Cisco announced the I-Prize competition, funding of up to $10 million for the team submitting the winning idea that could make Cisco $1 billion in a five to seven year period. The announcement was made at the opening of their Globalization Center East in Bangalore, India.
It’s a new approach for Cisco who has proven time and again they are an acquisition juggernaut. If this generates good enough ideas it could represent yet another avenue for acquiring innovation created outside Cisco. Interesting enough is that it will also expose Cisco to ideas that don’t win the prize, offering multiple options for gaining external innovation.
$10 million though is not much when it comes to creating products, especially if they are going to be subsumed back into a large company like Cisco at what could prove to be too early a stage. Cisco risks bringing the new technologies in house too soon rather than let them incubate and prove out more fully as the startups they acquire typically do.
Either way, it’s a novel approach for Cisco and will be interesting to see what shakes out of the competition.