’s blog, I share how you can turn these human interactions into business results. 

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Engage.  We use the word engage every day. It’s rich with meaning and covers a wide spectrum of relationships. We are engaged with our families, colleagues, and customers; engaged with an idea, a process, or an initiative.  And when engaged, people are passionate and committed.

At its core, collaboration is people interacting with people. In the global Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, employees told us that successful collaboration depends on encouraging natural human interaction, enabling participation and engagement, and fostering a collaborative culture.

“You really need to focus on the people aspect first. Get individuals to feel engaged and continue to be engaged. I think too many times we rely on the technology.” – Study Participant

In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of not losing sight of the “human element.”  Taking the time to build relationships leads to trust, which is fundamental for collaboration. To turn human interactions between collaborators into concrete results, companies must Read More »

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Studying Collaboration to Improve Collaboration

This is the first blog in a multi-part series. In upcoming posts, I delve deeper into the study and how technology is changing the way we work together.

Collaboration. It’s defined as “the act of people working together to reach a common goal.” Simple, right? But today’s technology era brings new dimensions to how we work together. We collaborate across time zones, across cultures, across personalities and behaviors, and all across a multitude of mobile devices, from smartphones and laptops to tablets and more.

And the scope and reach of technology will only get bigger and become more complex. As technology essentially makes the world smaller, the value and impact of collaboration increases — from the amount of projects you can undertake, to the productivity of employees, to the speed of implementation.

Collaboration has always been a core component of our culture at Cisco. And just as we use and optimize our technology to solve challenges and bring business benefits to our customers, we study our own organization to better understand the human behavior of collaboration and how it affects employee productivity, workplace efficiency, and business results.

We recently completed the Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, a qualitative, ethnographic, global research study that provided us with insight to how we collaborate at Cisco. Our findings  Read More »

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