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Catalysts for 10x Innovation (Part 2)

Innovation CartoonHatching brilliant ideas for the world’s next big innovation is the easy part.  Bringing those ideas to life — through new software, hardware or services solutions — is the hard part.  That’s exponentially true when it comes to the Internet of Everything because of the extra complexity of connecting people, data, process and things through technology.

In our corporate world, it’s called “execution.”  How an innovation is developed from concept to concrete is just as important as the original brainchild itself.

In my last blog, I focused on catalysts that can fuel innovation 10x:  Inclusion, diversity, inquisitiveness, observation, networking, agility and flexibility – they all fuel innovation.  Here, in part two, I want to share some game-changing insights on execution that I learned from industry leaders at Cisco’s recent “Walk the Talk” Leadership Forum.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Public-Private Partnership is King

Good for Citizens, Good for Government

Fast. Reliable. Easy to use. As a consumer, this is what I have come to expect from the technology that I use.

Many companies work hard to meet – and exceed – consumers’ technological demands. But in the new digital age in which we live, technology is advancing into all areas of our lives, from transportation to retail to healthcare, and forming a transcendent bond between our physical and digital worlds. As technology crosses into new realms, governments, cities, and countries are being digitized at an increasing pace, and citizens expect the same speed, reliability, and simplicity in these governmental technological advances.

Countries and communities around the world have a responsibility to meet the expectations of their citizens – but their digitization also provides a unique opportunity to position their nations for economic success. In fact, according to research conducted by McKinsey, “digitization of the public sector could free up to $1 trillion annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance.” But what does it mean for a country to ‘digitize’? Cisco defines the process as building a sophisticated technology ecosystem that will allow for greater connectivity, productivity, and security. Sounds like a fantastic idea, no? But how exactly can countries get to this higher ‘digitized’ state of being?

Unlock the Door to Digital Success

In this week’s post, our digital citizen is a renowned business leader tasked with fostering public-private sector partnership initiatives for country digitization efforts. Many countries are making impressive strides in this area. But two countries in particular stand out as the perfect locations for piloting the citizen’s program: France and Israel.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: A Backpacker’s Guide to Digitization

Innovation at the Forefront of Everything

As the 2016 Rio Olympics draw nearer, the eyes of the world are turning to Brazil and South America. Latin American economies have historically been increasingly exposed to global uncertainty and economic volatility. However, the region has made significant progress in adopting technology innovations leading to economic development and initiatives to accelerate and stabilize growth. And as host to some of the world’s largest events, Latin America continues to attract industry leaders, economists, financial executives, technologists, and government innovators that are rallying behind the quest for change. Significant drivers of that change will be innovative technology adoption and digital transformation.

Along with the rest of the world, Latin America is witnessing that digital technologies are not only an essential building block of a society, but currently also the driving force behind social, economic, and political development. We are the fortunate ones to live through – and hold the responsibility to shape – an era in which ubiquitously connected information and communications have become the catalyst of human progress. We really have only scratched the surface of what is possible. And as we observe businesses, communities, and countries as they progress in their respective digital revolutions, we will only continue to deepen our understanding on how technology innovations transform our world.

The Latin America Backpacking Experience

This week, our digital citizen is feeling adventurous as ever. In deciding to take a break from the average workweek, our citizen planned a backpacking excursion throughout Latin America. Follow along as we learn and see first-hand how technology is transforming lives in the region, with new job skills, entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative services and stronger, digitally inclusive societies. Read More »

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Digital Public Safety in Action

A New Approach to Public Safety

Lately, constant news coverage has been shining a spotlight on the increasing amounts of pressure that public safety and justice agencies are enduring. Preventing crime is vital to developing vibrant and safe communities. The reality of shrinking budgets and resources in the midst of calls to modernize is creating a challenging paradox, and public safety officials are tasked to deliver mission value in new ways. For example, results from an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Major Cities Chiefs Association survey estimated 53 percent of counties in the United States are working with significantly fewer staff today compared to a decade ago. The fact is that law enforcement agencies can’t afford to put more officers on the street.

Public safety leaders are now are turning to digital technologies as force multipliers to compensate for recent reductions in staff, drastic budget cuts, and the evolving cyber and physical threat landscape. A number of emerging technology solutions are helping law enforcement, corrections departments, emergency responders, courts, and national security agencies modernize and cut government costs by streamlining operations while still producing mission-critical outcomes.

Technology on the Leading Edge

First, our digital citizen is honored to spend the week at the IACP annual conference. After attending this week’s sessions, the citizen has picked up on a few trending themes and important issues that our law enforcement officials face. Of particular importance throughout the conference was the focus on body-worn cameras in the forefront of today’s policing conversations. However, an officer cannot just simply slap on a body camera and call it a day. Secure and updated networks and the ability to move data storage to the cloud must first be in place if it isn’t already. One session in particular featured an estimate that body-worn cameras could result in about 1 terabyte of data per officer per year. Statistics seem to and will vary on a community-by-community basis, but it’s relatively easy to agree that with the vast amounts of video data, secure storage is a major technology issue that will need to be addressed. Here, cloud will be key. And not just for body-worn cameras, but for everything in the digital scope, from evidence management to video surveillance footage. Read More »

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: City Leaders Converge to Learn From Each Other

Changing our outlook for a changing world

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked the question ‘what is a smart city really?’ then I’d definitely have enough change to buy a round of drinks. When you hear about smarter, more connected communities, the definition has become varied and often self-serving. However, as someone who dedicates a significant amount of my personal and professional life to sustainable and equitable urban development, I believe in the true importance of the smart city concept. It’s imperative that each city and country define what it means to become smarter, each idea will be different, depending on unique goals and citizen needs.

