Cisco Systems
Building An In-House Innovation Capability
The Challenge
Help us rethink the way we approach innovation internally
Project Highlight
“What we’ve designed together with Cisco is a completely new way to deliver innovative solutions in a B2B context.”
In 2013, Cisco Systems approached Propellerfish to help it radically rethink the way it approached innovation. Already ranked in the top 50 Most Innovative Companies by Boston Consulting Group, Cisco was looking for a way to stay ahead of the curve. For Propellerfish, it was an opportunity to have real impact on an organization whose technology was already transforming organizations, governments and society at large.

Focused initially on building a single elite innovation team, our work quickly expanded into creating internal innovation processes, training key staff on our ways of working, and tackling specific innovation briefs within the organization across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific.


A new Cisco service delivered in partnership with Propellerfish to tackle the toughest innovation challenges facing Cisco customers around the World.

Underlying all of this work was an emphasis on customer-driven innovation as the key to success for Cisco. With this in mind, in 2015 Cisco and Propellerfish launched a unique, long-term partnership to deliver innovation directly to Cisco customers around the world. The partnership combines Propellerfish’s ability to use a human-centered lens to break down complex problems with Cisco’s technology and internal expertise to create high-impact solutions that are immediately actionable at scale.

Over the course of the partnership, we have designed bespoke digital solutions for leading car manufacturers, key players in the German education system, financial institutions and many more. The results have yielded solutions to Cisco customers’ biggest challenges and 9 figures in revenue opportunities for Cisco Systems. As a result, this partnership has become a key part of Cisco’s growth strategy, has been tied to the personal KPIs of senior leaders within the organization, and resulted in some of our most exciting projects to date.