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

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APQC KM & Innovation 2007 – Communities: Hotbeds of Innovation at IBM

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Following further up with some more weblog posts from the APQC KM & Innovation event, this time around I am going to be talking about something that I was asked during the conference event several times and that only now I have finally managed to make it possible for everyone. As you may all recall from several weblog entries, I was actually attending the APQC event because I was going to speak along with a couple of my colleagues, Alice Dunlap-Kraft and Mary Ellen Sullivan, around the subject of communities and how they keep driving innovation further inside IBM.

The title of the session we did was Communities: Hotbeds of Innovation at IBM. And in that presentation we tried to cover a number of different topics from one of the various different community building programmes we currently have inside IBM, in particular from the Global Business Services business unit community building programme.

The presentation is divided in three distinct blocks, covered each of them by one of us:

1. First section where you would find out some bits and pieces of information around the subject of what IBM is doing in the area of Innovation, and innovation that matters, with concrete examples like InnovationJam and ThinkPlace (Which I have blogged about just recently as well). This was covered by Alice Dunlap-Kraft.

2. Second section (This is the piece that I did myself) was around the subject of Collaboration Technology and in here we tried to cover a good number of different examples from various communities making effective use of social computing and social software tools in order to help drive innovation further by sharing their knowledge and collaborating amongst community members. In this part of the deck you will see then:

– How various IBM communities are making use of internal wikis (Wiki Central) to conduct online massive brainstorm sessions on specific topics;
– How they are also making use of internal wikis (Wiki Central) to collaboratively work on ThinkPlace ideas to help bring them into implementation;
– How they are also making use of group collaborative IM tools like Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 (Through the extensive use of various community related plugins);
– How they have been using internal blogs (Blog Central) to continue further with different conversations that may have started elsewhere and still keep them going strong;
– How they have been using social bookmarks (Dogear) to help organise and tag content related to the community or to innovation related resources and whatever else;
– How they have been taking advantage of ThinkPlace’s social computing capabilities (i.e. Tagging) to connect ideas with other ideas, but also community members with other members who would collaborative work on progressing further with those same ideas;
– How they have been making good use as well of Activities (i.e. Activity Centric Computing) in order to find better ways of collaborating than just through other traditional tools like e-mail;
– And, finally, how they have been able to use different Social Network Analysis tools, i.e. SmallBlue.in order to find out how the community operates internally and how different members of the community are connecting and collaborating with one another based on a multi complex layer of interactions from various community tools.

3. Finally, the third section, covered by May Ellen Sullivan is actually a case study from one of the most robust and mature IBM communities within this particular programme. It is called the Global Innovation Community and in this case study you would be able to see how the community came into existence, how the community members are getting together, what its main goals would be and how the community is making extensive use of social software tools to help members collaborate with one another. Special attention as well on how they have been able to explore the different opportunities from the virtual worlds, like Second Life.

And that would be it. That is the basic outline of the presentation which I have already shared over at Slideshare and which I am embedding over here as well further down below. If you are interested in getting a copy of the slide deck you would be able to get them as well from that same link. And to finish off the presentation here are the closing remarks from the presentation from one good friend of mine and fellow IBMer; Lynn Busby:

"Innovation is the creative side of collaboration
Collaboration is built on trust
Trust is built on relationships
Relationships are built by getting to know others
"

(If you have got a comment or some further feedback input feel free to drop a comment over here, over at the Slideshare link or contact me offline)

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