E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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ThinkPlace – A Web Application for Facilitation Innovation through Idea Generation, Collaboration and Refinement

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Those of you who have been asking me lately what IBM has been up to in the space of innovation, after the great success of the InnovationJam, are going to find this particular weblog post interesting and rather relevant. You may have even seen it already, since there have been quite a few conversations about it, with some really good and relevant descriptions over here as well, for instance; including as well some initial announcements.

In the past I have been weblogging about this particular IBM initiative that keeps driving innovation behind the firewall, which is called ThinkPlace. You may have seen already though how things are starting to go beyond the firewall and as such that is also part of the purpose from this particular weblog entry. To point you to a recent new initiative coming up from IBM where a few weeks ago they have launched that same internal application, ThinkPlace, but for external use, so that not only IBMers, but also everyone out there who would want to chime would have an opportunity to help drive innovation that matters not only for ourselves, but also for our world.

And it all got started with an important challenge: Which areas of innovation hold the best promise for enabling economic development in Africa? You can certainly go ahead and click on the link to check it out. The challenge is now closed. But during the first few weeks that it took place (I was travelling in between so didn’t get a chance to cover it as it would deserve) there were about 80 different ideas that were generated with several hundred comments from both IBMers and other Internet users who decided to chime in on the important issues that would have a clear impact on improving the current situation. Out of those ideas there is a whole bunch of them who have been adopted by Catalysts and which will be brought into implementation making it not just a nice initiative to have, but one with a real impact. An impact that everyone has been able to make and which will give us all a chance to help improve different areas in multiple ways.

With this particular URL link you would be able to find out some more about what would happen to those ideas and how things will move forward, but not to worry, because there is a new challenge up and running at the moment. One that I think this audience would find quite an interesting one: Open collaboration gets more — open. Now what? and which I will think would drag a whole bunch of us into participating further. It is basically a challenge that will help drive the way we interact and collaborate in the near future, specially with the focus on social computing and Web 2.0.

A few ideas have been submitted already and the comments, the ratings and the tags keep flowing nicely into the whole thing. So I bet that in a few days time things will be even much more participative than whatever they may well be at this point in time.

So there you have it, IBM is helping drive innovation beyond the firewall with an application we have been using internally for a couple of years now, called ThinkPlace. An application that allows you to submit an idea, actively collaborate in it with a bunch of folks, you can also rate it and tag it, you can share your interest about it and, most importantly, you can keep the conversations going in such a way that you would be able to see how a number of those ideas would be adopted by catalysts and therefore make it into an implementation stage at some point. Oh, and you can subscribe to the Atom feeds as well so that you can keep an eye on the different ideas that get submitted and see how you can contribute to them. Pretty neat, if you ask me.

I know that there may be folks out there who would want to find out some more about how ThinkPlace works and how they can get things going, and for those I can certainly imagine that the best place to get started is the ThinkPlace homepage. From there you can check out the FAQ section, or the Forum (Yes, there is one there, too!), and whatever else that may be able. And after you have gone through all of that, you are ready to go. Ready to share your best ideas, get other people to collaborate with you in improving them, share your knowledge with others and keep innovating by coming up with refined ideas that would then be making it through the implementation stage.

Who said that innovation that matters would be so difficult, right? Well, with ThinkPlace things just got a little bit easier for you. Are you ready to tap into it and continue making a difference? I surely hope so. I will see you there some time soon and keep an eye on all of those challenges as every now and then there would be a new one where you can contribute with your thoughts and ideas! Let’s do it!

(One last thing, you would notice that in order to participate in ThinkPlace you would need to register creating an IBM ID, so if you do not have one, I would suggest you go and create one. Takes a couple of minutes and you would be able to use it for a whole bunch of the ibm.com services. And, yes, I know, it would great if ThinkPlace would make use of the OpenID services. Perhaps at some point in time. Who knows …)

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  1. I would appreciate your feedback. I have revieved a lot of emails and traffic from a post last week on EW2.0 so expanded how I and JackBe views the landscape.
    “I expanded a portion of this new picture to incorporate the two facets of Web 2.0 (The social collaborative paradigm shift & the Web 2.0 technology enablers that make this possible), how these once implemented correctly make up the Enterprise Web 2.0 infrastructure, and lastly how with the addition of a Enterprise collaborative paradigm shift, all make up Enterprise 2.0.”

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