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Monday, October 27, 2008

On Seeing The Future

A very interesting interview in the November issue of HBR on foreseeing, creating and executing to reach the future from the legendary John Chambers, Chairman & CEO of Cisco. The whole interview is about business strategy. His perspective of market transition as a precursor to disruption is an interesting read.

Market transition occurs when there is a subtle but clear disruptive shift. It could be social, economic, or technological, and it begins many years before the market actually grasps its significance and adapts to it. A market transition gives you a glimpse of a new opportunity to take market share or move into new market adjacencies, and it can take many forms"

Cisco like others in the high-tech sector is confounded with challenges of long development lead times and as a market leader has the constant challenge of predicting six to eight years ahead in the volatile technology market by recognizing early warning signals.Cisco's big bet is typical of such challenges. John outlines how he has geared the organization for capitalizing on these market shifts by giving his command-and-control style and making decision making a highly collaborative process. He claims that with such mechanisms in place, Cisco which used to carry out one or two initiatives a year currently successfully handles dozens at a time.

A very interesting perspective delivered in a matter-of-fact manner.

After you read the interview, listen to John Chambers “Can IT Strengthen the Economy?” interview at the recent Gartner conference just released at ZDNet.

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