For enabling huge companies to figure out the future, faster
Once upon a time, Kate O’Keeffe designed bridal shoes for Cinderella Bella, a boutique firm she started in her native Australia. But at Cisco, her specialty is helping the networking technology giant and its customers solve business challenges in creative ways at a global scale. Through Cisco’s Services Excellence Innovation Center—which O’Keeffe created in 2010 to let employees identify, vote on, and implement promising ideas—she has helped Cisco achieve hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue. In 2015, O’Keeffe created Cisco Hyperinnovation Living Labs, or CHILL, which brings together major customers such as Costco, Nike, and Visa, for intensive brainstorming sessions with the aim of creating ideas big enough to change not only companies but entire business sectors. The goal of each lab is to come up with ideas with the potential to become billion-dollar products, services, or businesses, and then get them to market as quickly as possible. The initiative is still so new that its next challenge will be proving that the productive sessions it has held so far, in cities like San Francisco and Berlin, will indeed result in products and services that will change their industries.