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.

The Information On Demand Conference and Blended Networking via Greater IBM

IBMer, Jack Mason, IBM Strategic Communications & The Greater IBM Connection Executive Producer


Next week’s IOD Conference in Anaheim is a prime example of how The Greater IBM Connection will add value to the in-person networking at such business events.

The network we’re building will give IBMers, past and present, who may meet each other at such large gatherings (more than 5,000  people are expected at the IOD Conference, one of IBM’s largest events)  to stay connected with each other through the online network we’re building.

Of course, people are bound to continue making connections through traditional mechanisms like business cards. What’s different about Greater IBM as a new kind of business social network is that once two people meet and say “let’s connect through Greater IBM” they will not only have each other’s contact information, but more insight into to each other through the richer profiles all members control.

What’s more, they can also see each others contacts, and perhaps find ways that they are already connected to each other through a common friend or colleague.

From the start, we’ve envisioned that Greater IBM should be an example of “blended networking”…a community that enabled in-person events to become more valuable by enabling current and former IBMers who meet in a variety of realworld circumstances to be able to follow through and interact with other through a robust online directory.

Of course, sometimes this will be contacts between current and former IBMers, with the prospects of leading to new business opportunities for each.

But sometimes Greater IBM will enable former IBMers to connect with each other (or even current IBMers who might not otherwise get to know each other, which has already happened to me in the process of helping launch Greater IBM.)  In either case, the value of people being able to extend their contacts and relationships is clearly strategic in today’s highly networked world of global business.

So, if you are one of the thousands of current or former IBMers attending next week’s IOD Conference, you might consider joining the network today, and encouraging  the Greater IBMers you meet at the event to keep the connection going via this promising new platform.

Join Greater IBM Today 

To invite a current colleague or former IBMer into Greater IBM, share this invitation link with them:

Once you are both in the community you can create a Connection with each other that will become part of your social networking profile.