A visionary group of CEOs, CIOs, and world leaders gathered recently to discuss digitization, innovation and reinvention at the 7th Cisco CEO.CIO Leadership Council, hosted by current Chairman and CEO John Chambers.
The two-and-a-half-day event featured appearances by The Rt. Honorable Tony Blair, former prime minister of Great Britain; and The Hon. Shimon Peres, 9th president of the State of Israel.
One urgent directive was prevalent throughout: the need to capture market transitions for global players to stay ahead of the game.
With the global economy in flux, attendees agreed that companies must merge information-age thinking with a digital blueprint to stay competitive. The key question every company should be asking is:
“Are we ready to fully capitalize on the value from the Internet of Everything?”
Cisco’s CEO observed that business leaders face a choice: disrupt or be disrupted. Transformation is key, but the old pace is no longer an option. Business has to move at “the pace of change, squared” or be left behind. Exponential thinking is needed at all levels of the collaborative chain.
Eight takeaways emerged from this gathering:
- Short-term thinking and twisting to meet quarterly objectives is not the path to innovation.
- New business models like those from Uber and Airbnb are changing the competitive landscape.
- Physical and virtual businesses are merging and everyone, in time, will be a tech company.
- Partnering is critical to seize opportunities in rapidly evolving markets.
- Every organization needs to make security a core competency. This is being fueled by the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the advanced skills of hackers.
- Mobility is trumping online presence, and millennials are the torchbearers. Get them, embrace them, or risk becoming irrelevant.
- The nature of work is changing; the new workforce will consist of value-driven jobs.
- Prepare to be disrupted, but play for the long-term.
“We’re at a tipping point,” John Chambers said in closing. “A change when you’re going to see every company become digital. And a time when strategic partnerships are going to become much more important.”
It was a point that resonated in a gathering whose attendees represented both the old guard and the new.
But perhaps, the most talked about moment came from Shimon Peres, who has seen six generations of business and geopolitical change, and still commands the attention of all. “If you’re going to dream great, don’t dream small,” he said.