IBM’s Social Business Jam – Are You Jamming Yet?

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What an exciting 10 days it’s been so far! Absolutely wonderful! Rather difficult to forget and still musing about them, even if that meant that I would not be getting more than an average of 4 to 5 hours of sleep every single day, except for this past weekend that I decided to take it easy and recover from quite an exciting and exhilarating experience. Alas it had to come to an end to a certain point. Of course, I am talking about IBM’s Lotusphere 2011 conference event that took place from January 30th till February 3rd and my short visit to Morristown, New Jersey, to conduct a couple of workshops for some customers on The Social Enterprise and Social Software Adoption.

By the time that you folks would be reading this blog post I will be back home, trying not to fall in the trap inducted by the usual jet-lag, but still with a huge amount of energy and excitement that I would want to share with everyone! What a buzzing experience! What a fantastic event it’s been from day one! This year will mark the beginning of a new era for IBM, a before and an after, and you will see what I mean very very soon. I am already putting together a bunch of blog entries, highlighting what I feel have been the best tidbits of the event itself, going from the OGS, the keynote and breakout sessions I attended, the bunch of brilliant people I re-united with or met up for the first time, the multiple customer conversations I had, etc. etc. The list is rather large, which means that I will probably condense all of those draft posts and share the highlights on a per day basis, to make it easier on everyone.

But that’s the subject for another series of blog posts. What I would like to share with you now is basically the main reason why I have been quiet on the blog and in most of my social interactions over the last few hours and why it will continue to be like that till it is done… Did you know IBM is hosting its own Social Business Jam that kicked off already over 44 hours ago? Did you know there are still another 28 hours to go? Did you know you, too, can participate by registering into the event and share your insights on the main theme?:

“Throughout this event, we will share ideas and experiences to learn from one another while exploring the value of social technology in business, how to mitigate potential risks, and what management system elements will be required to drive organizational transformation”

Yes, that’s right! As you may have seen it already elsewhere (If you would want to read one of the best blog reviews out there on the Internet blogosphere about the Lotusphere event, start with that link from Paul Greenberg. Just plain brilliant!), IBM is going BIG with Social Business and to kick things off, as part of the IBM Centennial celebrations, the Smarter Planet initiative, last week’s Lotusphere event (With its main theme Get Social. Do Business) and a bunch of other activities IBM has launched, and which I will be talking about shortly as well, this week we have got the unique opportunity to chime in and participate in this special Jam event. An opportunity not to be missed, if you ask me, specially, if you are interested in all things social, to say the least!

I am sure at this point in time you are very familiar already with the concept of IBM Jams, since we have been running them since 2001, but in case you may not have been exposed to them just yet, they are these massive online collaboration platforms a la Forums where a bunch of people gather around to share their ideas on a given topic and discuss, learn and nurture further conversations as a result of interacting with other fellow participants. With the end result to then run some analytics to evaluate the results and propose some new initiatives that may come out as a result of the Jam itself. Pretty amazing experience, I can tell you, on the verge of perhaps a bit overwhelming, but still pretty exciting altogether to converse with people about what drives their passion; this time around, for all of us, on Social Business.

Like I said, Jams, are somewhat similar to the traditional Forums, and, as such, we eventually have got 5 different forum topics for this week’s Jam that I thought I would be sharing with you over here, as a teaser, so you can get a glimpse of what you could expect as you dive into the lovely waters:

As you would be able to see, there is a topic out there for everyone where they would feel they would want to contribute! Pick your theme and share your passion on everything social! There is still plenty of time to contribute! I, too, have taken the opportunity to participate in the Jam despite my last customer visit and my offline time while I’ve been in transit on my way home, but I am very pleased with the outcome of the conversations so far; lots of really interesting and exciting conversations I’m hoping to be able to expand on over here as time goes by and we see them mature accordingly.

