IBM Connect 2014 – Energizing Life’s Work

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Companies are changing the way they work today. The combination of social, collaborative and mobile technology infused with behavioral science and analytics is incredibly powerful – especially when it is delivered in the cloud.  IBM Connect 2014 will provide insights on how to apply these principles to your business.

dilbertAs an added bonus for Dilbert fans, Dilbert creator Scott Adams will be speaking at the event.

Register now

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Kevin Cavanaugh, Vice President of Engineering Smarter Workforce at IBM, shares his thoughts on why you should attend IBM Connect 2014

And if you aren’t able to be in Orlando, don’t let that stop you from joining in the conversation – learn more about how to get social

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

IBM Fellow Irene Greif Retires – A Pioneer in Building a Workplace that Works

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit:  Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit: Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

IBM Fellow Irene Greif is retiring after more than 25 years with Lotus Development Corporation (where she was head of Research) and IBM. At IBM, she went on to create the Center for Social Business, a global research effort on reinventing the way people work. Along the way, these teams built the foundations of Lotus Sametime and IBM Connections, and revamped email to be the social tool it is today.

Irene began her journey into the workplace of the future while at MIT. Trained as a computer scientist, she was attracted to challenges of communication and collaboration – regardless of underlying technologies. In the 1980s, questions raised by Doug Engelbart’s 1968 Mother of All Demos, such as why some inventions (the mouse) took off, and others (video conferencing and shared screens) were still being reinvented in research labs, led her to study the opportunities – and limits – for office automation solutions. She founded the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) in 1984 to help computer scientists and social scientists join forces to understand “how collaborative activities and their coordination can be supported by means of computer systems.”

Irene’s pioneering work changed how technology helps us work, and work together. She reflects on the inspiration to make these tools – and inspiring others to do the same.

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What were the workplace tools like when you started your career?

When I was on the faculty at MIT in the late 1970s and early 80s, office automation was the big thing. But the most interesting technologies being used beyond email were still stuck in research labs. At work, the personal computer – loaded with spreadsheet software, usually Lotus 1-2-3 at the time – was cropping up all over the place, outside IT control. And the question of which word processor to adopt was the next big issue.

Local areas networks were just being installed and slowly replacing “sneakernet” for transferring files. So, there was a lot of opportunity for change. What’s more, since researchers who were inventing new tools for collaboration were looking for realistic test beds outside their labs, it was a great time for a researcher to move into a business setting – that’s where the action was going to be.

How has CSCW evolved since the 1980s?

I started the research field of CSCW before joining IBM, but it fit right into what Lotus (and later IBM) was doing with group support systems. I’ve had the chance to keep reinventing workplace solutions – and recreating CSCW teams – ever since.

In the 1980s, group support systems such as online forms and formal networked processes (to pass information around without printing it or carry floppy disks in our pockets) were still new. Also new were anthropologists studying office life and culture. They found that office work was rarely done according to formal written processes. So, when companies built formal processes into online systems, informal actions, such as just knowing who else was in an approval chain when a manager was on vacation, were ignored.

Working with anthropologists helped us look beyond the technology, and brought social science and computer science together on the team.

How has CSCW impacted design? 

This “observe first” approach led us to reinventing email. We discovered that people hacked together ways to manage their lives around their email. It wasn’t just for messages; they used it for reminders and calendar appointments – well before these functions were built into any email platform.

We set out to design an email system that reflected what people were actually trying to do with it. We used our research to make subtle adjustments, integrating new features into Lotus Notes and providing the rich context that now integrates presence, threading, calendars, and instant messaging.

How else were new ideas by designers and developers meshed with what was being observed?

We also kept an eye on the consumer space to ask “would any of those tools be useful in business communications?” For example, chat apps were popular with kids in the 1990s, and that initially made it a challenge to pitch as a business opportunity. So, we used design through storytelling to prove that it could be useful. Our storyboard showed how customer support could “chat” with experts to help solve a technical issue – while staying on the phone with the customer and providing answers seamlessly. This was the origin of Sametime, the ubiquitous tool that IBMers rely on today.

