“Paperwork Explosion” by The Jim Henson Company


Last week, WIRED Magazine dug up a video from IBM Archives fr an article :
Tech Time Warp of the Week: Watch IBM’s Greatest Corporate Film, Directed by … Jim Henson?

Read the article here: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/03/tech-time-warp-henson-ibm/

IBM Study – Champions of SaaS (Software as a Service): Infographic + Video

Image Credit:  IBM Center for Applied Insights

Image Credit: IBM Center for Applied Insights

IBM Study: Champions of SaaS (Software as a Service)

Pacesetters are looking to Software as a Service for competitive advantage

On January 28, 2014, IBM announced the results of a new study entitled Champions of Software as a Service:  How SaaS is fueling powerful competitive advantage which found that nearly half of the businesses using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are achieving competitive advantage, rather than simply reducing costs.  The use of Software as a Service (SaaS) has skyrocketed over the last few years and shows no signs of slowing down.  What’s driving that demand?  While many of the more than 800 IT and business decision makers that IBM surveyed worldwide as part of this study did cite reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of their applications as the top reason for adopting SaaS, almost half are also using SaaS to attain a broad range of powerful benefits that combine to deliver something even more critical: competitive advantage.

Some key data points:

  • 71% of Pacesetters have reduced time to market of products/services by using SaaS
  • 71% of Pacesetters have used SaaS to change their organization’s business model
  • They put social tools at the top of their most-favored SaaS applications
  • They are more than twice as likely to have leveraged analytics across their organization to turn big data into insights using SaaS

Learn more

(The study was by the IBM Center for Applied Insights)



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

IBM Study – Setting the Pace of Innovation in Africa (Infographic)

Image Credit:  IBM Center for Applied Insights

Image Credit: IBM Center for Applied Insights

IBM Study:  Innovating in Africa

Learn from IT leaders ahead of the pack

On January 27, 2014, IBM announced the results of a new study entitled Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies, which found that while nearly 87 percent of African IT leaders rank new technologies such as analytics, cloud, mobile and social media as being critical to business success, only 53% are pushing forward with adoption.  Africa’s IT and business climate is changing rapidly and the booming technological and consumer revolution is underway. But for all the new opportunities there also are some leadership challenges, skills shortfalls and security risks that threaten to slow tech-driven progress. However, pace-setting IT leaders are tackling these challenges and positioning their organizations for competitive advantage.

What’s holding businesses back – and giving Pacesetters the lead:

  • STRATEGIC BUSINESS LEADERSHIP FOR IT:  African Pacesetters do more to tangibly demonstrate the value of emerging technology.  They are 30 percent more likely than their peers to link IT investments to business outcomes.
  • IT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: Half of African businesses are still addressing IT skill deficits and not yet developing skills to transform the business.  BUT – Pacesetters are 80 percent more likely than their peers to cultivate IT skills to meet future business needs.
  • INFORMATION SECURITY: The majority of African companies cite security of emerging technologies as a top-of-mind issue.  BUT – Pacesetters are 30 percent more likely to create a risk-aware culture, employ new security technologies and bolster security skills and expertise.

Learn more

(The study was by the IBM Center for Applied Insights in collaboration with the IBM Center for CIO Leadership.)



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

IBM’s 5 in 5: In Five Years Everything will Learn

square15 in 5 - widesquare2v2

On December 17th, 2013 IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the eighth annual “IBM 5 in 5″ (#ibm5in5) – a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years. This year’s 5 in 5 are:

Education:  The classroom will learn you (Story Map, Video, Article)
Retail:  Buying local will beat online (Story Map, Video, Article)
Healthcare: Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well (Story Map, Video, Article)
Security: A digital guardian will protect you online (Story Map, Video, Article)
Cities: The city will help you live in it (Story Map, Video, Article)

The IBM 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s R&D labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.



–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:



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

IBM Computer Creativity: 3 Things You Never Knew – Movies, Cooking, Books

Image Credit:  Lord of the Rings movie trilogy

Image Credit: Lord of the Rings movie trilogy

This is Part 2 of the IBM Creativity Series – Part 1 covered 3 Things You Never Knew About IBM Creativity – Games, Art, and Music. This post will cover 3 things you never knew about IBM computer creativity.

In addition to IBM driving innovation and creativity for 102 years, as IBM CEO Ginni Rometty recently shared, IBM computers have also long been used to help spur the creative process.  Here are few of the more notable examples of how IBM computers and technology played a critical part in the creative process.

Category 1 (Movies):  

Lord of The Rings Trilogy:  IBM supplied digital effects facility Weta Digital, Ltd., with 150 IBM® IntelliStation® workstations, running Linux®, for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Weta created effects, from digital horses to Gollum, a character in the series.  Weta and its sister company, Weta Workshop, won two Oscars for their digital effects work on the first “Lord of The Rings” trilogy.  To learn more:

Image Credit:  IMDb

Image Credit: IMDb

Despicable Me:  IBM provided an iDataPlex system to Illumination Entertainment to help it meet the massive production requirements involved in creating the computer-animated 3-D feature film, “Despicable Me”, released in 2010.  The animation process to produce the film generated 142 terabytes of data — an amount roughly equivalent to the traffic generated by over 118 million active MySpace users or 250,000 streams of 25 million songs.  The iDataPlex solution also included a water-cooled door that allows the system to run with no air conditioning required, saving up to 40% of the power used in typical server configurations for this type of production process.  To learn more:

Image Credit:  Fast Company (Italian grilled lobster, with a complex set of pairings including salt, pepper, saffron, green olives, tomato, pumpkin, mint, oregano, white wine, water, macaroni, orange juice, orange, bacon, and oil. )

Image Credit: Fast Company (Italian grilled lobster, with a complex set of pairings including salt, pepper, saffron, green olives, tomato, pumpkin, mint, oregano, white wine, water, macaroni, orange juice, orange, bacon, and oil. )

Category 2 (Cooking):  When you think of the creative things that humans do, cooking comes to mind as one creative outlet that appeals to many.  After winning at chess and Jeopardy, taking on large databases of information to cook up something creative for dinner seems like a logical step.  After all, while most chefs may only consider pairings of hundreds of different ingredients for the evening meal, there are probably unlimited possibilities of pairings that might taste good.  So, the IBM flavorbot is looking to put together underrated highly flavorful ingredients, unusual but tasty flavor pairings, and bring them all together into whole recipes.  To generate leads, the flavorbot looks at three databases of information – recipe index, hedonic psychophysics (quantification of what flavors people like at the molecular level), and chemoinformatics (connecting what foods the molecular flavor is actually in).  To learn more, see the links below:

Category 3 (Books):  Ever heard of “Abechamycin”?  It’s not a new antibiotic….but it may be one day.  At Pfizer in 1956, an IBM 702 helped create a 198-page, 42,000 word book of potential chemical names as a way of spurring and accelerating the naming process for the many new drugs the firm introduced on an annual basis.  Learn more.



– By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection, and Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist


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

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


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


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!



– By Julie Yamamoto


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.