A Greater IBM…(A Virtual Book Club)

It’s nice to reminisce about the IBM of years ago. I have many cherished memories that stay with me. It was different. It also wasn’t perfect. There were struggles and deeply felt changes—and big giant transitions that shook the very soul of it all. Sound familiar? What I remember most in 21 years is that it taught me that things were most fun when they were dynamic — in the constant state of renewal and IBM became very good at reinventing itself and taught many of us how to do ourselves.

Today, the IBM’s global strategy, new products and services, and IBM’s continued leadership, reveal the new promise in the future and a whole new host of opportunities. Additionally, I personally see a more open, friendlier, more hip IBM. The Greater IBM Connection is a good example. It is hard to imagine if the old IBM would ever have built a business and social network that included current and past IBMers — "outsiders!” And an innovative IBM Business Center at Second Life? Can’t imagine it!

DebbedaeOn July 18, I had a chance to personally experience this new hip IBM first-hand at an event that was hosted by Greater IBM. It had some very special attributes. First, it reflected IBM’s world-renown pioneering spirit. It demonstrated global collaboration and leading-edge technology that brought Greater IBMers together across the world. It also was a shining example of an act of pure kindness and consideration I will never forget.

Greater IBM hosted a "virtual book party" for me at IBM’s Business Center at Second Life to help me celebrate the release of my new book. It was a perfect reflection of a putting-our-differences-to-work experience. There were a few IBM Second Life experts mentoring and teaching as this grand experiment came to life. At the helm was a master IBM Intern, Esteban (from El Salvador) leading the way for everyone. For the most part, it was a group of pioneering innovators from our Greater IBM community across the world showing up to step inside a new way to experience connecting with one another. Adventuresome. Curious. Willing to explore — willing to be vulnerable to go where you might not be an expert. That is what it took.

Gibmdkbookparty2We all had to learn how to operate in this 3-D environment — how to show-up, invest ourselves, talk with one another, experiment with dialogue, and have a  party with free-Putting Our Differences to Work-T-shirts they made for the day, refreshments, and even learning to dance. Imagine that!!!

Flor Estevez, Greater IBM Operations Manager and Producer hosted the event (at the mic). Add to that special guests speakers, Mike Wing, IBM VP of Strategic Communications, J.T. (Ted) Childs, former IBM VP, Global Workforce Diversity, and futurist and filmmaker, Joel A. Barker. All three of them, along with Greater IBM, are featured in my book as exemplary leaders of innovation in the art of putting differences to work. Each of them helped to seed the beginning of a conversation. Most of all, seeing Greater IBMers gather from places around the world to be there to share the conversation and experience was truly moving.

It was a special gathering of firsts for everyone at a Greater IBM! History recorded it…and it touched my heart! Thank you!

Did you attend? What was your experience?

Have you joined our growing Greater IBM community? Learn more here…

We’ve got some new events coming up you won’t want to miss!


Dkatdesk2Debbe 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

Photos from The Greater IBM Connection Virtual Christmas Party

Thanks to all who came to The Greater IBM Connection Christmas Party!
I was overwhelmed by my many folk came along and at one point I
couldn’t get into my own disco as the island was full!  We had:

  • Christmas Rides and a nativity scene on IBM
  • A snowman and snowglobe building competition on IBM 1
  • An icerink complete with iceskates on IBM 6
  • A Christmas tree with presents from the IBM architects and a Disco in the Greater IBM Virtual Connection Center on IBM 7

All of the above will be there for a few days if you want to go and visit.

Ian, has beaten me to blogging first with some nice pics, but here’s my photos from the event:

What Christmas is really all about:

Boris rides again!:

Lots of people entered the building competitions and there was a good atmosphere there:

Here are the winners on podiums:

prize was some ultra-cool iceskates.  One of the winners managed to wear
the box instead of the skates… (we’ve all done that at least once :)

The IBM architects were giving out presents under the Christmas tree:

And Anita from SOA land had provided some great festive fare outside our building:

People had fun skating:

The Greater IBM Virtual Connection Center was transformed into a disco for the event:
I could only get in after lots of people had left, so it wasn’t so full when I took pics:

Santa even showed up for a boogie!:

Before relaxing with a gluwein…

been an amazing year, and I think the turnout at short notice to the
party underlines how many Greater IBMers "get it".  You you haven’t taken the plunge into Second Life yet, you can sign up here.  This is one of the ways we are exploring to interact in meaningful wasy with IBMer alumni and IBMers, and given the recent IBM and press attention, we have been riding the wave, so why not jump on-board!  We look forward to seeing you at more events: online, in-person and virtually next year.

Merry Christmas!

The launch of the new virtual IBM islands in Second Life

Well, the big day has arrived for the launch of the new IBM virtual islands complex!  Sandy Kearney the leader of the new 3D internet EBO (Emerging Busines Opportunity) launched the IBM islands
with a rousing speech in Theatre 1…

After that there were some tours around the islands.  We then formally opened our new Greater IBM Virtual Connection Center.


We served up cocktails at the bar, thanks to Doug:

And ok… I had one too many shark attack cocktails ;)

and went to sober up on the viewing platform in seminar room 3…

Feel free to come take a look at the virtual connection center on IBM 7 island in SL.

The Great Machinimania Challenge Meetup

The Greater IBM Connection Machinimania Challenge
(make a video trailer for Greater IBM using Second Life) kickoff
meeting went really well on Friday.  We have loads of uptake and Jacob
Hall lecture theatre was the fullest I’ve seen it.  The island even
maxed-out and people were pinging me saying they couldn’t get it as
there were so many people!

ran through the slide deck for the challenge, and explained how the
challenge would work.  Wayne Smith then gave a live demonstration of
the very cool Bijo Cam tool for doing multiple camera angles.

