By Steve Hamm
Amid the chaos of civil war, Abdigani Diriye’s family fled Somalia in a rush when he was just five years old. Diriye and his sister escaped to London in the care of a 19-year-old aunt; his father flew to Sweden; and his mother made her way through the battle zone to Kenya.
Diriye’s childhood experience was common for Somalis of his generation. Many people had it much worse. But Diriye stands out in another way: After living in the UK and the US for 25 years, he’s returning to Africa next month to help solve its many problems—as a new member of the team at IBM Research – Africa. “It could have easily been me still in Somalia living on $2 a day with no access to clean water,” he says. “It’s my social responsibility to go back and give back.”Continue Reading »
By Sandy Carter
Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the only place in the world where entrepreneurship seemed to happen through spontaneous combustion. So cities and countries all over tried to copy it–with only modest success.
Well, something strange is happening in the early years of the 21st century. Startup fever is on the move, both within the United States and globally.
The spirit of global entrepreneurship will be on display Feb. 6 in San Francisco, where the IBM SmartCamp program will present its fourth annual Entrepreneur of the Year award. The contestants, boiled down from 1200 applicants, qualified for the finals via a series of regional contests last year. They hail from Brazil, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia and Malaysia—as well as a couple of unlikely spots in the United States, Camden, N.J., and Fresno, Calif.
By Steve Hamm
Back in 1999, when Mike McCue and Angus Davis left Internet pioneer Netscape Communications to start their own company, they adopted a simple motto: Only consider ideas that are big enough to make your head hurt. Ultimately, they founded TellMe Networks with the goal of making the Internet available to people everywhere via voice interactions. It was a precursor of Siri. They later sold the company to Microsoft.
A number of the suggestions we received in response to our What Should We Do With Watson? contest followed the same directive. They’re big, they’re bold, and some of them make your head hurt. For example, this comment from Hemant Shah, an M.D. and medical informatics researcher at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit: “Watson should be deployed to answer: ‘What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?” he wrote, quoting from the science fiction classic, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. “I’m being funny, but I’m also serious. You have to take on the big challenges,” he says. Continue Reading »
By Eric Lesser
You might think that the key to selling popcorn at a movie theater concession stand is adeptness at operating the cash register. And since the vast majority of concession stand workers are high school and college students, you might think that high employee turnover would be part of the normal cost of doing business.
More on this in a bit, but beliefs such as these highlight the difference between managing talent and employee engagement through intuition versus analytics.
A soon-to-be-released IBM study based on interviews with 342 chief human resource officers (CHROs) across six continents finds that many businesses are not taking full advantage of the insights delivered by workforce analytics. As a result, companies are missing out on an opportunity to manage talent and enhance customer value. Continue Reading »
By Erich Clementi
When Thomas J. Watson Sr. renamed a small New York manufacturing firm International Business Machines in 1924, it was both a reflection of his outsized ambitions and a projection of his belief that business would go global in the 20th century. He was right on both counts. Since then, IBM has led the way in enabling companies to become multinational organizations even while it has emerged as a globally integrated enterprise–with more than 430,000 employees doing business in 170 countries.
Today, IBM is taking steps to lead yet another wave of change in business and technology—one that promises to transform organizations, business models and the way work is done. We’re taking cloud computing global. Continue Reading »
By Michael Karasick
When Thomas J. Watson Sr. joined IBM in 1914 as its president, the firm didn’t have a single engineer on its payroll, so he quickly hired engineers and set up a product development group in a brownstone near New York’s Penn Station. He created a patent development department in 1932 and, in 1945, he established the first corporate scientific research laboratory. Today, IBM Research has grown to become the largest corporate research organization in the world, with 3000 professionals at 12 labs in 10 countries.
The point is that the nature of innovation keeps evolving and organizations have to change with it.
That’s why IBM is adopting a new approach to innovation for our newly formed IBM Watson Group, which will be headquartered in New York’s Silicon Alley. In the group, we are melding research, product development, experience design and collaboration with business partners and clients—all with the goal of accelerating the development of cognitive computing solutions for many of the world’s most vexing problems. This new era of computing requires a new approach to innovation.
Our Watson initiative builds on top of IBM’s long tradition of innovation, which placed IBM as the No. 1 recipient of US patents in 2013 for the 21st year in a row. We received 6,809 patents, easily outdistancing Samsung, the No. 2 finisher, with 4,676. The next US company on the top 10 list, Microsoft, ranked No. 5.
By Michael Haydock
Making a buck is becoming progressively more challenging for brick-and-mortar retailers. Nearly two decades after Amazon.com and others began to chop away at the underpinnings of the traditional retailing business model, the pervasiveness of smartphones, the emergence of the digitally-empowered consumer, and the prospect of one-day delivery make the future of physical retailing seem ever more tenuous.
I use the word “seem” advisedly, because I believe smart retailers will learn to thrive in the future through a combination of Big Data analytics, omni-channel strategies and continuous reinvention.
These high-stakes issues are top of mind this week as the National Retail Federation stages its annual convention in New York City. IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty, is delivering today’s keynote address. She’ll describe how Big Data and changing consumer expectations are intersecting with a confluence of cloud computing, analytics, social and mobile to fundamentally reshape commerce—with huge implications for retailers. Continue Reading »
Today, IBM announced a major new initiative aimed at accelerating progress in the era of cognitive computing. Three years after IBM Watson’s stunning victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, we have created a new business unit, IBM Watson Group, to be headquartered in New York City’s Silicon Alley. The organization is unique within IBM– integrating research, software, systems design, services and industry expertise. The goal is to be nimble and easy for business partners to deal with. Follow the live blog here. Tweets at #IBMWatson.
9:55 a.m. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty
We see a major shift in computing. This is as big as the shifts we lead in the history of computing. In the1960s, with the mainframe; in the 1980s, with the IBM PC; in the 1990s, with IBM global services. Today is another major step forward for us and our clients. Continue Reading »
By Michael Rhodin
It takes the pharmaceutical industry an average of 12 years and nearly $400 million to bring a new drug from the lab to your local pharmacy. The laborious process crimps productivity for the industry and delays the arrival of life-saving treatments for patients. But what if pharma companies could spot promising new drug candidates much more quickly? Everybody wins.
Well, just such a speed-up is on the way. A new cloud service, the IBM Watson Discovery Advisor harnesses the power of IBM Watson, making it possible for scientists to accelerate the research process by drawing insights from a vast universe of medical, chemical and genetic information and more quickly identify promising molecules. Continue Reading »