We’ve been fortunate to work with an extremely open and creative corporate IT department that supports experimentation inside IBM. As a result, we can deploy and observe prototypes inside our really large company. And in some cases, the most important inventions were by the crowd – our users – and not our teams.

We’ve taken a similar approach outside IBM on the internet with projects such as Many Eyes. Launched in 2007, we wanted to know how people would use a visual analytics tool. It’s been active for years and in fact, the users pushed us from numerical to text visualizations that were invented and installed on the site. Many Eyes technology has since been transferred to a product team. Version two was released this year.

What’s next in workplace collaboration technology?

What’s next, in my opinion, is less about technology, and more about design. In fact, at this year’s CSCW conference, the new “Lasting Impact” award will be given to a 1988 paper about why group systems fail. The insight still proves true today: the cost-benefit balance of a tool is often wrong, or not accounted for, in the design phase. If you’re building a new workplace app, some people are likely to benefit more than others. You need to take that into account – either increase benefits to all, or make it particularly appealing for the “helpers” to participate.

Every one of my teams has had computer scientists, social scientists, developers and designers. And we have tried to apply this benefit thought in our designs. The simplest way is to try to assure there is personal value to each participant, even before they realize any benefit from sharing. This approach helped us get buy-in, for example, to add IBM Connections’ shared bookmarks feature. It gets everyone’s bookmarks out of a browser, and into a community of people who will also find them useful.

Since I’m betting on a better design – more user-centered and culturally aware design – as the most important ingredient, I’d like to say just how thrilled I am to see IBM’s renewed focus in design. Their design thinking is close to my heart, based on rich stories and deep understanding of not just how something is used, but why it would be used in the first place.

What has it meant to you to be a “trailblazing” woman in technology?

I sometimes envy the women who came up the technical career ranks after me because they had other women to talk to, and share stories with – something I didn’t have when I was a graduate student. It’s important for me, and others who were “firsts” in their fields, to participate in communities like the Anita Borg Institute. Today, as we see more and more women blazing trails, I remind them to look around and talk to other women while they are in the process.

Regarding mentoring, while having a formal mentor is important, don’t discount your second and third degree connections, who can offer you what I often call meaningful “mentoring moments.” Some of the colleagues I’ve sought out for advice never knew in the moment that their opinions played a role in something that amounted to a critical decision for me.

This kind of interaction is supported in social networking theory: it’s not the people you talk to everyday, but it’s those you reach out to who will have new, and maybe the best, insights.

What are some of your plans after retirement?

The great thing is that I don’t have to have a plan. I never really had a plan for my career, but rather let it evolve and I expect to do the same now. I would like to spend more time on STEM education, mentoring and volunteering, and working with organizations such as the National Academy of Engineering.

And I’ll continue to knit, though maybe now I’ll find time to organize the mess of yarn I’ve collected over the years.

(Video credit: IBM Social Business)

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Related:

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

Coffee, Conversations and Commerce with IBM Midsize Business

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IBM Midsize Business: IBM Coffee + Conversation

How often have you met a colleague to discuss something related to work over a cup of coffee?  There’s something about a coffee shop that seems conducive to business, networking, and understanding complex subjects – it seems more personal and approachable.  In this video series, IBM Midsize Business shares some coffee house conversations on business topics pertinent to mid-size businesses, such as cloud, social business, mobile, and analytics.  Learn more at Midsize Insider:  Coffee, Conversations, and Commerce.

About Midsize Insider

Midsize Insider is a valuable repository of expert content tailored for small-to-midsized business owners and IT decision makers. Expert insights and perspectives in the Midsize Insider are gleaned from actionable business experiences and will assist readers in creating efficiencies, cutting costs and delivering results.

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- By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Get Smarter with IBM Virtual Events in Oct

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Here’s a round-up of some of the cool IBM learning events coming up in October (all times, when listed are in US ET). Check them out!

