IBM Connect 2014 – Energizing Life’s Work


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


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



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

Twitter Chat April 25 4:30 EDT: Education and the THINK Exhibit

How do you inspire your students to be innovators in their daily lives? Join today’s discussion to chat about an effort underway to build an integrated educational experience that includes exhibitions, apps, and lesson plans. The IBM THINK exhibit, which recently opened at Epcot in Walt Disney World, extends globally into free, hands-on lesson plans for middle and high school teachers.

Photo credit: Terry Cuffel, Corporate Visual Services

Photo credit: Terry Cuffel, Corporate Visual Services

Using the IBM THINK app, students explore how progress is shaped through a five-step process and participate in hands-on lessons to help them become innovators in their own right and to take actions that can help them become forward-thinking citizens of the world. Get all the details, including Guest Experts and Topic List, for today’s event.


The THINK App (Flickr set of photos)


– Posted by Regan Kelly

IBM CEO Virginia Rometty to Address the Council on Foreign Relations

On Thursday, March 7, Ginni Rometty will be addressing members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Virginia Rometty headshot

Virginia Rometty

The event will be broadcast live on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. EST. Get the details and watch it here.

You can see a replay and read more about the speech on the Smarter Planet blog, where you can also join the conversation.


— Posted by Regan Kelly, Editor/Community Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Connect 2013: Your MUST-Attend Event to Kick Off the New Year

Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations. If you want to learn more about what it takes, make your plans now for IBM’s Connect 2013 (Jan. 27 – 31 in Orlando, FL); it’s your must-attend event to kick off 2013.

Several companies have made inroads into social business by adopting external social media tactics, but that’s not enough. To gain a competitive advantage, companies must focus on making transformational shifts in how work is accomplished. These insight-driven shifts address the way a workforce interacts to deliver an exceptional digital experience throughout the entire business ecosystem — clients, employees, partners, and suppliers.

IBM Connect 2013 is a familiar event to many, but this year it comes with a whole new twist. IBM’s Lotusphere has a new name that reflects the broader story of IBM’s market leadership in Social Business. Whether you focus on business or IT, IBM Connect is an event you should not miss.

What to expect at IBM Connect 2013:

  • Hundreds of business and technology sessions – from panels to round tables, deep dives and best practices, client success stories to lively symposium-style discussions
  • Within the Lotusphere technical program, a rich array of technology sessions (exactly what you would expect if you’ve previously attended Lotusphere)
  • A Solutions Showcase, featuring real-world solutions from groundbreaking, innovative IBM Business Partners and IBM experts
  • Exclusive access to industry and IBM business and technical leaders, plus our product experts, engineers, architects, and developers
  • Social networking and brainstorming opportunities with peers and partners who are experiencing the real returns that come from being a social business

Register for this event and identify yourself as an IBM alumnus – we’ll let you know about special alumni networking opportunities at and around this event.

How to Register

When you register for IBM Connect 2013, you’ll be asked how you heard about the conference. Select “Other”, and then in the open field, be sure to include the code IBMALUM13. That’s all there is to it.

The IBM Connect 2013 site

Impressions of the Palo Alto event

Flor Estevez and Ethan McCarty just told me about this blog, and invited me to post here my impressions of the Greater IBM Connection Palo Alto dinner/event held at Il Fornaio Restaurant on September 20:

found the Palo Alto event to be very interesting, enjoyable and
worthwhile.  In many ways it exceeded my expectations.  But it was
actually quite different from what I’d expected.

When I entered the restaurant, I was directed to
one of their private back rooms.  I was initially disappointed, because the room was so small. (Actually,
this was the same backroom that Jon Iwata had hosted a breakfast with
Bay Area IBM communicators a decade or so ago.)   There were some
tables set up … in the middle with luscious, tasty hors d’ourves and to the
side with beverages (good wine & beer and water). I was warmly
greeted and given a nametag — but the printing was rather small, so it
was difficult to read anyone’s name from a conversational distance. (Yep, a number of us suffer with bifocals these days.)

introduced myself to the lady who checked in after me, and it was Debbe
Kennedy, the very person who Flor has recommended that I be sure to
meet at the event!! What a nice coincidence!  We had a great conversation then and also later in the
evening.  She is doing high-level communications consulting for a
couple of clients and also produces a Global Dialogue Center  that is designed to be "a virtual
gathering place for people throughout the world with a focus on
leadership, professional and personal development."  She is a very
focused and interesting person.  She was very impressed with and still raves
about the Habitat Jam.

about 15-20 people had arrived, the hosts (from Global Services: David
Linden and Ms. <?> Haeckel (sp?) …sorry, I didn’t note her name) introduced themselves and gave a
brief introduction of the intention for the evening.  David then
suggested that since the numbers were manageable, that we each
introduce ourselves to the group and describe our our IBM histories/connections and present
activities.  We were already arranged in a loose circle, so we did this in an orderly coutner-clockwise rotation. 

