6 min read

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Published on 05/07/2024
Last updated on 06/18/2024

Behind the scenes: Crafting Outshift's AI vision through visual storytelling


When Outshift’s brand creative lead, Cindy Duong, saw a moment to make a bold statement on AI, she jumped at the chance.

Outshift’s vision is clear: to pioneer real-world solutions for the next generation of technology. The creation of the "An Era of GenAI & Human Collaboration" video shows a commitment to push boundaries and a belief in the transformative power of AI when combined with human ingenuity.  

Follow the journey of Outshift's AI Anthem video, from the initial idea to the final video that celebrates human potential and AI.

What sparked the idea for this video?  

As our focus turned to AI, and I started to see threads of this narrative within our business, it felt like the right time to make a statement about what innovation in AI means at Outshift and have this as a marker for our AI brand story. If you don’t make the statement, the market makes the statement for you—or people begin to create a narrative to fill the silence, and I didn’t want that for Outshift.

Why is it important for Outshift by Cisco to take a stance on AI? Why now?

At Outshift, we’re all about taking risks and making big bets. I didn’t feel it would’ve been very ‘on brand’ of me to wait for a top-down leadership directive to create something like this. I knew that would take more time, and we needed to move fast because the more we move forward with AI, the more opinions people will have. I also hadn’t seen the AI story being told like we were trying to tell it—with the importance of improving human potential and I felt people needed that reminder. 

How was the messaging created?

It was important to me to acknowledge that we know AI is a scary place right now. There’s a lot of criticism in the landscape. Many of us are not subject matter experts on AI, which lends itself to people being afraid of something so new and powerful.

But none of this exists without humans. Humans power AI. Cisco puts people first and at Outshift we’re looking for ways to help power human potential through emerging technologies. We needed this video to have a human-centered script and messaging for that reason.  

I wanted this video to make a bold statement that would clear a path for us, drive our products, and say, ‘This is what we stand for. You can trust us in the AI space.’ Being human first and reminding people that humans are behind AI is a big part of that.  

As the core theme of this video is about how AI can enhance human potential, how did you collaborate using AI to create this video? 

Initially, I wanted to make the video entirely with AI tools, but this was complicated given some of the nuances and limitations currently with Generative AI. I wasn’t sure how we were going to do this, but I thought, ’Let’s give it a shot.’ 

At Cisco, we carefully consider the tools we use, and with AI, that is tenfold. I spent months meeting with the Responsible AI Assessment and legal team to understand what onboarding AI tools might look like—which would require months of vetting. 

In talking with legal, we discovered a bit of a loophole where I, as an employee, could not use AI tools that weren’t yet approved, but agencies and vendors could. Cisco hadn’t yet considered this on a larger scale since AI was so new. So, in trying to figure out how to get this video made, we also helped uncover a gap in the process and helped secure future ethical and responsible AI usage for others. That was really rewarding.

What were some of your favorite parts of the video?

I still feel inspired by our script and the words we used. I love the visual storytelling we did with the actor we chose and what he was wearing. I wanted him to feel like Outshift personified and be someone that others may be able to see themselves in.  

We were strategic in the footage we used in the collage that the actor is looking at, too. I wanted those to be areas Outshift, and our customers are focused on and could speak to.  

Our original storyboard had much darker lighting and felt ominous. It took me a minute to figure out why it just felt so weird and scary—which is not what we wanted—when we shifted the lighting, it totally transformed the tone and changed everything. That was a big moment for the team.

How does this video speak to the work being done at Outshift?

Cisco is dedicated to creating technology that unlocks human potential, and I see Outshift as the driving force of that charter. We’re creating tools and leveraging AI as a force multiplier for human potential. Technology cannot exist or survive without us.

When I look at Outshift, we’re an incubator that’s putting out remarkable technologies—but there’s so many humans behind the operation of it. None of this exists without a bunch of brilliant humans. We couldn’t even pursue a lot of these ideas without a human who knows how to use the technology to lead us.

And I didn’t want that to be left unsaid—that we don’t see that as being true and a motivator for why we do the work we do.

What are you hoping people take away from this video?

I hope it helps people reframe their skepticism about AI and see that, by embracing the technology, they have more power and control over their participation and how they wield the tool itself.  

You can also be part of the solution because if you’re fearful of bad actors in AI, and you’re a good actor—by not understanding the tool you’re also missing the opportunity to prevent harm. For us at Cisco, so many of our tools are security-based because we know that there are always going to be bad actors in the world, and we need to get ahead of it as good actors to prevent that harm.  

I hope this video will empower people to approach AI with a new mindset and realize that it’s meant to help propel all of us forward.

What would you say to people who are still afraid of AI?

We don’t know the future. We don’t know how important AI will be. But it’s quickly proving to be embedded into our lives and not something we can ignore any longer. The less scary we can make it…the better.  

If you are afraid of AI and need someone to guide you, I hope you know you can look to Outshift and Cisco to do that. If your values align to what we’re saying here, we’re the right place to follow. And if you trust no one else, you can trust us. I hope that ultimately comes across.

Watch the Outshift AI Anthem video here and join creatives like Cindy Duong who are telling the story of AI.  

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