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Social Media Mindset fostered with the help of IDEO

October 25, 2011 - 2 Comments

I’ve been with Cisco for about 11 years with a few breaks in between and I’ve always been in awe at how technology advances each time I return.  I think back to Eudora email and conference call bridge scheduling via Meeting Place.  Anyone else remember those days of simplicity?

My mindset has had to change and adapt each time I have returned.  With the help of the “The Mindset” book by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., I had at least prepared myself to have a “growth mindset” when coming back to work each time.  I have to admit I still battled the fixed mindset of “I may fail at this” from time to time.  Regardless, I chose to press on and adapt.

The biggest mindset shift for me in the past few years has been all things related to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc.. We are now connecting with customers in real time and listening to their thoughts, concerns and feedback.  Much has changed from filtered feedback via press and analysts, to today where listening data is being viewed and responded to in real time.  These advances have all required me to incorporate a social media lens into the overall strategy and tactics of my job.

I recently attended an offsite hosted by IDEO.  It had to be one of the best offsites I’ve ever attended because of the mindset shift they fostered as well as the brainstorming sessions.  We talked about sustainability – absolutely nothing to do with Cisco or technology.  Interestingly enough, a majority of our solutions for sustainability all weaved social media into the overall plan.

IDEO showed us design ideas for doctors, airline companies, racecar pit crews and more.  One example was when surgeons went to see how racecar pit crews work so efficiently. The surgeons were able to apply what they learned and develop solutions all outside of the hospital walls.  Another example was an Airline company creating mock designs in conference rooms using chairs that simulated an idea they had for “bunk beds” on planes.  They quickly learned why their “bunk bed” idea was not practical.

Even though this offsite was not focused on Cisco, technology or social media our team learned that stepping back and learning from others, in completely different industries, can be very valuable.  At Cisco, we are listening and taking steps to be empathetic and engaging.

As I continue to work at social media keeping in mind customer needs and wants, I hope I can continue to grow my mindset. What are you doing to ensure your mindset is growing?  Have you looked at social media tools through the lens of your customer or through the customer journey?  When was the last time you had a brainstorm that developed the best solutions?  Have you failed in social media but learned and tried again?  Failure should not stop us.  As quoted by David Kelley, IDEO, CEO, “Fail faster to succeed sooner.”

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  1. Thank you for this thought-inspiring post on Mindset. It’s such an interesting angle and something I needed to hear for my own approach to Social media. I am a San Diego DJ and although my social media needs are small, I love what IDEO is doing.

  2. IDEO preaches very valuable design thinking practices! Thanks for sharing Nancy. For an array of design thinking tools, check out