IBM Europe Virtual Career Exploration for Graduates – Nov 15 and Nov 20

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Greater IBMers, is your son or daughter getting ready to graduate?  Or do you know a forward-thinking graduate who might be interested in a career with IBM?

IBM Career Exploration is an exciting virtual careers fair aimed at forward-thinking university students to give them an opportunity to engage in an information exchange with IBM, and learn how they can make a difference for themselves, for IBM and for the world.

The events will be held on November 15 for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and November 20 for UK and Ireland.  Virtual doors will open at 10am for students to log in, and the event starting with the first webcast at 10.30am. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore career development and continuing education programs at IBM; understand how to build and apply their expertise and further their networks; and learn how to best position themselves in a highly competitive job market.

If you know a forward-thinking graduate who might benefit from this experience, please direct them to the links below to register in advance:

Why Work at IBM?

More:

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- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Virtual Job Fair for IBM Research Africa on Dec 5

The African continent accounts for 14 percent of the world’s population and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. With a growth rate expected to average 7 percent annually over the next 20 years, Africa is poised to become a leading source of innovation in a variety of industries. With this growth comes many challenges spanning traffic congestion to the delivery of fresh water.

If you have what it takes to help solve these grand challenges, the IBM Recruiting team invites professors, scientists and qualified university students to participate in a Research Virtual Recruiting Event for several open positions at our new lab in Nairobi, Kenya.  The event will take place on 5 December and you can participate in several ways.

For details visit:

http://www.research.ibm.com/labs/africa/recruiting/

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection via Chris Sciacca, IBM Research Communications

6 Ways To NOT Be Creative

Graphic credit:  Braid Creative

Graphic credit: Braid Creative

‘Uncreative’ – not having or involving imagination or original ideas

Everyone is creative, but maybe not all the time.  And every team and company has the potential of being remarkably innovative and creative, but may not always achieve that lofty goal.  Why not?  There are a lot of things that inhibit our potential to be creative and original.  Even the most committed ‘creatives’ may run into these obstacles from time to time, so it’s probably helpful to know what to avoid if you want to stay on a path of creativity and innovation.  So here are six ways to be uncreative and non-innovative.

1.  Have computer problems…anytime

I actually got the idea for this post over the weekend, and was looking forward to writing it up on Monday morning as I didn’t have a meeting scheduled until 11am.  However, lo and behold, since my computer had been shut down and sleeping for the past week (as I was on vacation), it decided to be ornery when I woke it up on Monday morning.  Nothing major, but enough of a hassle that I spent most of the morning calling the help desk, re-installing software, and re-booting my machine.  Needless to say, my time for a creative post was shot.  Any device that you may use for your creativity would be included here, so that may include mobile devices, network, etc.  Whatever time you may have set aside to work on something creative can easily be eaten up by dealing with computer problems.

2.  Never walk away from the screens

family

Graphic Credit: Russ Adcox

However, staying on the screens all the time is also a good way to be uncreative.  Note that I got my idea for this post over the weekend, when I was AWAY from the screens.  While there are a lot of really creative things you can do on the screens, particularly with all the innovative mobile apps that are available these days, a critical part of original thinking is to let your brain actually step away from focusing on the topic or problem at hand, so there can be connections made while you focus on something else…the proverbial light-bulb going off while you are walking in the park or riding a bike or doing something else.  If you’ve ever read Julia Cameron’s book, ‘The Artist’s Way’, each week focuses on a different aspect of nurturing creativity, and one of the weekly exercises she has you do is refrain from ALL external entertainment, which would include screens (televisions, computers, mobile devices), as well as reading newspapers, magazines, etc.  The idea is, you gain both creative time and fresh perspective if you refrain from wasting it on external entertainment – ah, instead of reading a novel or watching the latest Ted Talk on YouTube, perhaps you are creating your own instead.  So, to avoid being original like that, just stay on the screens!

3. ‘Eat that frog’….all the time

Graphic credit:  Brian Tracy

Graphic credit: Brian Tracy

Related to the above idea, if you focus on your task list all the time, that’s another good way to kill creativity.  And, if you are like most people, your task list may be endless.  You may have heard of the book by Brian Tracy called ‘Eat That Frog – 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating’.  The basic idea is that you try to do ‘least desired’ task or job first (aka ‘the frog’) so that the rest of your day can be ‘play time’.  While this is a great idea for getting those ‘ugh’ tasks crossed off the list, since the ‘frog’ task list could go on forever, it could also eat up all your creative time as well.  So, if you want to stop procrastinating and also stop being creative, just ‘eat that frog’ all the time!

4.  Keep it complicated!

Somewhat related to the ‘Eat That Frog’, if you over-analyze and avoid simplicity, that’s another good way to be UNCREATIVE.  Second-guessing yourself or over-thinking your idea is a good way to make it boring and lead you nowhere.  I once remember a project where I was working with several different work-streams who were responsible for managing their own work-streams.  Since this was early in my career when I still needed to ‘prove’ myself as a project manager, I was determined to make sure that every single task was in the plan.  After spending a few evenings trying to update and deal with a project plan that had more than a thousand line items in it, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the lesson of simplicity I learned.  There’s a quote by Charles Mingus that says ‘making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.’  So, keep it complicated to NOT be creative!