It was surprising and impressive that everyone seemed to have
a different background: from executives to customer engineers;
long-time IBMers to consultants who were with us for only a couple of
years; hardware specialists to software gurus; those who left 20 years
ago (like Debbe) to those who moved on (or retired) much more recently.  (Yours truly, in April ’07).

had been expecting that this event would include a sit-down dinner and
probably some sort of IBM business-related speaker. But it turned out to be more of an
informal mixer, with the personal introductions the only structured
part of the evening.  I liked this, because I could then go around and
talk to a wide variety of people whose self-descriptions interested
me.  (If it had been a sit-down dinner, I would have been limited to
those sitting near me at my table or whom I knew already.  The only person I knew at this event was through our children’s school, not IBM.)  But it also meant that I had to
manage eating, holding a plate and drink etc. while
talking/listening/discussing etc., which can be physically awkard. (Try
not to spill food or drink … or talk with food in mouth etc. Ever since the first Rotary Club event I covered for the Beaumont, Texas, newspapers, I’ve wished I had three or four hands for just these sorts of events. Maybe the Innovation folks can work on it? )
While the room was small, it turned out to be appropriate for the number of people
who attended.

was super-friendly and a delight to meet.  (One had been in retail-industry consulting and shared some excellent insights that should help
my wife’s new business of importing authentic, easy-to-use Malaysian
spice-paste packets. When we exchanged cards, I noticed that he had the same
phone exchange as mine.  Indeed, it turned out that he lives less than a mile from us in the
Almaden Valley area of far south San Jose!)   This underscores the
value of such an event: creating and fueling a network of interesting
and capable people who share the common experience of having worked at

The hosts also had a feedback form.  Filling it out
qualified us to get an IBM Cross pen … one that had a rotating head
to select one of three writing tips: black, red or pencil.  (Its box
was very elaborate and intricate, considering that it held just one pen, however.)

Greater IBM Connection is a great idea, and one that I hope can be
sustained long-term.  All the IBM alums that I’ve mentioned this to
are interested in participating. Now that I’ve been to this event, I
can enthusiastically spread the word to others.   Next, I’ll mention
it to the IBM Retiree Club in San Jose, which has several hundred members.  Is there a web-based signup
place?  There could be many dozen signups if they broadcast it to their membership.

Best wishes to all,

— Mike Ross (IBM Research, Almaden Research Center, comunications: 1988-2007)

The Friendly Skies in Frankfurt

Our work introducing The Greater IBM Connection to IBM’s European consulting partners at a two day event in Frankfurt has been very productive.

Many of our business colleagues seemed to quickly understand the value proposition of a social network that brought current and alumni

IBMers together for mutual business benefit: in short, IBM becomes both a more responsive organization, and being an IBMer becomes more than a matter of job status, but a professional and personal affiliation that has greater value.

After a day of demonstrating greaterIBM to our consulting colleagues, the group of 300 hopped on buses to an exciting evening event held at Lufthansa’s Flight Training facility.

Between wonderful food, drink, music and more of the business social networking that greaterIBM hopes to engender, our group was treated to virtual flights in a variety of state-of-the-art simulators for many models of commercial aircraft.

Meanwhile, we continued to describe the greaterIBM and get feedback and insights from the cream of our business service leaders on how the program can drive business and innovation opportunities.

During the course of the evening, groups of attendees were ushered onto the flight simulators and given a demonstration of how the multimillion-dollar mega-machines are used for safety training of pilots and crews.

As we prepare for the global greaterIBM program to take off, one lesson from our feedback in Frankfurt stands out…as IBMers, current and alumni, better understand how a social network for a large corporate ecosystem will operate, the more they seem to appreciate its potential.

We’ll continue the campaign in small exploratory events with current and former IBMers in Frankfurt, Vienna, London and Amsterdam.

Greater IBM in Frankfurt, Germany

IBMers Kevin Aires and Jack Mason are bringing the Greater IBM story to a meeting of senior IBM consultants in Frankfurt, Germany.
To accelerate the network’s growth as we prepare to become a live program, we’re showing our European colleagues the program’s portal, presence, blog and virtual worlds frontier.

We’re also using a nifty little Bluetooth broadcasting widget to send a greaterIBM “electronic business card” to the phones and mobile devices of the 300 or so consultants milling about the two-day event.

During breaks in the main room presentations, we’re also discussing the Greater IBM Connection’s strategy, and comparing notes with our colleagues on opportunities for this network to support business goals in key current markets, such as Germany, as well as emerging ones like China, India and Brazil.

The heart of that strategy is to empower alumni IBMers to stay connected with current IBMers, as well as each other.

Such richer relationships promise to benefit all involved, and to transform what it means to be an “IBMer” into something bigger and better than just being a current employee.

Of course, enabling current and former IBMers to interact — online, through live events and even via the exciting new from of virtual worlds — is very much in line with the emerging principle that the greatest societal innovations are the product of rich collaborations, collective creation that is increasingly empowered by Web 2.0 trends and technologies.

Of course, the real power of greaterIBM will not be a matter of technology, but of empowering people with new abilities to connect with each other.

One learning from this immersion in IBM’s global business culture is that virtually all IBMers get the premise and promise of the business social network we’re preparing to soon make public.

Meanwhile, our pilot network is growing briskly, with more than 800 members. Current and former IBMers who would like to become part of this group of groundbreakers are welcome to join via this link:

And Greater IBMers are equally welcome to share this invite link with alumni IBMers they think would want to join this network for collaborative innovation.