Cisco in talks on contest spin-offs


A NUMBER of organisations are in negotiations with Cisco to use the technology platform underpinning “Your Country Your Call” to run similar competitions.

The website for the competition to come up with an idea to kickstart the Irish economy attracted 117,000 visitors from 178 countries in 10 weeks, with close to 9,000 entries submitted. The two winning proposals, which will each receive a €100,000 cash prize, are due to be announced at an event in the Aviva Stadium tonight.

Cisco, in partnership with software house BrightIdea, created and hosted the website which allowed competition entries to be lodged, viewed and commented on. Cisco is now in advanced negotiations with the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Greece to run a similar competition there. It is understood the value of technology and services provided by Cisco for the project totalled almost $500,000.

Cisco became involved with the initiative after Your Country Your Call board member, Austin Hughes, a senior AIB executive, read an article in Harvard Business Review about Cisco’s internal i-Prize competition to source new business ideas for the company.

From that initial contact Cisco executives worked with the Your Country Your Call team, chaired by President Mary McAleese’s husband Martin, to tease out the issues around the web-interface for the competition.

“We worked through each of the stages – how do you post ideas, are they visible to the public, can people vote on them, how do you remove them if they are inappropriate?” explains Damian Dunne, marketing director with Cisco Europe.

Cisco also took the unusual decision to host the website, as Your Country Your Call did not have any infrastructure of its own. “That meant there was a significant reputational risk if anything went wrong,” says Dunne.

While there were significant amounts of “online bluster” from people threatening to bring down the site, Dunne says there were no serious attacks on it.