Like any big, innovative corporations, IBM has a lot of projects underway, but 10 of them have a unique genesis: they were born from a worldwide, electronic suggestion session among IBM employees.
A year ago, some 56,000 IBM clients, employees and family members gathered online from more than 160 countries for InnovationJam, a focused discussion on world-changing issues and how they could be approached with technology. The result of the three-day session was 37,000 posts. Those suggestions and ideas were winnowed down to a more manageable number and refined even further in a second Jam a couple of months later.
From that session emerged 10 new possibilities for partnerships and market-ready offerings. Since then, those projects have been under development, collectively funded to the tune of $100 million.
Some of those are:
- Real-time Translation Services: Seeking to develop real-time translation capabilities across major languages for high-potential applications, industries and environments, such as healthcare, government and travel and transportation.
- 3D Internet: Partnering with others to take the best of virtual worlds and gaming environments to build a seamless, standards-based 3D.
- Branchless Banking for the Masses: Developing means to allow financial institutions to provide basic, profitable, banking services (checking, savings, payments, micro lending) to often remote, inaccessible populations in fast-growing emerging markets.
InnovationJam was just one of several Jams undertaken by IBM. The company used the Jam approach to establish a new set of corporate values, for example. It has also shared the technique with clients. Earlier this year automotive suppliers held a Jam to address changes in their industry.