Event Date Area Link
(Tweetchat) Creating an Intelligent Customer Experience with Author Bernard Marr 10/7/13 at Noon Big Data Customer Experience  on.fb.me/1bzkoR4
(Podcast & LinkedInChat) Listen to/chat with Luba Cherbakov as she shares her story on becoming the 13th woman named as an IBM Fellow. 10/8/13 at 10am Women in Tech, Women in STEM (Podcast) bit.ly/IBMPodcast (LinkedIn Chat) linkd.in/1fP0DHc
(Webcast) Senior IBM systems and technology execs/experts will share why they believe infrastructure matters, as well as tips on Big Data, Cloud, and IT Storage. 10/8/2013 Smarter Computing, Big Data, Cloud ibm.co/1gkuogI
(Webcast) Cloud without Compromise:  Understanding and Capitalizing on Cloud Computing 10/9/2013 at Noon Cloud bit.ly/19a40AZ
(Tweetchat) Smarter Planet: The Social Employee – How Companies can leverage employees as social brand ambassadors (#P4SPChat) 10/10/13 at Noon Social, Smarter Workforce, Brand (Preview) http://ibm.co/1fHQagB (Tweetchat) twubs.com/P4SPchat
(Tweetchat) IBM Cloud:  The New CIO—how cloud is shifting tech leadership with 3 industry panelists 10/10/13 at 4pm Cloud (preview) ibm.co/1bD7jWY (Tweetchat) twubs.com/cloudchat
(Virtual Learning) Basics of Blogging 10/11/13, 10/25/13 at Noon How to blog, Social ibm.co/1bzi0Kb
(Virtual Learning) Twitter for Beginners 10/18/13 at Noon Social, Twitter basics, How to Twitter ibm.co/1bzi0Kb
(Tweetchat) #IBMSWChat Tweetchat: Topic TBD 10/18/13 at 1pm Smarter Workforce #IBMSWChat
(Videocast) IBM Smarter Analytics:  Smarter Government Finance & Budgeting 10/23/13 at Noon Smarter Government bit.ly/1e3KsRU
(Tweetchat) #GreaterIBM and Smarter Planet: Smarter Machines with author Steve Hamm & IBM Research Manager Dr. Dharmendra Modha (#P4SPChat) 10/31/13 at Noon Cognitive Computing wp.me/p2kcos-2uW

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Related:

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

Engaging People for Smarter Cities, Starting With Waterfront Toronto

smartercities1Waterfront Toronto Taps IBM Intelligent Operations for Major Smarter City Project
Waterfront Toronto, one of the largest waterfront revitalization projects in the world, is using the IBM Intelligent Operations Center delivered as a service on the IBM SmartCloud to help transform city operations to become more efficient.

Working with IBM Business Partner Element Blue, Waterfront Toronto is launching newblueedge.ca, a powerful community portal that residents can use to easily connect with neighbors, businesses, and service providers in the surrounding area to keep up with traffic congestion reports, public transit information, weather and news, as well as post their ideas and thoughts on how to improve the area.  It will use IBM’s cloud computing and social business software, services and technologies, and IBM Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities (see demo video below).  Ultimately, newblueedge.ca will serve as the platform for a suite of tools that will help residents make smarter decisions about everything from their daily commute to health and wellness, energy and water use, and more.

About People for Smarter Cities (P4SC)

Waterfront Toronto is the first Canadian community to be featured on IBM’s new global People for Smarter Cities site, a place where residents can conduct meaningful online conversations and contribute original ideas about how to make their cities work smarter.

P4SC will be showcased in other cities as well.  IBM Malaysia announced P4SC to its employees in September and will be sharing it with selected local influencers to encourage participation by them and their local communities.  Looking ahead P4SC also will be showcased at global cities events in Morocco and Spain.

Ready to change cities for the better? Join P4SC and start making a difference!  Share YOUR ideas and join the conversation on the site or on Twitter at #P4SC.

About IBM Smarter Cities Intelligent Operations Software

Cities around the globe are confronted with growing populations, aging infrastructure, reduced budgets, and the challenge of doing more with less.  The IBM Smarter Cities Intelligent Operations software, based on open cloud computing standards, helps transform city operations to become more efficient. Designed in collaboration with city leaders, the software also applies predictive analytics to help cities budget for capital improvements and improve the efficiency of water utilities.  With cloud solutions, cities get started immediately, without specialized hardware or procurement delays, making it possible to begin with small projects and scale across departments using one integrated software system available as a service.

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Related:

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

Calling All Thinkers and Creators – Help Your City Get Smarter (#P4SC)

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Are you a doer, thinker, problem solver, creator or dreamer? Help your city get smarter.

