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INSIDE OUTSHIFT

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by Leah Ryder

Published on 01/17/2024
Last updated on 02/09/2024

How we’re driving a culture of innovation at Outshift

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When we launched Outshift by Cisco six months ago, it was a rebranding effort to focus and strengthen the efforts of an innovative group within Cisco that had been operating under the title of “Emerging Technologies & Incubation.”  

As the team has grown since its inception a few years ago, its evolution has gone beyond a simple brand exercise to make it a cool experience for our audiences. Exploring our identity as the source of the most future-forward technological innovation at Cisco has become an important reflection of how we want to commit to driving real change for our customers.  

It also began to highlight that building this identity also served the needs of our internal teams to have a point of pride on which to hang their professional hats. Purpose drives passion, and we wanted that purpose of being an "Outshifters” to become easily reflected and recognizable to the amazing innovators working here as part of themselves.  

So, after we settled on a name, logo, and purpose (“Innovation, full speed ahead!”), it was time to put that to work for our teams through a common language of identity and values. 

 

The Outshift ‘Spark’

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A brand becomes real when there is a culture behind it that fuels its spirit. Culture isn’t something you can invent out of thin air, either. It can be aspirational or provide guidance on how teams can work together in the best way possible, but it should also inherit a realness from what is naturally occurring across interactions and experiences in the organization.  

Therefore, while developing the updated brand, we spent a good amount of time observing and interviewing team members, new and old, about why they liked working at Outshift, their motivations, and hopes for the future of the group, and what fueled a great day at work for them. The result was a set of team values that aimed to bring the best of Outshift out of every team, every day: 

  1. Unleash Innovation: We eat innovation for breakfast. We don’t just play the game—we change it. We think outside the box and question the rules with good reason (and good intentions). We focus that innovation with controlled risk-taking to solve for the future. We’re fueled by the fact that we get to do something different every damn day. 

  2. Aim for Awesome Outcomes: We bias towards action! We are agile. We make commitments and are accountable for what we choose to do. Every action is measured twice, cut once. We arrive at outcomes as a team, with clarity of collaborative roles and responsibilities, so we move forward confidently. 

  3. Always Deliver Delight: We prioritize delight in every customer interaction. Through intentional velocity, elegant simplicity, and authenticity, we are completely focused on the quality of our customer interactions, from product to support to out in the world. We listen to our customers early and often to deliver their ideal experience. 

  4. One Team. One Goal: We are unique in Cisco, but we’re stronger together. We’re a global team, and we bond beyond time zones. We share a mutual respect to express our experiences, thoughts, concerns, and needs. We lead with empathy and choose collaborative over transactional every time. 

Some of these things we’re already exemplifying, and some of these are stretch goals we aim to meet, but having values with memorable titles that are easy to reference gives us a common language for when we are trying to evolve and improve processes and projects with the goal of achieving a better outcome for all Outshifters and our customers. 

 

What Outshift means to us now 

When we announced the new brand, we wrote: “As Outshifters, we know that innovation is nothing without action. But taking a moment to stop and reflect on how we show this identity to the world is an important step towards turning that action into something memorable and successful.” 

Since then, we have focused on turning that innovation into action. Here are a few examples: 

  • Our cloud application security solution, Panoptica, is now highly competitive in the market with industry-leading attack path analysis with proprietary graph-based technology; We can help you understand how much of your internal networks are visible to attackers for free, with our easy-to-use recon.cloud tool.  
  • As we dive into AI innovations, we have published video interviews with leading experts in the field in partnership with Venture Beat to give our customers insights into how to implement this technology into their organization for the long-term successfully.

Further to this, however, we have looked for ways to strengthen our identity as a team in ways small and large. From donating 1$ to non-profit organizations for every attendee at our Outshift Event booths (we raised over $8,000 last year!), to hosting internal labs, trainings, and All Hands to communicate our Outshift mission and values, and of course, a few swaggy t-shirts and stickers, we are focused on building both a string of successful emerging tech innovations and a really great place to work. Watch this video to hear more about Outshift from some of our own team members at a recent conference.  

P.S. We're looking for more visionaries to join our team of Outshifters—check out our latest career opportunities for more info. 

 

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