BeLux Blog

Cisco Belux Innovation Challenge, a new co-creation framework for business value

March 22, 2019

We have an exciting week coming up at Cisco Belgium. Together with our partner Impact Valley, an innovation agency, we will run a hackathon with no less than eight customers to find answers to a business challenge their organisation is facing today. Welcome to the first Cisco Belux Innovation Challenge !

In our technology sector, we are all seeing the need for digital transformation, the impact and also the benefits of coming trends such as automation, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, cybersecurity, APIs and platform economies. For organizations though, these technology trends are often still a bit conceptual.

Innovation is not a walk in the park

Therefore it isn’t easy to grasp the innovation potential for their own business processes. Secondly, organizations often find it difficult to embed them within their current IT roadmap and roll them out in their infrastructure. Imagine we could accelerate the adoption to address some of our customer current IT and business challenges.

That’s why we’ve decided to facilitate a co-creation journey taking innovation to the next level by leveraging our existing Cisco solutions and unlocking their capabilities. We have created a model where it becomes easier to integrate new technologies, unlock their capabilities and as such accelerate innovation to address concrete business challenges.

Facilitate innovation

With the Cisco Belux Innovation Challenge (CiscoBIC), we are launching a hackathon process that covers ideation, development and validation. Each of our 8 teams will come out of the hackathon with a concrete pretendotype* impacting their IT and bringing business relevance while at the same time gaining new innovation competencies and skills. It will allow them to present a fully validated, impactful & feasible concept in a clear way to any stakeholders they will need to further develop their project in the future.

To facilitate this innovation programme and hackathon mode, Impact Valley has trained – over the past few months – 10 Cisco collaborators to become ‘innovation coach’. The coaches will help each team with a 4-phase approach for innovation to discover, design, define and ultimately develop a concrete solution. A group of Cisco and industry experts will also be at the disposal of the teams to validate the ideas and help remove obstacles. Each team will be invited to pitch their solution in front of jury.

Diversity is a must

Companies were invited for this first edition of the Cisco Belux Innovation Challenge and the spots were quickly filled. What strikes me most is that the participants have multiple backgrounds which makes the ideation process richer and stronger to validate the business relevance and feasibility of the solution. We have participants from both IT, business, marketing divisions and also from their existing eco-systems. A team consists of 6 to 8 participants so it is a big commitment from our customers. They see the innovation potential, skills uptake for their staff and communications perspectives around this new experience.

We proposed three types of challenges:
1) Automation challenge: to increase a customer’s agility through the automation of their Cisco infrastructure;
2) Meraki challenge: to create new business experiences by connecting their Meraki environment with business applications; or
3) Their own business or technology challenge

Why does Cisco organize hackathons?

With our latest software-defined innovations, we are offering a secure platform for digital business which allows customers to integrate business processes and applications directly with our programmable infrastructure. The Cisco Belux Innovation Challenge will allow us to increase awareness and create proof points – through real and impactful use cases of 8 Innovative Cisco customers – of the possibilities of digital transformation acceleration through the leverage of the Cisco’s Secure Platform for Digital Business, delivering value beyond connectivity. With this approach, we allow customers to make it real, possible & relevant for their business.

Stay tuned for the outcome … and follow us on twitter #CiscoBIC19

* A pretendotype is a way to test the idea of a new product / service quickly and cheaply by creating extremely simplified versions of the product / service to help validate the following hypothesis “If we made this product, would customers use it ? “.


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