3 Keys To Compete In Today’s Economy, According to Sam Palmisano

HANOVER, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 28:  Samuel Palmis...

Sam Palmisano, pictured in Hanover, Germany last February

Speaking at The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering in New York last month, former IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano shared what he sees as the three keys for anyone – cities, countries or companies – to compete in today’s integrated global economy. With interconnectivity growing, you’ve got to distinguish yourself to find growth, he said.

“The developing world has reached the end of the easy path to rising GDP…growth markets have plucked the low-hanging fruit of global integration Act I,” said Palmisano, and “….the developed world finds itself needing to address huge structural overhangs with urgency. Postponement is not a serious option.”

So how can you compete? For Palmisano, it comes down to three key points.

Read the article here.

IBM Board Elects Virginia Rometty Chairman

The IBM board of directors today elected Virginia M. Rometty chairman of the board, effective October 1, 2012.

Mrs. Rometty succeeds Samuel J. Palmisano, who is stepping down from the board effective October 1, 2012.

Mr. Palmisano will become Senior Adviser to the company until he retires on December 1, 2012.

As of October 1, 2012, Mrs. Rometty’s title will be IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Mrs. Rometty, 55, is currently IBM’s president and chief executive officer.

She succeeded Mr. Palmisano as IBM’s ninth CEO in January of this year, after holding senior leadership positions in IBM’s services, sales, strategy and marketing units.

Mrs. Rometty led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting — the largest acquisition in professional services history, building a team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.

She became a director of IBM in January.

Mr. Palmisano, 61, became IBM chief executive officer in 2002 and chairman of the board in 2003.

During his tenure, IBM transformed its product and services portfolio, exiting commoditizing businesses, including PCs, printers and hard disk drives, and greatly increasing investments in analytics, cloud computing and other high-value businesses and technologies.

He has overseen the transformation of IBM from a multinational into a globally integrated enterprise. During Mr. Palmisano’s tenure as CEO, IBM created more than $100 billion of total shareholder value.


What do you think of this change?

-Posted by Regan Kelly

IBM Chairman: Indian Cities Must Get Smarter to Tackle Urbanization

Sam Palmisano, IBM Chairman, says leaders will need to gain support for their ideas and concepts, and be persuasive

(from Information Week)

Cities are a critical component of driving the economy. But rapid urbanization around the world is already putting immense pressure on the limited resources available in the world’s cities. And countries like India and China are at the forefront of urbanization — India already has 12 of the world’s 100 largest cities.

Crowded street in Bangalore

Crowded street in Bangalore, India

It took nearly 40 years for the urban population in India to reach 230 million. Studies reveal it will take only half that time to reach the next 250 million. In the next 20 years around 30 Indians will migrate from a rural area to a city every minute. At that growth rate the population of Mumbai will be bigger than that of Canada by 2030. And the Delhi/NCR region will have a GDP bigger than Portugal. With more people choosing to live in cities, India will need 500 new cities in the next 20 years.

At the IBM Smarter Cities forum in New Delhi on September 13, a gathering of city planners, government policy makers, politicians, city architects, technologists, and researchers the consensus was that, even the best technology in the world cannot address the challenges induced by rapid urbanization. Delivering the keynote, IBM’s Chairman, Samuel J. Palmisano said it was really “a leadership issue” and that collaboration was essential. He suggested our leaders “should be systems thinkers, take a long-term view,” and have persuasive skills. And they “shouldn’t confuse leadership with charisma or the sound bite on TV.”

“If (leaders) are going to manage in the long term, they will need to build organizational support for their concepts and ideas. And you can only do that in a collaborative environment, with good team work and spirit. And you can’t dictate it and will it — you have to persuade people (to accept your ideas),” said Palmisano.

He said the problems (due to urbanization) are too severe for our leaders to manage. Yet there were changes happening in cities elsewhere in the world. Palmisano alluded to fresh water systems in Saudi Arabia, waste management systems (recology) in the San Francisco, a public safety crime center in Davao (Philippines), and an end-to-end command center in Rio de Janeiro to monitor all aspects of the city. IBM is also engaged with 3,000 smarter city projects around the world.

“Leaders who are managing these cities are non-ideological. They get things done. They have to solve the problems and make things better. And that’s what you see leaders in urban centers doing. These leaders think in terms of systems. Power generation, water management, transportation, health care and public safety are systems. A city is a system of systems that are interconnected. A great example is Rio de Janeiro. And they take a long-term orientation because you can do this in one election cycle. These are sophisticated projects.”


