Apr 27, 2021

Cisco helps South Korea fast-track digital transformation

Kate Birch
3 min
Cisco launches digitisation programme in South Korea aimed at fostering digital inclusion  and supporting the government’s inclusive pandemic recovery
Cisco launches digitisation programme in South Korea aimed at fostering digital inclusion and supporting the government’s inclusive pandemic recovery...

Following the debut of its collaboration with Japan to help advance digitisaton, Cisco has announced that it has partnered with South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, under its Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, to help accelerate digitsation across the country and fast-track an inclusive recovery from the pandemic.

Through its renowned CDA program, which aims to stimulate global digitisation, Cisco is currently working national, state and local governments in 40 countries worldwide to help accelerate their national digitsation agendas. 

Strategically aligned with the government’s Digital New Deal strategy, which has been created to trigger recovery initiatives from the pandemic and help prepare for future growth through advanced digital capacity, the program further follows the government’s I-Korea 4.0, a policy brand that aims to develop the Fourth Industrial Revolution with intelligent technologies.

As part of the CDA program, which helps “power an inclusive future for all through innovative technology initiatives like our 5G and cloud infrastructure solutions,” says Cisco’s People, Policy & Purpose Officer, Fran Katsoudas, Cisco has already helped South Korea’s digital transformation in education delivering free video conferencing solutions to educational institutions during the pandemic.

Going forward, the program will support the government and businesses in “achieving their economic and digitisation goals as we recover from the global pandemic”, adds Katsoudas. 

What will the South Korea CDA program achieve?

The CDA program in South Korea will drive various initiatives, with specific focus on the following areas:

  • 5G B2B Cisco will drive 5G B2B technology innovation by working closely with Kwangwoon University. Cisco will help develop and test new 5G network solutions to bring more value to enterprises and enhanced network experiences to customers. 
  • Cloud Cisco will integrate its cloud solutions with the largest Korean cloud vendor ‘Naver Cloud’ to run on the cloud market. Cisco will provide convenient and reliable services to customers and will be able to promote cloud market activation. Cisco will strengthen the hybrid-cloud enablement in Korea.  
  • Smart factory Cisco will contribute to South Korea’s social-economic development with its industry-leading security and cloud technologies. Cisco will collaborate with POSCO ICT, a global IT & OT solutions provider, to develop advanced security solutions for smart factories by integrating Cisco Stealthwatch with POSCO ICT’s Poshield solution.  
  • Education Cisco will support digital transformation in education by offering free solutions and equipment to educational institutions across the country. Cisco will continue its commitment to digitization in education by expanding its support for building connected smart campuses and offering more Cisco Networking Academy programs. As part of these efforts, Cisco will integrate its collaboration solutions with Learning Management Systems (LMSs) of universities and support students and IT workforce with next generation IT skills and knowledge.

“Cisco Korea will do its best to accelerate the digital and economic growth of the country by leading development of technologies and infrastructure, adoption and use of technologies both in the public and privates, and cultivating the next generation IT talents,” says Bum-Coo Cho, President at Cisco Korea.

Cisco’s CDA program in 40 countries

Cisco’s CDA program is operating in 40 countries worldwide, with Cisco working with national, state, and local governments to accelerate their national digitization agendas, co-develop cutting-edge solutions, and deliver beneficial services to their citizens more effectively. Cisco CDA programs have supported the creation of net-new jobs, GDP growth, and helped nurture innovation ecosystems.

From Israel, India and Ireland, to Greater China, Chile and Columbia, Cisco’s co-operation with the governments of 40 countries impacts 60% of the world’ population contributing to 75% of global GDP. 

Most recently, Cisco announced its collaboration with Japan’s government with the aim of support Japan’s Society 5.0 vision to help stimulate the country’s economic growth, enhance quality of life, build a digitally inclusive society and a workforce of the future. 

Share article

Jun 9, 2021

Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business

Kate Birch
3 min
Teaching the MIT Sloan Executive Education program at Asia School of Business, Prof. Padurean talks innovation, smart skills and digital transformation

As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?

In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.

You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?

They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.

Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening. 

I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something. 

How important are smart skills in leadership today?

Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.

I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other. 

So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?

Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’. 

Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here


Share article