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IBM Jams: Big Blue Goes to the BOP
Robert Katz, 11 May 07
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Last November, I wrote about IBM's Innovation Jam, which brought together 150,000 employees, clients, and family members to brainstorm and "jam" on new ideas for the world's largest IT company. The ten best ideas identified over a 3-month period were funded by IBM's research arm to the tune of $10 million each (!!). Well, IBM is at it again - and I am happy to report that this time, the jam is open to everyone and they've focused on a topic close to our Worldchanging hearts.

The "ThinkPlace Challenge" is a 3-week exercise designed to generate ideas for IBM innovation and strategy teams. Of specific interest is the company's newly-formed World Development Initiatve, which is essentially a base of the pyramid tiger team comprised of 30-odd employees from all over the company. This is very cool. Companies don't usually start with a tiger team; BOP projects tend to begin on the corporate responsibility side and then slowly, gradually (if at all) port over to the business units. Kudos to IBM for getting this structural element right.

In any case, this is your chance to seed Worldchanging ideas with IBM, and possibly even see your idea get funded. They've set up a great web site that serves as a super-wiki - browse over to submit ideas, comment, judge, etc. The criteria are relatively straightforward: ideas should emphasize collaborative innovation and new business models enabled by information technology to advance the African economy.

The ThinkPlace launched on Tuesday, and there are already over 60 ideas. IBM will keep this jam open for another 2+ weeks, so don't wait to submit. It takes about 5-10 minutes from start to finish. Don't miss out on an opportunity to put your ideas into action. IBM is serious about research and development, and they take these innovation exercises very seriously.

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