I hear so much lately about innovation with virtually every company claiming that they are innovative. Is that really true, or is it yet another over used buzz word that has no substance? I personally see little true innovation, just claims of being innovative (who would say otherwise, right?). One way to determine if innovative is actually taking place is to ask yourself a few questions:
Are you scared (just a bit)?
Do you have more skeptics than advocates?
If you fail, are there repercussions?
How do you define failure?
How much permission did you need to execute?
I especially like the skeptics vs. advocates question. It directly correlates to a safe zone that is easy to fall into. It’s where little innovation can take place – a black hole. Some of the best outcomes have occurred when there were few supporters (until it succeeded). Read More »
Mobile learning is an important trend in education today. The Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) is at the forefront of this trend with their successful “Digital Conversion” and 1:1 laptop initiative. MGSD embarked on this journey in 2007. Today, MGSD ranks second in the state in overall student achievement even though it is one of the lowest funded districts in North Carolina.
While much of the discussion around mobile learning centers on new devices, MGSD CTO, Dr. Scott Smith, is quick to highlight the importance of a robust network and wireless infrastructure that supports what teachers and students want to do in the classroom. In this video, Dr. Smith also discusses the importance of making strategic investments to “future proof” the network for evolving models of teaching and learning.
Spotting the next innovation that could bring benefits to customers, or that could challenge the continued success of existing products, is a challenge that is front-of-mind for every company.
But keeping a finger on the pulse of every innovation that could bring such a disruption is a daunting prospect. That’s certainly true for Cisco. We are a leader in more than a dozen industry segments. As a result, we have to keep our ear close to the ground in more markets than most.
So how on earth do we do that? In a nutshell: the wisdom of a (very expert) crowd.
Experience suggests that relying on the same people who build products or services to also keep a watchful eye on disruptive innovations that could displace those self-same products can be counterproductive. Accordingly, Cisco assembled a self-nominated team of enthusiasts unaffiliated with any particular function or business unit to take up the challenge of identifying technology developments worldwide.
We call that team and the process that unearths those emerging innovations The Technology Radar.
The Technology Radar is based on the insights of 70+ globally-positioned ‘scouts’. These volunteer scouts (all of them have other full-time jobs at Cisco) have become fundamental to Cisco’s intelligence gathering initiatives. By channeling their passion for emerging technologies, Cisco is identifying opportunities and threats that could impact our business in five, ten or even twenty-five years time.
Because of their insights, our Technology Radar now tracks approximately 90 technologies that help Cisco’s senior engineering and business leaders make informed strategic decisions on everything from product development to acquisitions. For example, it was our Technology Radar scouts who spotted the “Internet of Everything” trend that Dave Evans has been blogging about recently, and “Power-over-Ethernet”, a technology that enables more efficient management and power consumption of electronic devices, long before they became common topics of discussion in the industry.
In capturing the wisdom of the crowd to inform company strategy, the Technology Radar joins other programs like Cisco iPrize, the company’s global innovation contest, and its iZone internal employee ideation site, as examples of Cisco’s ongoing commitment to fostering open and crowd-sourced innovation at the company.
So what are our ingenious Technology Radar scouts talking about right now? We talked to Stephan Monterde, who runs the Cisco Technology Radar program out of Switzerland, to hear about what new developments are bubbling up.
Check out this video interview with Stephan to hear more about emerging technologies, such as the Human Machine Interface.
More recently, we set out to update Steve Shepard’s 2011 story about Fiber Optic Cable Installation In Sewers, looking for creative ways that companies or countries are using the existing underground passages to deploy fiber inexpensively. Same result: there was no clear answer.
The constant need for more speed, mobility, and insatiable demands for access to information, continues to strain the capacity of service provider networks around the globe. In essence, whatever capacity made available will be consumed.
An open question on the minds of the operators – how can they leverage SDN to not only keep up with these demands but maintaining a highly profitable network business? Such was the topic of conversation amongst operators and our CTO, David Ward, during a panel discussion at the recent Broadband World Forum (BBWF) in Amsterdam.
What lies in the balance for operators — a plethora of Read More »