Corporate Cultural Change


Designing new rituals to trigger cultural transformation

Area of action
Future of work, Technologies for social innovation

Co-design, Strategic Design, Community Building, Futures & Foresight


Cisco Corporate Cultural Change

The project

In the moment of transition to a new business model, the relationships between a company’s employees, partners and clients must also adapt to the change taking place, which is not only organisational but also cultural.
Cisco commissioned Shifton to facilitate the ongoing cultural change phase through the co-design of new rituals to be introduced into the life of the company.
The co-design process has mapped the values, wishes and needs of people who are now adapting to new collaborative roles and processes.
The new co-designed rituals enhance the talents and skills of the teams involved, inspiring the transformation of the entire ecosystem of Cisco relationships.

The challenge

How to trigger a cultural transformation that leads to greater awareness of the new way of interacting between Cisco, clients and partners?

The strategy

A company is made up of the people who work there and the relationships they build between themselves. To facilitate and enhance relationships between people in a phase of rapid change, Shifton has designed a co-design path of new rituals to be introduced into Cisco’s complex work ecosystem, which includes employees, customers and partners.
Well-designed rituals are experiences that are out of the ordinary, repeated and repeatable, capable of triggering new ways of interacting between people. A ritual generates cohesion, creates a sharing of horizons of meaning and facilitates adaptation to structural changes.

Cisco Corporate Cultural Change / Strategia

The process

We started with exploratory interviews with people inside Cisco, clients and partners, to understand their needs and aspirations. With the Appreciative Inquiry technique, we collected the success stories that have taken place in the Cisco ecosystem, to bring out the resources that are already available to the transformation process underway.
In the Desk Research phase we studied national and international cases, to understand what led similar paths to success.
In the design workshop, we worked with the Cisco team, partners and clients to identify four ritual ideas that could facilitate the change process.
From the co-design, ideas emerged that could inspire the transformation of the entire ecosystem of relationships according to some guiding principles: client-centred approach, creation of a sense of community for partners, enhancement of Cisco as Thought Leader.
Finally, the implementation of the rituals was entrusted to a pioneering team within Cisco: ambassadors and facilitators of the ongoing cultural transformation, who can inspire change from within.

Cisco Corporate Cultural Change / Processo
Cisco Corporate Cultural Change / Processo

The impact

The co-design process made it possible not only to identify the resources already present in Cisco that facilitate change, but also to recognise and defuse some potential obstacles.
In the co-design workshop we made use of the talents directly involved in the ongoing change process, creating a space for sharing in which the value brought by each team has been recognised and celebrated.
The rituals devised reflect the client-centred approach at the heart of Cisco’s transformation process and clearly convey, externally as well as internally, a vision oriented to the future, open to innovation, able to adapt to the global transformations of the economic system.
Thanks to the rituals designed, Cisco emerges as a “thought leader”, able to inspire the evolution of its relational ecosystem and become a model of cultural change.
Even beyond company boundaries.

Cisco Corporate Cultural Change / Impatto

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