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

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IBM’s Social Business Jam – The Fun Part Starts Now!


Yes, IBM‘s Social Business Jam is now over, actually, it finished already on Friday noon EST last week, but the fun part starts now! Although we can no longer post any new ideas or comments, or follow-up responses to conversations we have been having, we have got two weeks, till February 25th, to continue reading some of the brilliant content that was shared across the board during the course of 72 hours. For registered users, that is, but you can go and dive in right here. From there onwards, it’s time for the anaytics part of the Jam to take place and then within a short couple of weeks after we will be getting the results of how the event went, but, most interestingly, what will happen to some of the best ideas that have been shared during the Jam itself. Indeed, my favourite part of the online event, since it provides an opportunity to follow up AND make a difference with not just talking but also DOING!

Thus, while we await for that final report of the Jam event, while we get to navigate through the hundreds of posts and ideas, I thought I would drop by over here and share this particular blog entry with you folks to try to answer a good number of different comments and questions I received over the course of the event from folks who didn’t know enough about how Jams work and who wanted to know plenty more with queries like “How come IBM Jams are not very social online events?” Well, they were never meant to be that social, in the first place, at least, as social as we perceive the Social Web nowadays.

Chris Miller has got a rather interesting blog post on the topic of last week’s IBM Social Business Jam, where he includes a bunch of statistics on the outcome of the online event itself,ย but what a better way of describing IBM Jams and how they actually work than going right to the source with its Program Director, fellow colleague and good friend, Liam Cleaver, who just recently did a YouTube interview with fellow IBMer Lou Lazarus where he covered what IBM Jams, how they were born over 10 years ago!, how they have shaped up IBM to become what it is today with the Innovation Jams and, specially, the Values Jam , how they have helped transform customers’ corporate culture as well,ย and how they tap into the Social Web as a complement of what’s already available.

The interview lasts for about 7 minutes and here you have got the direct link to it; I would certainly recommend it if you would want to find out plenty more on how Jams are being used, and rather effectively, as smart crowdsourcing for small or large groups on a specific set of topics of interest for small and large audiences alike as well. To me, that’s what Jams are all about; not much of a social conversation going on, but an effort to crowd source a whole bunch of ideas on a given topic, participate as heavily as you can, in as many conversations as you possibly can handle over the course of 72 hours (Yes, it will be exhausting!), but then get all of that input coming across nicely when analytics kick in, which is the next phase we are entering now.

As you will see, not much of a chance to make Jams very social, even thought #sbjam in Twitter has been rather hectic, but then again, and as Liam himself mentioned, Jams continue to evolve, it’s been a continuous learning experience over the course of the years, so I am sure we will be seeing eventually how Jams will socialise the concept of crowdsourcing right into the tool itself in upcoming ones. And somehow I sense that will bring the conversation into a whole new level of engagement AND empowerment, coincidentally, two of the hottest topics from the Social Business Jam itself! For now though, here is the embedded version of the interview so you can hit Play right away:

(Oh, needless to say that, once the final results of the Jam are out there available to everyone, I will be putting together another blog post over here where I will share those outcomes, along with some further insights, including what will be happening next… Thus stay tuned for more to come!)

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  1. Great thoughts on smart crowdsourcing. I have used those Jams — like the one for SOA for years to better meet the needs of my clients.

    Thanks for participating and blogging about it!

    1. Hi Sandy! Thanks a lot for dropping by and for the great feedback comments! Indeed, Jams are ideal for massive online group discussions on given topics, whether to be hosted internally, or externally with customers and business partners; ideal to help ideas flourish and then get to develop them jointly with your customers making them participate of that co-creation process. Some really good stuff!

      I had a blast with IBM’s Social Business Jam, just like the Values and Innovation Jams and surely look forward to the next ones!

      Thanks a lot, Sandy, for chiming in as well and for participating in the conversations as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hi Luis – Based on your comments above, as well as some of the #sbjam comments, I still think some people have a misconception about what it means to be social, particularly within the context of crowdsourcing.