SMARTER: The Next Great Opportunity

DkistockeyesmI see it clearly. Vision. Courage. Always thinking an idea ahead. This was one of the first lessons I learned at IBM many years ago. It was taught to us, refined, honed, renewed, revitalized and called upon through periods of change, big and small — a second-nature for an IBMer. This is how I recall it. Do you?

As the current economic crisis began to unfold in October 2008, I wrote about this quality of "thinking an idea ahead" in a blog post, ECONOMY: The Next Great Opportunity-WHAT TO DO, telling the story of being introduced to the concept at "new employee orientation" at IBM. I told how this quality saved my business some years back and shared "what you can do" ideas. What I remember most about the story that has inspired me all these years was that thinking an idea ahead prepares you to be ready for that next great opportunity.

Last week, Sam Palmisano, IBM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, took this deeply rooted quality of thinking an idea ahead to a whole new level for the twenty-first century, when he invited all of us and the entire world, into a new bold vision of "A SMARTER PLANET: The Next Leadership Agenda" in his address to the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC on November 6. "…a period of discontinuity is, for those with courage and vision, a period of opportunity."

He defined current realities for leaders: "Our political leaders aren’t the only ones who’ve been handed a mandate for change. Leaders of businesses and institutions everywhere confront a unique opportunity to transform the way the world works."

He painted a vivid picture of a SMARTER PLANET: One that instrumented, interconnected and intelligent with abundantly available, low cost technology solving our most pressing problems around the world. The inspiring examples prove that the time for change has truly come!

He called for new leadership qualities: "There is much serious work ahead of us, as leaders and as citizens," he told us. "Together, we have to consciously infuse intelligence into our decision-making and management systems…not just infuse our processes with more speed and capacity. I believe  we will see new leaders emerge who win not by surviving the storm, but by changing the game."

As I wrote in my book, Putting Our Differences to Work: The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance, the word leader has a Germanic origin meaning to "find a new path. There is a constant stream of achievements rising up from individuals and organizations across the world finding the new paths we need. Our part is recognizing that we have to fundamentally change the way each one of us think, behave, and operate as leaders and innovators to reap the benefits of the globally integrated, interconnected world. The next great opportunity is ours to own.

Are you ready?
I am. I want to be one of those leaders. I want to one who helps change the game, don’t you?

Ignite your passions, watch these SMARTER PLANET videos on YouTube:

Proudly BLUE,


Dkdesk1008Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies

author, Putting Our Differences to Work 

IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco

Not just data. Reality. This time, I think it’s for real!

About 30 or so years ago, I recall an ad campaign with that “Not just data. Reality” tag line. The message was that technology could make sense of all the mountains of numbers crashing on executive shoulders.

That ad theme may have been ahead of its time.

Today’s speech by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano (http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ideasfromibm/us/smartplanet/20081106/sjp_speech.shtml) paints a dramatic portrait of a possible future where our technology does more than stretch our reach and “always on” ties to the world. Technology can now put us in touch with what all of that data “means” in ways that can put companies, institutions, governments – and people – back in charge of the world where we work, serve and socialize.

And Palmisano said the tools to do it are both available and affordable.

That’s one of the most exciting bits of news I’ve heard in many years.

Soon, there will be a billion transistors for every living person on the planet. Sensors are being embedded in billions of cars, appliances, cameras, roadways, pipelines, phones and just about any other product you can name – and many of them can communicate. And now there are super computers and advanced analytics able to turn the mountains of data into intelligence – something that we can understand and do something about.

As Palmisano said, the whole interrelated set of systems is on the verge of getting “smarter”.

What’s needed to make the vision a reality? Political will. Executive leadership. Business investment. Awareness not only of what is, but what can be.

Will it happen? I think it’s more likely now than ever.

None of us have to be told that financial markets are a mess. Or that we have an energy problem. Or that millions of people go to sleep hungry. That’s one reason our governments are talking to each other and even working together. Bold new policies are being tried.

The idea of a truly smarter world is a fresh idea, and right now it looks to me as though fresh ideas have a shot.

Especially when those ideas grow out of solid experience, a history of innovation, and access to tools we could only dream about when I started out in this business.

That’s why I was so excited to hear Palmisano’s message.

What about you? What do you think will be needed to make this smarter world a reality?

It’s a great time for ideas.I can’t wait to hear yours.

This post was filed by Larry Phipps, a greater IBMer
and editor of The Greater IBM Connection.