As part of the launch of the New York-based IBM Business Analytics Center last week, we announced a new social media project — the Smarter Cities Scan. Our goal is to build a Smarter Cities Open Model or public blueprint for a smarter city. Think of it is a kind of kernel of a Smarter City’s operating system, or a first draft of its constitution.
The way we hope to develop this asset is new and different: through multimedia posts from people around the world.
This experiment is now open for creative and strategic thinkers everywhere — young urban digital natives, IBMers, researchers, educators, experts, entrepreneurs, city officials, grassroot groups — to share their ideas and insights on the smarter city they want to live in and help build.
We’ve partnered with New York-based Tumblr on this crowd-sourced research and open knowledge exchange. We first started working with Tumblr for the microblogging site that complements and extends this blog. Smarter Planet | Tumblr now also feeds all the topics on the Smarter Planet site on ibm.com.
The Main Ingredient: You. And You. You Too.
For this exercise in collaborative innovation and hive intelligence to succeed, we need significant numbers of people to contribute their diverse thinking over the next few months. That will generate the very large, complex data set that can then be analyzed and processed into a useful model.
Since participants can post a variety of content — video, images, links, text, quotes and any combination of these — the information will be inherently complex. But its up to every participant to share their views and up to all of us to leverage the social web to encourage the volume of participation and data necessary.
Here’s what the screen to submit a post looks like:
How the Scan works
From the homepage – http://smartercities.tumblr.com – simply click on Post Your Ideas to start contributing images, video, links, quotes, text or any combination of all of these. You can even submit a post by email, or via a mobile phone, by sending your thoughts and ideas to email@example.com.
You don’t need to have a Tumblr account to submit a post, but please include your city and country and any descriptive tags at the bottom of your post so that your ideas can be tagged for others to find. You can also easily create a free Tumblr account if you like this easy-to-use, multimedia microblogging tool.
You ‘re always free to scan all posts, search on topics and tags, soak up some of Smarter Cities background and inspiration material in the about section, or find answers in our Help & FAQ section. You can also send any suggestions, questions or problems to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are we calling this a Scan?
IBM has a successful track record with our online Jams, intensive global brainstorming events, but we opted to call this new style of social media collaboration a Scan to distinguish it in a few ways . First, “Scan” reflects the visual and informative nature of the collaboration: participants and viewers can scan the horizon of smartercities thinking to learn about this vital frontier. What’s more, “scan” underscore the analytical aspect of it — the data mining and pattern recognition that will be applied to all the content to help create an open model.
IBM’s Jams have tended to be of shorter duration, and more centered on threaded, text-based discussion. The Scan will run longer — the next several months — and enables people to contribute a wider range of content types.
Finally, in addition to sharing your two cents worth by posting, each of us can provide invaluable support by sharing the link to this project with your city networks, communities and channels. Tweet, blog, bookmark, repost and broadcast as far and wide as you are able.
Yes we Scan.