the global problem solvers
Cisco’s vision to impact 1 billion people by 2025
Cisco, the world’s largest networking company, set a goal in 2015 to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025. In 2017 they launched the first Global Problem Solvers Challenge, a national competition which aims to recognize student entrepreneurs that actively promote and accelerate the adoption of breakthrough technologies, products and services that drive current economic development and/or solve social or environmental problems.
Their most recent initiative for global problem solving, launched this year at ISTE 2018, is called GPS: The Series. It is an animated program that introduces Middle School students to complex problem solving through critical thinking, social entrepreneurship, team collaboration, and the use of technology to accelerate impact.
The series lands in schools during a critical development period and inflection point in STEM adoption, the purpose of which is to empower a generation of global problem solvers, giving them the tools they need to drive and thrive (not just survive) inside our increasingly digital economy. The basis for the series calls on a group of superhero teens each with a unique skill. Their leader is a female character named Putri. Along with her sidekick owl named Huti, they travel the globe in the GPS airship solving social, economic, and environmental problems, such as lack of access to clean water, food, and education.
By seeding technology-based problem-solving inside classrooms while introducing students to social entrepreneurship and critical thinking, and in combination with Net Academy and Cisco’s network of nonprofit and NGO partners, the goal of positively impacting 1 billion people is quite within reach – and ahead of schedule. In 2017 alone, Cisco employees donated 358,000 volunteer hours, their greenhouse gas emissions companywide were reduced by 41%, 154 million people were positively impacted as reported by their non-profit grantees, they contributed $355 million in cash and in-kind contributions (including $274K through their own Cisco NetAcademy), and they delivered technology-based programs to 7.8 million students in 180 countries.
“Anyone can be a global problem solver. I think what we have is a more empowered world, where individuals can help change the world. We want to make sure that this empowerment can be turned into action for good. It is a really great opportunity and a terrific moment.” – Tae Yoo – Senior VP, Cisco Corporate Affairs