It’s funny how an 80’s icon can still mean so much to us today, and yet – still barely be a thought until it’s right in front of you.  I wandered into Gayle’s Wine Bar in Llangollen, North Wales with my husband Neil and some local friends where a guy was leaning against the bar playing with a Rubik’s Cube.

I smiled at him and said, “I used to be able to solve the mystery of the Rubik’s Cube, many moons ago!” I ordered my favourite wine and thought nothing more of it.

A few days later, I received a calendar invite titled, ‘Innovation Meeting’.  It’s not uncommon to be inundated with meeting invites at work, and while it leaves me feeling valued – I still realise the need to choose wisely so that there is time for actual work to get done.

But this invite stood out to me, it sounded different – and so I joined the call.

I didn’t think that I would add any real value to this meeting.  I thought I would just be amongst really smart people with ideas in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Quantum Computing (the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena) spaces – and while I didn’t understand much of that, I knew it was the future and it was something I’d at least like to listen in on.

Another reason that drew me into this meeting was that Cisco had just redesigned their plans to focus on our customers – to take them on a journey, and to be completely obsessed with their success. In that redesign, the Customer Experience (CX) team was born. I’m part of CX and thought a meeting around innovation might help to inspire ways I could contribute to my own team.

While I listened in as the team members reminisced about previous fun ideas that highlighted our incredible teams – like a coffee mug we all love that said, ‘Keep Calm and call TAC’ (Cisco’s Technical Assistance Centre) – I was thinking: ‘A single message – is that enough?  Could there possibly be a way to share MORE of our message with the world on who Cisco is and what we do?’

Suddenly, my mind wandered back to that guy at Gayle’s Wine Bar – the one with the Rubik’s Cube. Right then – the idea hit me!

I waited for a break in the conversation and then said, “What about using a Rubik’s Cube as a platform to create a ‘buzz’ around the new CX vision? We would have the capability to display SIX different messages about Customer Experience and our values.” To my amazement, everyone on the call thought it was a really good idea!  Although the idea was originally mine, without my team (Stephen, Oli, Alex and our Marketing contact in the United States) the idea would not have become a reality.

The next hurdle we had to jump was deciding what would be placed on the six sides of the Rubik’s Cube, so the team got to work and what we decided upon truly echoed what Cisco and Customer Experience meant to us.

From obvious choices like our Cisco logo and giving back to new touch points like Cisco’s Customer Experience Journey – we were excited to see it all come together, all while highlighting our renewed dedication in being customer obsessed and transforming the technology lifecycle into opportunities that’ll inspire. The Rubik’s Cubes even had a QR code where folks could be informed of the latest and most relevant information from Cisco’s Customer Experience team.

There is so much in my personal career that would not be possible without Cisco, and I am thankful for opportunities like a recent 6-month job rotation from my present role as a High Touch Operations Manager to a Customer Experience Role Communities Manager or the many giving back opportunities that I never would’ve known existed. Honestly, much of what I had hoped to achieve – I didn’t think was possible, but the support I received at Cisco showed me how endless the possibilities are.

This experience has shown me that even though you might feel like you are only making a small contribution sometimes – you just never know where that idea will take you, and this is one ripple effect that’s gone on to create waves.

The Customer Experience Rubik’s Cube has now been showcased at Cisco Live Barcelona and presented to Maria Martinez, the Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer. It has also been recognised by my manager Buu, who entered my team mate Oli and myself into the ‘CX Best of We’ Recognition competition – which is a way for employees in Customer Experience to recognize one another.  In addition to that, we now have a new way of being recognized through the ‘6 Principles Award’, I was again nominated along with my team mate Oli for this award that represents courage and leadership when it comes to innovating and disrupting – so pleased to say we won!

All this stemming from the reminder of an 80’s icon while out with friends, and the acceptance of a meeting invite – WOW!

With the opportunities afforded to me by Cisco, I always know that the only true limit you have is your own imagination, and this experience is proof of that.


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Elaine Ward

CX Global Roles Community Manager

CX Role Communities UK