We had to clear out of Jacob Hall as there was another meeting right afterwards,

suggested we go somewhere else, so what we were not blocking folk from
teleporting into Almaden.  Someone suggested going to Narnia (where
else ;) !), so we all teleported to Cair Paravel without a fur coat or
wardrobe in sight!  Thanks to the owner, who is an IBMer.

there, I gave out some more Greater IBM keyboards, and gave people an
opportunity for people to split up into teams.  Here’s looking forward
to some fantastic submissions for videos.  If people have any
questions, please let us know.

Kevin Aires
Project Manager
The Greater IBM Connection

Greater IBM Virtual Bloc Party in SecondLife report with screenshots

It sounds like a great time was
had by all at last night’s Greater IBM virtual bloc party.  Bloggers are already on the case, with Andy
and Eric Mariacher beating me to it. You can also see Wayne Smith’s pictures on snapzilla.  Wayne was filming all through the event (note the video camera in the screenshot below) and is busily editing as we speak.

The meeting was set up in SecondLife on our new skyPOD on
Almaden island and on an international, operator-assisted conference call.  We had 43 attendees in
total or which 29 were guests, with the rest made up of helpers (thank you very
much!) from IBM’s Virtual Universe Community. We had guests to the skyPOD from as far away as Chile, Brazil and Afganistan.  Other countries represented included USA, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany and Austria.

Guests were welcomed at SpacePort Alpha and Austin
islands for orientation, before they were teleported to Almaden island.  Jean Paul, Mayor of Almaden enabled this to be an exclusive event by limiting access to his island to party guests.  Once on Almaden, despite our best efforts to make directions to the skyPOD clear, some people got a little disorientated and went exploring other parts of the island before we herded them all back to
the teleport point and beamed them up to the Greater IBM skyPOD.

Our fears that the system might slow down due to the large numbers
of people using it thankfully proved unfounded.  This enabled me to take the entire group on a tour around the skyPOD together, which I was concerned may not be possible.

Our guests were shown Steven Harrion’s Amazon bookstore application, which demonstrates how users can order books from within SecondLife.

They also saw an
IBM share price ticker which pulls live stock price information from the internet.  During this tour I gave a demonstration of my “Do Not Disturb Sphere” (a tool I created for future use to ensure that IBMers giving client presentations in SecondLife are not disturbed by other passing SecondLife visitors).

As the sun went down, guests were invited to
take a look over Almaden island from the observation deck. They were then encouraged to practice the
skills needed for the following part of the meeting – using gestures,
sitting down, and standing at a microphone.

We moved through to the adjoining Seminar Hall, where Ian Hughes
(ePredator Potato) presented on IBM’s virtual world activities.  As part of his presentation he showered us
with tennis balls (Ian is a veteran member of IBM’s Wimbledon Tennis Tournament project team), and showed off his new
customised virtual Reebok training shoes to demonstrate how well known brands are experimenting in SecondLife.

Mathew Georghiou, CEO of Mediaspark took us through what his
company is doing in the MMOG education software space, and how worlds like
SecondLife may impact this market in the future.

Jack Mason of IBM Strategic communications, presented on what we are trying to achieve with
The Greater IBM Connection,

and then led us into a breakout session where each table discussed one of these

* What will make Greater IBM most valuable for IBM alumni?

* How can Core Connectors ignite network growth?

* How can IBM become an engine for collaborative innovation?

* What part can virtual worlds play in helping to build
Greater IBM?


A member of each table then reported back to the entire group,

before I formally ended the meeting and thanked everyone for coming.

Most people stayed on for a while to chat with other guests

Guests were each given a Greater IBM gift pack containing a branded T-shirt, cap and flag, all designed by Judge Hocho. I also presented guests with a Greater IBM
keyboard gadget which we had commissioned especially for this event.  These were very well received and one guest told me that he worked for Logitech on keyboard development, so he was particularly impressed!

Virtual Bloc Party Dress Rehearsal

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

Just got finished with a little walk ‘n  talkthrough on the Virtual Bloc Party  were throwing this Thursday.
What you see here is one of the discussion circles where breakout groups can tackle our three brainstorm topics. (See previous post on those questions)

The microphones in the background will also enable participants to ask questions (via our simulcast conference call) and help us keep track of avatars and the people behind them.

While the Virtual Bloc Party will be a bit experimental, I can tell you this….
the best thing about this effort is that so many of our colleagues in the Virtual Universe Community, the hotbed of activity that self-assembled across IBM this year, have chipped in in so many ways, just as they did for the 3D Jam last month.

For example, Judge Hocho (his  stogie-chompin’ avatar’s name, pictured here),has created some very nice giveaways for our guests.  And CopterPilot Sikorsky is looking into how we can capture and share our brainstorming and network-building soiree in some very clever new ways.  Fingers crossed on that front.

We have others who have volunteered to serve as moderators, stewards and party helpers, so on the social networking front within IBM, putting this event together has already built our bonds. A thousand thanks to everyone who is stepping up.

Biggest props go to Kevin Aires, Greater IBM’s new project manager (aka Boris Frampton in SL), who has done just an incredible job of assembling all the virtual, as well as actual, elements, of our metaverse workshop.

Some of the exhibits he’s assembled for show and tell in Greater IBM’s skyPOD hover-house include RSS  from Greater IBM’s external Web sources (courtesy of our Virtual Universe comrade, Hugo Dagleish) and an automatatic notecard dispenser.

If he can help the Greater IBM Connection itself become as innovative as our forthcoming virtual gathering, I’m very bullish on our prospects to create the world’s most delightful and useful business social network.