5.  Stay in a rut!….every day

Stuck-in-a-Rut

Graphic Credit: Brookhill Women’s Blog

This is a great way to not be creative and stunt innovation – do the same thing, the same way, in the same place….all the time.  Since creativity involves a great deal of ‘thinking outside the box’, it requires a good regular dose of changing your perspective to gain new insights or new ways of thinking about things.  If you don’t ever break out of the mold of your regular routines or intentionally try to experience new things, it will be very difficult to gain ‘freshness’ in your thinking to innovate or be creative.  Sometimes it can be as simple as changing your location, like taking a walk outside, and sometimes it takes more conscious effort, like trying something you’ve never done before, talking to people you wouldn’t normally interact with, or attending an event you wouldn’t normally participate in.  So, if you don’t want to be original, just avoid all that and stay in your comfort zone!

6.  Listen to the critic – don’t be yourself!

Graphic Credit:  HarroJapan Blog

Graphic Credit: HarroJapan Blog

Last, but certainly not least is this gem – don’t be authentic.  You know the famous commercial that talks about ‘Think Different’?  Well, it’s never a popular thing to be non-comformist.  In Japan, there is a saying that goes like this –  “出る杭は打たれる。 Deru kui wa utareru.”, which translates to ‘the protruding stake (or nail) will be hammered down’.  In other words, if you stand out or do not conform, you will be criticized.  That is usually the case with the great creatives and innovative thinkers of this world – they experience a great deal of criticism and non-acceptance.  In the face of that type of criticism, it’s usually a lot easier to simply conform to what ‘everyone else’ is doing or thinking and just follow along.  Quite frequently, before we even reach that level of putting our ideas out there for external criticism, we have already encountered the ‘anti-creative survival mechanism’ built-in to each of us.  This mechanism is known as the ‘inner critic’, and it’s usually quite adept at keeping us very well-disconnected from our own inner voice out of fear.  You know the voice….it’s always telling you that you’re not good enough, creative enough, innovative enough, or everyone else is better or more original or more something, so why bother?  So, this is may be the best way to be un-creative – just keep listening to that critic and don’t be yourself!

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Related:

- By Julie Yamamoto

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The October 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”creativity and innovation”, and The Greater IBM Connection, and contributing blog authors, will be sharing various tips, tools, and resources on this topic.

Why Are There Still So Few Women in STEM?

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Graphic credit: IBM in ‘Helping Women in STEM Thrive’

At the Solvay Conference on Physics in 1927, the only woman in attendance was Marie Curie.  Today, there are still few women who pursue a STEM degree or career (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).  In the US, only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s are awarded to women, and only 14 percent of all the physics professors are women.  Globally, only 30 percent of women, on average, participate in STEM fields, both private and public.  A Yale study published last year demonstrated that a young male scientist applying for a STEM job in education is viewed more favorably on average than a woman with the same qualifications and offered a salary nearly $4000 higher. (All facts sourced from 1 and 2 below in ‘Related’ list).

IBM is investing in women, whether new to the company, previous employees or current employees. It is providing support through mentoring and networks that can create a foundation for a career path towards technical leadership roles.  Watch the Technologista YouTube series (below) for an inside glimpse of what women at IBM are doing, and learn more about women at IBM here.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Women in Technology at IBM – Rejecting the ‘Expected’

technologista2IBM continues the Women Technologista series this week with two blog posts.  In the first one, IBM Senior Vice President and WITI Hall of Famer, Linda Sanford, talks about ‘Nurturing the Next Generation of Technologistas‘.  She talks about how studies have shown that women are naturally more collaborative and better at listening, two tenets for building strong teams and that teams with at least one woman outperform male-only teams.  However, women still hold less than one-fourth of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs, so how do we best tap into and grow this innate talent pool?  Mentorship is vital. Female-executive support groups and increased participation in industry associations, along with formal training and inclusion programs, would also help.  Read more on the Internet Evolution site.

In the second post, Stefanie Chiras, PhD, IBM Manager of System & Technology Group Design Center, shares how she learned to reject the ‘expected’ when she was 10 and her father told her they were going to fix a car transmission.  She said “I can’t do that,” and he replied without a pause, “People do it every day. You can certainly do it once.”  The advice, and the fact that they did fix the transmission, stuck with her.  Half the challenge is overcoming apprehension and preconceived notions.  As for advice from her own career path, she echoes some of the tenets found in the recent IBM Study of Insights from Women Executives, which are:

  • Stay visible
  • Plan your career
  • Integrate work and life

Read the full post, Rejecting ‘The Expected':  One Woman Engineer’s Story on the Huffington Post.

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Related:

- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection

Don’t Ignore These 5 Virtual Communication Rules

miscommunicationsMiscommunications is still one of the main problems in the workplace.  Heck, it might be one of the main problems in life.

With more of our communications virtual and online, finding the best ways to minimize misunderstanding is key to doing business successfully.

X-IBM Social Butterfly, Lorian Lipton, shares her new post on “Don’t Ignore These 5 Virtual Communication Rules” that can make a big difference in your virtual/on-line communications and help you get your message across the first time you send it.

Lorian Lipton is founder of The Digital Attitude, LLC, a specialized project management consulting and training company.  Check out her regular blog posts on social branding, project management, and just plain attitude, @ The Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent.

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Greater IBM, what would you add to these? Have you got any tips to share?

- Posted by Lorian Lipton

The IBM Jobs Blog Just Launched!

IBM Recruitment has launched its new blog – IBMJobs Blog – to provide jobseekers with information about careers, latest news, and worldwide jobs at IBM.

IBM Jobs logoVisit the blog today and find out what it means to be an IBMer and how we work together to change the way the world works. We hope you enjoy the blog and share it with others, and we hope it helps you to expand your own thoughts on how to reach your career potential with IBM.

Subscribe to IBMjobs blog by visiting http://blog.ibm.jobs/

Follow us on Twitter @IBMJobsGlobal

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What do you think of the newly launched blog? Let us know in the Leave a Reply field.

- Posted by Regan Kelly