The apparent common thread is and will continue to be the use of technology. Today, businesses are pivoting toward digital transformation on a massive scale. A trend that governments should take hold of as it’s pressed to find new ways to operate and modernize its services. Whether it is through collaboration initiatives, embracing cloud computing, or driving more informed decisions through data analytics, there are unprecedented opportunities ahead for the evolution of digital government. In the face of uncharted territory and guaranteed disruption in its wake, building deep and lasting best practice sharing alliances will be an essential platform. Through vast sharing and partnership, we can bring together the most brilliant minds of the public, private, non-profit, academic, and philanthropic sectors to identify innovations that can be scaled, replicated and transferred to make a lasting global impact.

Join the world’s most thoughtful industry leaders

This week our citizen has the unique opportunity to join the ranks of global innovators and leaders at the bleeding edge of urban sustainability and digital technology. Meeting of the Minds kicked off yesterday, and more than 400 executives from 25 countries hailing from public and private sector, philanthropy, and academia join our citizen in Richmond, California. The 3-day summit will focus on delivering smarter public services and building better city systems, enabled by forward-looking public policies, intelligent infrastructure, and digital technologies.

Our citizen has heard and will witness a wide range of topics. First on our digital citizen’s agenda is the discussion around urban transportation. There’s no doubt that global communities are rapidly seeing their growing need to develop and implement public transit options and solve the interface between people and mobility systems. Dubai’s initiatives are enticing more people toward using public transportation by offering all services 24/7 via handheld devices and by easing the traveler experience with uniform ticketing and easy payment options, no-stop tollgates, and smart parking meters. Although a one-size-fits-all fix is not the answer, looking at the modes that are successfully serving city dwellers can help your own path become clearer.

Up next, our citizen looks forward to a session on comprehensive and accessible healthcare, and its criticality in economic vitality of communities and nations. Despite increasing expenditures in health, our citizen knows that the US is falling in key indicators of health, underwhelming and under delivering in a variety of health outcomes. Pioneers in the health and wellness industry are focusing on how to improve health, particularly for those in underdeveloped and underserved parts of the world. Sichuan, China is a leading example of breaking new ground through innovative models of cross-industry collaboration. Through integration with upstream determinants of health such as education, economic development, and community organizing, Sichuan has significantly improved access to medical care.


We’re now on to discussing environmental sustainability, a core pillar of the smart city concept. In our increasingly digital world, the quality of air and water, the movement of people and objects, the changes in weather, traffic congestion, CO2 levels, the production and consumption of energy, can be measured, tracked, and interconnected in real time. It is through this connection that we’re seeing smarter and more deliberate solutions for environmental and resource sustainability. This does not mean reinventing the wheel, but innovatively combining what is available with the advantages that technology affords to create high quality living environments. For example, Water for People works closely with local governments and private organizations to create and deliver an open-source smart device application that helps to provide clean water and basic sanitation services to people in disadvantaged communities around the world.

And finally, on to the much-anticipated topic of education and preparing the next generation workforce. Prior to the session, our citizen begins pondering how we can properly prepare a workforce for an ever changing and ever more competitive environment. Academic institutions like San Jose State University are bridging the gap between traditional and innovative methods, using digital technologies to promote anytime, anywhere learning. The very best schools must position themselves as a vital contributor to digital community initiative. Along with it, there is a celebrated movement toward including broader professional readiness, as well as personalized social and emotional learning.

Vigorous smart cities and digital government conversations are underway all over the world. Of the most important themes that have emerged on the Meeting of the Minds agenda, financing challenges are considered among the more profound roadblocks. This year’s Meeting has a pervasive track focused on financing mechanisms and strategies that are working for early adopters. Best practice sharing and idea swapping show that there are clear steps that can be taken, such as getting assistance in leading projects, improving planning, and achieving a better understanding of the cost and benefits of a smart city. As leaders undertake the steps recommended and learned at this forum, they can move beyond the current barriers and start to capitalize on the benefits of a smart, digital community.

Gatherings such as Meeting of the Minds are enabling cities and countries to respond to increasingly complex challenges. It’s important that leaders and innovative thinkers continue to showcase best practices developed inside these living labs, allowing for the proliferation of ideas to help grow a smarter, more sustainable world.

You can watch the full Meeting program, streaming live: And make your voice heard at Meeting of the Minds via Twitter: #MOTM2015.

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post to discover more information on keeping digital communities safer and more secure. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.

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Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your questions answered on how to become the next digital community.Finally, we invite you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #WednesdayWalkabout and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter.

For more information and additional examples, visit our Smart+Connected Communities page and our Government page on Enjoy the Wednesday walkabout!

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