Dr. Rick Huijbregts' Blog Posts

Accelerating Business with Innovation (1/2)

Do you ever wake up and think: "Oh my god, I must have the coolest job ever"? I think I have that almost daily. The diversity, creativity, breath, and depth of the things my team and I are engaged in is mind-boggling. Who would guess that a company that essentially sells networks, collaboration, security, and data center technologies can be so at the forefront of digital business transformation.

Let me tell you why:

Companies, governments, and industries are moving away from looking for technologies that just support their daily operations. What they are looking for are business solutions and necessary foundational capabilities that help them enable, differentiate, and redefine their business and consumption models so they can better compete (and survive) a rapidly changing and increasingly digital world.

Business leaders are inundated with proposals from great innovative companies that sell applications, dashboards, and analytics that promise cost reduction, revenue generation, or something else magical. It's hard for business leaders to keep up and to decide which technologies to embrace. What they do understand is that there is a common theme to all these amazing applications: the need to connect people, processes, data, and things in a secure manner, and the need to improve collaboration if they desire to innovate and digitally transform their business. Interestingly, it so happens to be that this is exactly what Cisco does so well.

We ARE the digital transformation foundation company that can help businesses in all sectors and industries prepare for the future, and support them to re-imagine it.

This is where my team comes in. At Cisco Canada we have built an exciting digital transformation and innovation approach that is supported by a series of incredible programs and investments. Our digital transformation and innovation approach guides the digital business journey of our customers; and changes every conversation from one about technologies and point solutions to one about business outcomes and value-creation.

Here are our six innovation principles:

1 out of 6: Dreaming and Ideation

All transformations start with a spark, a dream. At the Cisco Toronto Innovation Centre we help realize those dreams, starting with an interactive ideation workshop that help business, institutions and industries re-imagine their future. We show the art of the possible, and trigger meaningful conversations as to what challenges and opportunities lie ahead and how digital technologies can help positively reroute the course of the business.

In order to dream together with our customers in their own business language, we have a verticals team that consists of amazing thought leaders and industry experts that can connect the business AND technology discussion and can pave the way to business excellence through digital transformation. We don't just dream: we make them come true as well.

Take our Connected North program, which fosters student engagement and enhanced education outcomes in remote Indigenous communities. This leading edge program delivers immersive and interactive education services, through Cisco's high definition, two-way TelePresence video technology. It is redefining 21st Century learning for all Canadians through innovation and digital transformation.

2 out of 6: Partnerships

Once we understand how digital technologies can support a business strategy, we then need to bring together a rich eco-system of collaborators. Technology companies, integrators, researchers, students, start-ups and entrepreneurs all collectively contribute to the creation of meaningful and sustainable digital solutions. Only when we work together within a collaborative eco-system can we show true lasting business impact for our customers, businesses and industries.

Cisco's success is built on partnerships. We have 100s of technology companies in our solutions catalogue that provide incremental and complementary capabilities that address our customers' business challenges and opportunities. In Canada, we have nearly 2,000 resellers and influence partners that can take solutions to market, service them, and work with industry to deliver game-changing experiences.

We also leverage the Cisco Networking Academy with more than 200 institutions and 25,000 students currently enrolled in the program. This program teaches relevant skills in digital literacy, networking, cyber security, and internet of things. Its students are an amazing resource that collaborate with innovators across the country. New and exciting ideas, out of the box thinking, and a can-do attitude continue to spark new dreams and the ability to turn them into reality.

Let's not forget also the twelve Cisco-funded research chairs with leading Canadian Universities and Colleges. Applied and scientific research is happening in areas of big data and analytics, fintech, IoT, smart grid, energy, health sciences and more.

These first two principals are the foundation of any innovation journey. There are four more principals: co-innovation, showcase, education, and investment. Watch for my next blog where I will share details on the rest of our focus areas and investments that we've made in our innovation program.

Keep reading... (Part 2)

#innovation #ideation #dreaming #partners #digitaltransformation

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