I am sure at this point in time you may be wondering what kinds of themes I may have been getting involved with, right? hehe Well, I have been spending most of my time exploring “Building the Social Business of the Future” as well as the theme on “Building Participatory Organisations Through Social Adoption” and about to start diving into “Using Social to Understand and Engage with Customers” and have been chiming in in a good number of conversations, perhaps far too many to mention them all over here. However, I *did* get started with a few posts on topics that have been in my mind for a while now related to Social Computing and Social Software Adoption and I thought it would perhaps be a good idea to share the subject lines to give you a sense of what I am interested in as of late:

  • Engage Alumni as Part Timers: a potential solution to a huge problem; baby boomers on the brink of starting to retire, and with them their knowledge!, and the unemployment % amongst youngsters over 45% in several European countries, and I bet others, too! Perhaps the best of both worlds: reverse mentoring.
  • It All Starts with Narrating Your Work: Of course, I could not leave out Observable Work, a.k.a. #owork; perhaps one of my favourite interest areas as of late, specially when thinking about how microblogging and activity streams could help out tremendously in moving forward that clarity, openness, transparency within any business. 
  • Leaving a Legacy Behind: specially oriented towards those knowledge hoarders out there, who have been working in companies for decades and who still feel that “Knowledge Is Power” and therefore not willing to share much of what they know …
  • Embracing Personal Branding: or, lately, work your magic through for your own digital eminence; over here I’m covering the topic of how both the corporate and personal brands can blend and merge and eventually get the most out of both! After all, all of the personal brands make up for the organisational one, don’t you think?
  • Embrace Task Centric Computing: this topic has probably been one of our more profound lessons learned we have adopted over at the BlueIQ team in our methodology to successfully help accelerate the adoption of social software inside IBM. Basically, moving away from a technology and tools focus and instead put all of our efforts on the tasks and activities at hand that knowledge workers execute on a daily basis and how we could inject 2.0 flavours through education has been incredibly successful. So far the results have been very promising and was wondering whether other orgs. have made such transition as well and what their experiences have been like so far. Oh, and in the conversations the concept of Adaptive Case Management is also coming along.
  • Can you become a social business without making use of email?:  Of course, I couldn’t help it; I had to go for this one, specially, since earlier on this week Atos Origin announced one of those challenges I can’t wait to see the results on, even if that would mean having to wait for three years. Yes, apparently, that’s the time it will take Atos Origin to get rid of internal, work related email altogether and instead transition into social software tools to collaborate and share knowledge much more effectively. Hummm, where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, of course, from yours truly, with the now popular, it seems, motto of living “A World Without Email“. Now, for me, three years have gone by so far and although I can’t claim I have gotten rid completely of email I have been capable of reducing it by more than 95%, so I suspect Atos Origin may be able to reach similar milestones; it would be interesting to see how they address calendaring and scheduling as well as 1:1 confidential / private conversations that I still get myself every so often to engage with. What do you folks think? Can you become a social business without making use of email?

Well, that’s it! Those are some of the main topics I have contributed into the Jam, along with a whole bunch other responses in multiple themes all around the subject of becoming a social business, collaboration, knowledge sharing, learning, online communities, etc. Like I said at the beginning of this blog entry, you would have to excuse me for a few hours more, since the Social Business Jam is going on in full force and I plan to spend most of the time in there, exchanging ideas, learning new things, and sharing our experiences and know-how on adopting social software tools successfully. Hope you would be able to join us for a few more hours and share your insights, too! Not sure what you would think, but opportunities like this one are very rare and we should not let them pass by just like that!

Are you ready to jam? I surely am! I’ll see you there shortly!

Oh, by the way, if you would want to get a glimpse of what Lotusphere 2011 has been this year, check out the Twitter streams under #ls11 or just check out this other link, where all of the live tweets have been captured over the course of the week; also for the Social Business Jam there is a hash tag a bunch of us are using to promote some of the conversations that are taking place in there. It’s called #sbjam and you can follow the tweets as well over at this link. Hope to see you there very soon! Keep having fun!

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