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Giant Fish Sculptures Made from Plastic Bottles in Czech Republic

IBM is helping cities around the world use the vast amount of data, analytics, and information already available to fuel more effective solution ideas from citizens.  In turn, they are helping their city leaders transform their communities.
IBM’s new global People for Smarter Cities site is a place where residents can conduct meaningful online conversations and contribute original ideas about how to make their cities work smarter.

One idea that’s been contributed from Paris, France is for interactive trash bins that encourage Metro passengers to recycle their subway tickets instead of throwing them on the floor.  A little imagination and fun is helping keep the station clean.

Ready to change cities for the better? Join P4SC and start making a difference!  Share YOUR ideas and join the conversation on the site or on Twitter at #P4SC.

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Related:

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

IBM Tweet Chats

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Here’s a round-up of some IBM Tweet Chats. Do you know of any others?  Submit your comment to let us know, and we’ll add it to the list.  All times are shown in US ET.

Tweet Chat
Time Topic Area
Hashtag
People for a Smarter Planet Thurs 12-1pm as scheduled IBM Smarter Planet, IBM Strategic Themes #P4SPchat
IBM Smarter Workforce Every other Friday 1-2pm Smarter Workforce for HR Leaders and Practioners #IBMSWChat
IBM Cloud 2nd Thurs monthly from 4-5pm Cloud Computing #cloudchat
IBM Blu Every other Wed 1-2pm Big Data #ibmblu
CXO Mon 12-1pm Big Data Customer Experience Optimization #CXO

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Related:

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

Get Smarter with IBM Virtual Events Coming Up

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Here’s a round-up of some of the cool IBM virtual events coming up.  Check them out!

 Event Date Area Link
(Virtual Event) Energizing Life’s Work/Re-inventing work with IBM Social Business and MIT  9/18/13  Social Business   ibm.com/reinventwork
(Tweetchat) Smarter Planet Tweetchat:  How the convergence of Social, Mobile & Cloud has energized life’s work (#P4SPChat)  9/19/13  Social, Mobile, Cloud  bit.ly/1dmpnlj
(Tweetchat) #IBMSWChat Tweetchat:  From Boomers to Millenials – Making the Generation Gap work  9/20/13  Smarter Workforce  bit.ly/15AMFlU
(Webcast) Transforming Customer Experiences at Southern California Edison  9/25/13  Digital Experience  bit.ly/1dmy2UI
(Webcast) Expertise & Knowledge Sharing:  Your Company’s Top Differentiators  9/25/13  Social Business, Smarter Workforce  bit.ly/19btT2V

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Related:

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

Social Business: A Metaphor for Sustainable Business

get socialFiscal performance alone cannot sustain future businesses. Success or failure will also be guided by societal relationship and environmental responsibility, says Jose Polackal, business development lead, government & education industry, IBM India.

We are now in a new era where the technological Zeitgeist is defined by how evolved social media is. And one way to look at it is this phenomenon called ‘Social Business‘. In the foreseeable future, social media will influence the performance of every business establishment and every government entity. Stakeholders (the consumers or the citizens), and not just shareholders, who are collaborating on social media are going to influence the business imperatives of every enterprise.

This means business has to concentrate more on three bottom lines – the triple bottom line being fiscal, societal and environmental and not the single bottom line. Fiscal performance alone cannot sustain future business; rather it will have to include societal relationship and environmental responsibility. Herein lies the importance of a social media strategy for every enterprise.

As of November 2012, Facebook had over 1.2 billion active users. There were over 500 million registered users in Google+ by the end of 2012. By the summer of 2013, Twitter had over 554 million active users. This social networking population is a significant subset of the 2.27 billion internet users in 2012, and on an average this is 20% of the world population.

This 20% of the world population may very well be controlling the consumer market (mainly the finished products) as they, probably, represent the population with the maximum buying power. Again, this 20% influence the governmental policies and the corporation and enterprise agenda for the future to a larger extent. This leads to the Pareto principle – 20% of the population chart out our future, and 80% follows.

Read the complete article, from timesofindia.indiatimes.com

- Posted by Khalid Raza