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A Systems Approach to Creating an Innovation Funding Board

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End of Innovation Conference Keynote
A
Systems Approach to Creating an Innovation Funding Board
Craig
Wirkus, Cisco
Cisco's five pillar strategy for innovation: Build, Buy, Partner,
Invent, and Co-Develop.
Craig runs the Services Innovation Excellence Center for Cisco. The
mission of this team is 'to help teams to drive business impact through
innovation.'
SIEC seeks to foster an intrapreneurial mindset by having
conversations about pivots and by providing rigor and process. 'It's easy for
an engineer to disappear into a corner, create something that fails terribly
well in the market in two years.' The mindset requires toughness and fortitude.
'We've built an Incubation Framework,' says Wirkus, that is completely
agnostic, rich in examples, methods, and processes. The goal is to provide
tools.
'We also developed a Managing Innovation Playbook,' he says. SIEC also
offers innovation coaching and mentoring to provide business expertise,
technical expertise, and incubation expertise.
'Engineers don't know how to size a market opportunity, that's weird
juju to them, so we provide resources to help them,' Wirkus adds. We have also
begun a three-day Startup bootcamp that is focused on human-centered design. 'The
engineers get antsy when they have to deal with people rather than things for
the first day-and-a-half.' After this immersion into the people-side empathy, a
minimally viable product gets built.
What we've learned--
There's no silver bullet. Provide playbooks, coaching, and programs.
Stay rigorously customer-center.
Now, Craig spends time on their internal venture capital model. Using
an innovation funding board and set budget helps stimulate real process. 'We
treat people like adults, give a little guidance, but make it as simple as
possible,' he says. Due diligence is customer-centered learning'this is the
main point of the stress test.
Teams track implementation readiness as a progress measure against key
milestones. The outputs include: Opportunity Charter, an Initial
Discovery-driven Business Plan, an Interim Discovery-driven business plan, and
an Implementation Business Plan.
Keep in mind that this is just a framework with many innovation
funding boards, blending Lean Startup and Venture Capital concepts. We provide
the logistics and basic methods.
We are internal advisors and we have to prove our approach through
influence. We change the way the 'teams talk.'

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