Transitioning to a "Solutions Way of Thinking"

Blog Post created by johndal on Oct 7, 2009

I remember not to long ago where we focused on technology first, and presenting it to solve a particular business need. For example TelePresence being put into a room, and the customer using that to solve appropriate business issues or needs (ie traveling, saving travel costs). This view of technology still exists in most industries today.

We’ve transitioned to a solutions based approach and now look at the business need first, and seeing what technologies we can offer (or even modify) to resolve that business problem. Take Cisco’s own implementation for example. We wanted to make our employees healthier and have better access to health personnel. While historical solutions may have been to open a series of clinics or have Doctors on-site, we took advanced technology and put it to work. Soon after, we used Cisco TelePresence technology to connect employees with remote medical personnel with the ability to see and interact with them and even integrating medical devices  for a real-time medical diagnosis for many issues.

There are certainly hurdles in this type of thinking and a required strategy to overcome them. For example:

  • Obtaining buy-in to different uses for technology – Many people, especially those who do not like technology, may resist change and not embrace the different uses of technology. We must understand, and help them understand, that this solution may not be for everyone, but can benefit many.  There are many people that are not comfortable with using TelePresence to see medical personnel, but there are probably an equal amount of people that prefer it to going to a doctors office and waiting in a waiting room (then a smaller waiting room) for what seems like forever. (Those Home and Garden magazines are only so interesting)
  • Being able to think about out of scope applications – We often think of a specific technology as “fit-for-purpose” appliance. We need to get ourselves away from that and think about what else can we use that technology for. Or even, how can we enhance this technology to use it for a business problem.

If we can see doctors remotely using technology, imagine what applications TelePresence and other Cisco technologies can be used for.  I strongly believe changing the way we interpret technology vs business problems can create unthinkable opportunities. This out of the box thinking can certainly challenge us, and even make us feel that some things are too far fetched, but presenting the impossible leads to true innovation. As Albert Einstein said, “If at first an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.”  I feel it is today that some absurd ideas can become fascinating realities with the use of advanced technologies that exist today.