Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 12 News List

IBM’s InnovationJam 2008 attracts large posts of ideas

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

International Business Machines Corp’s (IBM) three-day InnovationJam 2008 yesterday generated 3,909 postings in the first 12 hours on proposed innovative business ideas from employees and more than 900 select companies and institutions worldwide.

Supply chain, manage change and global integration were the most talked about themes, while interests, failure and utilities were the least discussed.

Netherlands-based IMB-er Peter Korsten, host of “The REAL top three factors for partnering success,” received replies for possible solutions such as educating both the technical and the functional teams so that they are on the same page, making improvements in IBM’s cross-country and cross-company exchange programs, as well as creating clear incentives to empower teams on both sides.

“We call this kind of conversation a Jam. It is IBM’s Web 2.0 tool for business collaboration — a massively scaled online discussion centered on strategic, business-critical issues,” Sophia Tong (童至祥), IBM’s country general manager, told a media briefing yesterday.

Ten local companies and more than 500 IBM staffers in the country, representing a 25 percent participation rate, logged on to the Web site. The registered Taiwanese companies and institutions include Delta Electronics Inc (台達電子), ZyXel Communications Corp (合勤科技) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院).

IBM initiated IBM Jam in 2001. In 2006’s Jam, the resulting ideas were dubbed “Next Five in Five,” referring to the next five innovations that will come in the next five years.

More than US$100 million (NT$3.23 billion) were invested in 2006 and last year to pursue the new businesses generated by 2006’s InnovationJam.

Participants at IBM’s annual Jam sessions sign a waiver allowing all of their ideas posted on the site to be public intellectual property. The winning ideas get funded; however, the contributors are not rewarded directly.

Without this alignment of incentives, IBM’s InnovationJam is a far cry from Google’s inherent strong culture of innovation and experimentation.

At Google, engineers are encouraged to take 20 percent of their time to develop new products or services, or to provide enhancements to current offerings.

This continuous “20 percent time” innovation environment often results in new beta offerings provided to the public at the Google Labs Web site.

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