It’s not every day that you see an idea that a small team has drawn on a blackboard and carried out with extraordinary motivation. And, it’s not every day that you see something that your company does and that is relevant for your country.

A few weeks ago, in Milan, was not a normal working day and for all of us. We opened the Milan Cisco Global Co-Innovation center, focused on cybersecurity and privacy at the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology.

In the new digital world, a safer and digitally secure country (therefore careful and active on Cybersecurity issues) will also be a more competitive country. We believe that Italy and Europe can interpret this future well and stand out in the new era in which digital will redesign a world of new possibilities.

At the opening we were honored by the presence of many institutions, authorities, many Cisco top executives including Chuck Robbins and Gerri Elliott, as well as many guests (customers, partners), universities, innovation ecosystem that enriched an already extraordinary day, helping us to tell the audience the crucial and strategic importance for Italy and Europe of securing critical infrastructure and data privacy.

The choice of Milan is not by chance: the city is linked to Cisco by a collaborative path that blossomed during Expo Milano 2015 and continued with various initiatives, including the Safer Milan project, created to integrate and protect smart city services with attention to urban security.

The new center is part of a worldwide network of other Co-Innovation Centers and will actively dialogue with all the realities that are already part of “Innovation Exchange”, a network of places dedicated to innovation spread throughout the country that we wanted to launch three years ago and that led us to open this center with a solid network of collaborations with the ecosystem of which we are honored to be part. The location hosts spaces dedicated to developers and researchers, laboratories for the development and testing of innovative solutions, areas that will be dedicated to thematic meetings.

The center will work on some key aspects of cybersecurity: the advanced security of the Internet of Things, privacy and security in citizens’ services, the protection of supply chains and critical national infrastructures. The aim is to create, and test new ideas and projects developed together with companies, universities and technology partners with an open innovation logic.

There is much more, however, by joining the program of Cisco’s renewed investment in our country, which sees security, skills and social commitment as its pillars, the Co-Innovation Center will also be open to citizens through training initiatives on digital and security issues.

The museum will also host the activities of the Cisco Networking Academy through which courses will be offered both to young people and to those who already work and want to retrain with the skills of the future.

We have already started to work to bring also the project “A School of Internet” – an initiative that involves Cisco employees and our Partners who on a voluntary basis organize meetings for children and young people dedicated to the safe and aware use of the web.

A new fantastic adventure has begun that will see us engaged for the next few years: how to secure our future by working and innovating now. A great job to face in a team, together with many other actors (Institutions, Universities, Companies, our Partners, and the ecosystem of “Innovators”) indispensable to successfully solve the many challenges around the cybersecurity and privacy that countries and businesses face now and in the near future.



Enrico Mercadante

Innovation Lead

Architecture & Digital Transformation, Italy