Cisco is claiming to have cracked the secret to creating start-up-like innovation inside a billion dollar corporation.
The networking giant created an emerging technology business group last year that looks for new ideas that have the potential to turn into a $1bn market within five years. Its target is to yield 20 new ventures by 2012.
Marthin De Beer, executive vice president for emerging markets at Cisco, described the current pipeline as "tremendously positive".
Nearly 18 months after the initial launch, an internal Cisco wiki has already yielded 400 ideas for new businesses.
Cisco chief executive John Chambers said earlier this week that he expects to promote TelePresence to a regular business group this year.
Company incubators have a poor track record in delivering actual business results, according to De Beer.
Innovators and entrepreneurs tend to suffocate when they work for large corporations, and executives often prove less supportive when incubators start creating products that threaten the firm's core business and profit margins.
But De Beer is confident that Cisco will be able to break that spell. "We looked at what other companies have done and why they failed," he said in an interview at the N etworkers at Cisco Live user conference in Anaheim, CA. "Our biggest innovation is that we innovated in the process of innovation."
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