    As you know, Jams have pre-defined objectives, and the diverse insight they bring together is critical to achieving those goals. That diversity is intended to come from those involved in and/or affected by the Jam themes and outcomes…a relatively targeted and knowledgeable crowd with a stake in the game. This affords us meaningful dialogue and keeps Jam discussions focused. So to your point, Jams are not intended to aggregate opinions from extremely broad audiences.

    Despite #sbjam being a smaller-scale Jam (at least by IBM standards), there were over 2,600 comments across hundreds of discussion threads from ‘Jammers’ in over 80 countries. That’s pretty social to me.

    Certainly we can think about ways to make the Jam experience more social for those who registered, such as embedding the Twitter stream (#sbjam in this case) or enhancing the capabilities of ‘My Network’ via social analytics.

    Thanks for evangelizing Jams and all your contributions, Luis…I need these next two weeks just to read your 120+ posts!

    1. Hi Bob! Thanks a bunch for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Lovely input and surely agree with you with those remarks! I actually think people were a bit surprised they didn’t see a much tighter integration with social tools like FB, Twitter or LinkedIn; I think that’s where the “social” part was coming from that most folks missed.

      I think Jams are very social events themselves, if you look into what powerful means of collaborating on a specific set of ideas each and everyone them really are. In fact, their forum-like nature would certainly convince most folks that we have been social all along, not just with social software.

      I feel what most folks would be interested in is how, in upcoming Jam events, there is a tighter integration with those social tools to help amplify their already massive effect to foster group collaboration on specific ideas. Rather fascinating uptake and from what I know from Liam, they are always very happy to improve the overall experience and I bet that’s what they would be up to next …

      RE: Posts, yeah, I know, sorry! I was carried away with so much going on I thought I could share my ยข2 in multiple places; too bad I was totally disconnected for half of the Jam ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehe

      1. Thanks Luis.

        Yes, more social from technical and integration perspectives, sure.

        As you and Liam point out, the technology is still evolving, and I’m sure the team will continue working on ways to maximize engagement and impact.

        (Also, likely there are a few legal hurdles to overcome regarding publication of the actual Jam content.)

        1. Hi Bob, thanks for the follow up! Yes, I am sure that integration will become tighter in upcoming Jams, as we moved along. I think this was the first one that was *really* “out there” for the Social Web related folks, so I can imagine once they have opened up their doors and provided some feedback, somehow I feel those enhancements will eventually be making it across!

          Yes, I agree with you on the legal hurdles to overcome RE: publication of the actual Jam content, but I am hoping there may well be a “cleaned up” version of the Jam results, ready to be consumed publicly out there; there are far too many folks out there already wondering what will be happening next ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll see how it goes… Keeping my fingers crossed!

    1. Hi Tonya, many thanks for that lovely feedback and for adding further up! Oh course, I would love to contribute the final results into crowdsourcing.org It sounds like plenty of good fun and I bet it would raise some interesting conversations as well!!

      I will keep you guys informed as we move along and whenever I am ready to post it, I will go ahead and let you folks know!

      Thanks a bunch for reaching out and looking forward to sharing plenty more with you folks soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Luis,

    As a data-driven analyst, I’m envious of the fun part you’re doing now with the Social Business Jam! I can only imagine what you’re doing on the back end to measure influence, activity, networks, and maybe even the transference of themes and topics from track to track to understand whether there was any virality.

    I look forward to the results!

    1. Hi Hyoun! Thanks a million for dropping by and for the feedback! Yes, indeed, it’s going to be quite an rolle-coaster, and although I am not going to be heavily involved myself with that stage of looking into the analytics of the Jam, I know a few folks who will be, so we can keep things going further. Actually, if you would be interested I could ask whether they could perhaps give you a preview of how it would work. No guarantees we could get it to work, but, hey, we can always ask, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      By the way, on that YouTube video clip, Liam mentions how they are partnering with the SWG folks from COBRA, so thought I would a link to it over here, just in case you may not have heard about it and would want to know more… Have a look and let me know if you would want me to hook you up! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Thanks again for the feedback comments! Greatly appreciated!

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