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

Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are famous for their long history of leadership in computing, semiconductors, software, biotechnology, internetworking, and innovation-based industries. But what makes it unique, beyond the laboratories, talent base, and access to capital? And what exactly is this oft-cited “culture of innovation”?

Sean Randolph and his team at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) set out to find the answers. Read More »

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Technology Innovation: Disrupt—or Be Disrupted

An explosion of new technologies is creating new winners and losers in nearly every industry. You only have to look at the changing fortunes of Apple and Hewlett-Packard in the personal computer/tablet arena over the last decade to see how innovation can propel one company into superstar status, while another becomes irrelevant in the same market space.

So how can companies gain and hold an edge in technology innovation? In an engagement with a major global manufacturer, Cisco IBSG identified three key factors in the product innovation process that companies must clearly understand and be able to orchestrate:

  • Technology Strategy: Develop a technology strategy based on internal and external scans of rapidly emerging capabilities. These should include an assessment of each technology’s ability to disrupt, its stage of incubation, differentiating factors, competitive alternatives, and identification of platform choices. Developing a business and technology architecture for how the technology fits into your company’s platform portfolio is a critical step in this analysis.
  • Ecosystem Management: Arrange and manage ecosystem partners by assessing the need for technologies to perform certain functions that extend beyond your own internal capabilities, such as the ability to connect to a broader environment. You will need to understand existing and future profit pools to validate partner choices. For example, providing “smart services,” such as analytics, can extend a product’s useful life and be the source of long-term profitability, for both you and the ecosystem partners that deliver them.
  • Market Interactions: Prepare and execute detailed plans for managing market interactions, from initial introduction through full-scale market management. This includes an ongoing analysis of customer reactions, portfolio management, media communications, and potential competitors.

Read More »

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Cisco Positioned as A Leader in the Gartner Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant

June 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm PST

Gartner has released their 2012 Wired and Wireless LAN Infrastructure Magic Quadrant.  Cisco is recognized as a leader in this highly anticipated publication.

Our industry is going through dramatic changes. The rapid growth of cloud, mobility and business collaborations has put more and more pressure on the network. Disparate wired and wireless networks architected and managed separately are no longer sufficient to meet the new demand. This is the first time that Gartner covers wired and wireless LAN infrastructure together in one Magic Quadrant. It is a clear sign that the time has come to evolve the network infrastructure to address the rapid growth of cloud, mobility and business collaborations with a unified approach.
Read More »

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Making Culture More than a Nice Word

June 6, 2012 at 4:17 am PST

At its essence, collaboration is about working together to accomplish a common goal. You can buy all of the latest and greatest tools – and yes, by the way, we have the latest and greatest – but without an organizational culture that supports collaboration, it’s a lot like giving a fish a bicycle. Or a school of fish a fleet of bicycles. Or parachutes to snakes. Or Post-It notes to squirrels.

Organizations like to talk about their collaborative cultures, but it’s often more marketingspeak than an accurate description of the work environment. Culture is one of those feel-good words that makes a business sound like less of a money-making venture and more of a community.

Compared to traditional hierarchies, truly collaborative cultures are characterized by increasing levels of interdependence between leaders and employees. It’s a lot like what Mrs. Blackburn emphasized in my kindergarten class: share, listen, play nicely together. Somewhere along the way to a paycheck, we stop eating paste and stop playing so nicely. Read More »

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