Peter Drucker“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” were the final words echoed last week during a thought-provoking Innovation Catalyst training session at Cisco’s campus in Richardson, Texas. Building on earlier sessions in San Jose last November, I joined other super-charged Cisco leaders to learn more about winning formulas and attributes that can cultivate 10x innovation across our teams and culture.

In prior sessions, I wrote about catalysts and execution strategies that bring brilliant ideas to life around 10x innovation. Last week, we laser-focused on key individual and cultural attributes that foster an environment of 10x innovation, especially within a large and established company like Cisco. Following the wisdom of management guru, Peter Drucker, everyone understood that Innovation as a Skillset and Innovation as a Discipline are two different things.10x Innovation Class

A pivotal shift in culture is essential to drive any sustainable change in strategy. Not only does one have to embrace innovation for oneself, it is crucial to promote an innovation framework within your respective teams to ensure that it’s an inseparable part of your corporate culture. This is especially true in today’s accelerated pace of change ignited by the mass digitization of business and society, provoked by the Internet of Everything.

10x Innovation Class2It was an exhausting but exhilarating day filled with engaging conversations during breakouts, exercises and Q&As. When I settled down on my return flight home, I was finally able to collect my thoughts on the most important attributes we learned about to fuel 10x innovators. I’d like to share some of those lessons learned on what attributes are needed to turn innovation from an individual skillset into a well-executed discipline across teams.

10x innovators are those who have the knowledge, skills and a burning desire to exponentially spread the genuine spirit and disciplined practice of innovation.

Taking all these learnings into account, here are some of the attributes that I believe can fundamentally shift organizational DNA to tackle rapidly changing challenges of the future in our digital era.


These are the key attributes or qualities needed to cultivate strong people and cultures around 10x innovation. In today’s hyper changing world – where one new idea can disrupt an established market – only those organizations fully committed to a culture and leadership pipeline of 10x innovators will push beyond the roadblocks of the past to be successful in the future.

What do you think are common challenges and solutions to achieving 10x innovation?


Biren Gandhi

Head of Drone Business & Distinguished Strategist

Corporate Strategy Office