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“Innovation is a continuous process. It’s not something you take care of when you have a spare moment. It has to be part of your culture, it has to be deeply rooted.”

Today, on our Innovation Rockstar stage: Sanjeev Mervana, Vice President of Product Management, Emerging Technologies & Incubation (ET&I) from the multinational technology company Cisco. With more than two decades of experience at Cisco, Sanjeev leads the ET&I team in sourcing, developing, testing, and managing new innovations, and incubation ideas that ultimately drive Cisco’s product-led growth.

In this talk,  it’s all about change, new innovation approaches, culture, partners, and leadership. With Sanjeev, we dive into Cisco’s first-ever Bold Bets, an expanded new approach to driving future innovation and incubation, and learn that true innovation can only work by aggregating diverse talent with the right design partners.

If you want to learn more about Cisco’s bold innovation approach but also what big topics are next on the agenda, don’t miss this episode.


The episode at a glance:

  • Who is Sanjeev? (00:00:55)
  • Sanjeev, please complete the 3 sentence starters… (00:02:08)
  • Getting to know Cisco: 
    • How is Cisco structured, and how does it operate? (00:03:15)
    • How does Cisco prepare for change? (00:04:33)
    • How does Cisco assure to align with its strategy facing so many new upcoming products and technologies? (00:06:28)
    • How does Cisco prepare for nascent technologies, such as the Metaverse? (00:10:49)
  • Thinking bold:
    • How does Cisco’s “bold bets” different from other innovation projects and ventures? (00:13:25)
    • Is there a good way to not get overwhelmed by the number of ideas you get from the different sources, and if so, how do you approach that? (00:16:13)
  • The “Either-Or” game (00:17:24)
  • About culture, process, and people in the context of Cisco’s “bold bets”: 
    • A walk through the “bold bets” innovation process (00:20:28)
    • How to find and motivate the right people to work on bold bets (00:23:28)
    • How to keep motivation and participation rates high over time (00:27:09)
  • A deep dive into Cisco’s leadership culture
    • To what extent is excellent leadership a driver for innovation, specifically when seeking the next bold bet? (00:29:33)
    • How to identify the right leaders for the right key positions (00:30:51)
  • Sanjeev’s 3 key takeaways of this episode (00:32:27)
  • A look into the future: What to expect from Sanjeev and his team in the future (00:34:27)
  • Sanjeev’s Innovation Rockstar moment (00:36:46)

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And for those of you who would like to answer Sanjeev’s call and learn about some of Cisco’s latest innovations like Emerging Tech Incubation, click here:
Or maybe you’d even like to apply to Cisco yourself, head on over to:


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