Dr. Rick Huijbregts' Blog Posts

Accelerating Business with Innovation (2/2)

In my last blog I introduced the Cisco Canada innovation program. It consists of six principals that pave the road on top of which we are activating our own and our customers' digital transformation journey.

The first two principals were: dreaming and ideation (re-imagining how we work, live, learn and play in a digital world) and partnerships (creating collaborative ecosystems, because nobody innovate alone).

Here are the next four principles:

3 out of 6: Co-Innovation, creating Solutions

When it is time to roll up our sleeves and show that we can solve our customer challenges and opportunities with digital capabilities and innovative solutions… our team is ready! In our Innovation Centre we define, build, and test such innovative solutions that are based on Cisco’s world class digital technologies and may include complementary third-party capabilities. Some of these third-party capabilities could be from a start-up, scale-up or existing software/hardware vendors. Our Eco-system Innovation Partner network boasts a large repository of revolutionary and innovative technologies that we co-innovate with to solve our customer challenges.

Today, we are working on solutions that

__help reduce energy by integrating WiFi data and HVAC control systems to enhance the responsiveness and performance of our built environment;

__connect real-time data from fixed and mobile things (internet of things) right into a leading GIS application to enrich and improve visualization and decision making.

__explore the possibilities of using IoT to improve the tracking, management, and well-being of patients, life-stock, and mobile assets.

__connect fire hydrants to networks to measure water leakage, loss, and theft, and can prevent damage because of frost.

__integrates LED light systems with our phone systems to serve as an intercom that improves the life safety of school children;

__make it possible to operate a gold mine from 1,000s miles away using autonomous vehicles, drones, and mobile technologies;

__transforms the customer experience for banks while streamlining transactions and maximizing revenue opportunities.

And this is just the beginning.

Not all innovation happens physically in the Cisco Innovation Centre. Innovation happens everywhere. For that reason we're expanding our influence and footprint. We've opened the doors of our first-ever remote innovation center at the London Hydro headquarters in London, Ontario. Here, we collaborate with the London Hydro team on solutions that will streamline and optimize the utility industry and deliver new cutting edge experiences and services for utility consumers.

Stay tuned for some announcements on this exciting partnership, and some more remote innovation centers throughout Canada that will focus on specific topics or industries.

4 out of 6: Demonstration and Showcase

In Cisco's Toronto Innovation Centre and Customer Experience Center, we showcase the impact of digital transformation and solutions that will inspire incremental innovation and promote commercialization of made-in-Canada digital capabilities. This feeds directly into our ability to dream more and dream bigger. It helps make digitization "real" and will energize and mobilize businesses, institutions, and industries to spring into action and take advantage of the capabilities in front of us. Our briefing center on the 29th floor in our Canadian Toronto-based headquarter is as impactful as it is breathtaking.

5 out of 6: Education and building Skills

What is it that Einstein said? Insanity is doing the same things and expecting different outcomes? If we have can dream, visualize, create, and proof new and better business outcomes, we better start doing things differently if we want to capitalize on them and scale across Canada (and export to the rest of the world).

Doing things differently requires new skills. Building these new digital skills starts with education and collaboration.

Cisco invests more than $8M annually to support and grow our Networking Academy program. In Canada, more than 200 institutions participate in the program and together we deliver leading edge curriculum in digital literacy, networking, internet of things, cyber security, and more, to more than 25,000 registered students. The Networking Academy also offers coding classes to kids in secondary education. This is where we need to ignite the innovation spark and get young Canadians excited about the opportunities of digital transformation.

We take this very serious. In addition to the Networking Academy, we also have launched the Women's Entrepreneur Circle, a program that promotes, celebrates and supports women entrepreneurship and teams them with some of the brightest co-op students from Waterloo University. Each year, we also actively hire co-op students to get some hands-on experience in our organization in support of work-integrated learning for our next generation workforce.

It doesn't stop here. Cisco team members take active roles in Program Advisory Committees (PAC) around the country to help colleges and universities update their curriculum with digital insights and expertise. After all, every company will be a digital company. For myself, I am proud past-Chair and member of the Building Automation PAC at George Brown College to help redesign education for our future building operators and facilities managers that will work in digital buildings.

6 out of 6: Investments for Scale and Growth

To support the commercial acceleration of the amazing innovations that come from our Innovation programs, we need to subsequently invest in those that bring the solutions to market or those that contribute with innovative new technologies. Cisco continues to invest heavily in our partners. We also invite (early stage) technologies to enroll in the Cisco Solutions Plus program where their capabilities get vetted and tested on Cisco technologies and we offer a rich portfolio of business acceleration services.

We also look for companies that offer compelling solutions and capabilities to become part of our Ecosystem Innovation Network. We've seen Canadian innovators be able to go to market with a global Cisco workforce and resell partners around the world. Some great examples of Canadian innovators that are now part of the Cisco family are Turnstyle and Aislelabs.

In Canada, we also secured $150 M to invest in Canadian entrepreneurs and start-ups. Most of this ventures fund is administered by three leading venture capital partners: Omers, McRock Capital, and Georgian Partners. Together we are putting our money where our mouths are: and are financially stimulating our Innovation economy.

Turning on the Cisco Canada Innovation Engine

When we do all this right, we help our customers flourish in the digital age, generate new and unprecedented opportunities and experiences, trigger the creations of new companies and industries, and grow our business and that of all the partners in our collaborative eco-system.

The combination of our investments and programs ignite an innovation engine that is good for Cisco, industry, cities and provinces, and…Canada.

We are in this together.

#innovation #digitaltransformation #cocreation #education #networkingacademy #ciscoventures #omers #mcrockcapital #demonstration

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