“…this is also a time when we are seeing critical masses of customers—including businesspeople as much or more so than CIOs—change their view of analytics from something that’s fuzzy and impossible for non-specialists to understand, to a mainstream set of business tools that no companies can afford to be without.”— As IBM Accelerates Analytics Business, Can Anyone Keep Up?
A Harris Interactive survey of the attitudes of 304 Fortune 1000 executives toward enterprise innovation. IT is viewed as having been the most innovative function within executives’ own companies during the past 10 years (44 percent), beating customer service, marketing and sales.
If you’re like me, you turn your computer on each morning and leave it on all day even when you might be out of the office temporarily attending a meeting or at lunch. And, even when you’re at your desk, you are probably rarely taxing your laptop or desktop computer’s processing power to any great extent. This unused computing horsepower could be put to a useful purpose, if only there was a way to gain access to it.
That’s precisely the idea behind the World Community Grid — a project that IBM has been supporting for several years now. The World Community Grid’s latest initiative — helping scientists come up with clean and safe water solutions — was announced today. From the story in the IBM Press Room:
IBM’s World Community Grid, a worldwide network of PC owners helping scientists solve humanitarian challenges, today announced several computing projects aimed at developing techniques to produce cleaner and safer water, an increasingly scarce commodity eluding at least 1.2 billion people worldwide.
“When NASA wanted to look for water on the moon, it used a MEMS-enabled near-IR portable spectrometer. At the MEMS [Microelectromechanical systems] Technology Summit, Steve Senturia, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus. MIT, and the former chairman and CTO at Polychromix (purchased by Thermo Fisher Scientific in June 2010), presented details about the Phazir spectrometer NASA used.”—
IBM says it has patented a natural disaster warning system, which uses analytic techniques that accurately and precisely conducts post-event analysis of seismic events, such as earthquakes, as well as provide early warnings for tsunamis, which can follow earthquakes. The invention also provides the ability to rapidly measure and analyze the damage zone of an earthquake to help prioritize emergency response needed following an earthquake.
Think those young workers, fresh out of college, all shiny and idealistic are driving the use of social networking at your company?
Well, think again.
The youngest workers in the office aren’t the driving force behind social networking in the enterprise. It’s Generation X - people between 29 and 49 - who are taking to these new tools, according to a Forrester Consulting study.
And it’s not just Gen-Xers showing up the Generation Y-ers, who range from 15 to 28 years old, in the office. The report, which was sponsored by Citrix Systems, noted that after Gen X workers, Baby Boomers over 55 were the most likely to use social tools in the workplace.
When you ask business leaders what is needed to survive and thrive in today’s complex economic and global marketplace, the list is long – leadership, creativity, collaboration, innovation, motivation, trust, teamwork, partnerships, learning organizations, rationality, quality decision-making and problem solving skills, accountability and resiliency. But even though there is often consensus on what’s needed – there doesn’t appear to be any real understanding of how you get these things from people – or where they even come from.
The concept that many of these goal can be achieved through a more open, transparent organisation that supports idea sharing and collaboration is evidently extremely hard to accept.
Experts from the Center for Creative Leadership, the Sovos Group and IBM explore how social computing is transforming the way employees collaborate and work together. Live on the IBM New Intelligence Channel
Challenges to Organizational Transformation
New trends, no matter how revolutionary, must still overcome the limitations of the past before becoming fully adopted. In organizations, legacy systems and platforms, cultural elements, and governance requirements all work to limit the willingness to experiment and innovate.
Information Should Empower: Increased openness and better communication can empower employees of an organization and directly improve results, but managers still fight to retain control. When replicated across a business, this develops into an organizational inertia that can stymie growth.
The IT / Marketing Disconnect: IT controls the technology infrastructure used to deploy and manage organizational information. Marketing manages the external communications that rely on said infrastructure. Yet these two organizations are often forced to compete for headcount and resources, reducing the ability and willingness to collaborate and improve processes.
“Us” Vs. “Them.” Competitive strategy drives businesses to hunker down behind the physical walls of an office and the virtual walls of a brand. Customers are seen as “targets” whose participation is limited to handing over money. Competitors are seen as “enemies.” Suppliers are viewed as “necessary evils.” This approach to business may produce short-term results, but at the expense of true collaboration and long-term results – everyone benefits when these relationships are viewed as an ecosystem of related collaborators rather than competing interests.
In order to meet these looming challenges, businesses need to fully understand the legacy structures in place within an organization and determine how to leverage these structures while implementing new processes to improve results.
In an effort ambitiously dubbed the “Learning Genome Project,” the for-profit powerhouse says it is building a new learning interface that gets to know each of its 400,000 students personally and adapts to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of their “learning DNA.”
Unlike analog forms of student profiling — such as surveys, which are only as effective as the students’ ability to diagnose their own learning needs — Phoenix’s Learning Genome Project will be designed to infer details about students from how they behave in the online classroom, McQuaig said. If students grasp content more quickly when they learn it from a video than when they have to read a text, the system will feed them more videos. If a student is bad at interpreting graphs, the system will recognize that and present information accordingly — or connect the student with another Phoenix student who is better at graph-reading. The idea is to take the model of personal attention now only possible in the smallest classrooms and with the most responsive professors, make it even more perceptive and precise, and scale it to the largest student body in higher education.