By Steve Hamm
Charity Wayua grew up in rural Kenya and did not use a computer till she was 17. Through hard work, Charity excelled academically and landed a scholarship from the Zawadi Africa Education Fund, which provides support for disadvantaged African women pursuing university educations. She got her undergraduate degree from Xavier University and a PhD in chemistry from Purdue University, both in the United States. Now she’s back in Africa—a fresh hire at the newly opened IBM Research lab in Nairobi.
She always planned on returning home after completing her studies. “I wanted to come back to be part of creating solutions for the continent, doing work that would make a difference for people here,” she says. Continue Reading »
By Judith E. Glaser
About 30 years ago I wrote an article for IBM managers that talked about “navigational communications.” It was my first major piece that captured my current thinking about the power of listening to influence success in business. It said,
“For a leader, listening is perhaps the most important skill. As a leader, we must learn to listen while navigating along with the speaker toward a common destination – mutual understanding. Whether your talents are in sales, systems engineering, administration, technical support, or leadership, listening to connect with others – requires a new and powerful form of deep, non-judgmental listening.”
Fast forward to 2013, and the world has transformed. While technology and globalization have reshaped much of business, it’s surprising how little the basics of communication have actually changed, and how much listening is still the cornerstone to navigating successfully with others. Continue Reading »
By Amitabh Kant
By Kaethe Engler
I grew up on a farm in Germany where my family raised cattle, horses and sheep, but I had never seen anything like the scene I recently witnessed at a cattle market in Adama, Ethiopia. The market was a sprawling collection of huts and outdoor pens crawling with all manner of livestock. Farmers, traders and buyers sized up the animals and dickered to make deals. It seemed like chaos to the untrained eye.
In fact, it was more like a puzzle to be solved. Two IBM colleagues and I who are members of the Corporate Service Corps team in Ethiopia were visiting Adama to learn how livestock markets in Ethiopia work. Our goal was to be able to make recommendations on how information technology could help them work better.
IBM isn’t known for having expertise in agriculture, but part of the company’s commitment to Africa is being willing to listen to the local people, understand their needs, and produce technology-based solutions that improve local businesses, economies and society as a whole. To read more, go to the CitizenIBM blog.
By Katharyn White
In recent months, this blog has described aspects of IBM’s commitment to Africa. I want to focus on the importance of talent in the region.
Several years ago, I participated in an IBM initiative to bring the advantages of global integration — spanning mindset through operations — to communities, clients, and IBM employees, with a specific emphasis on Africa. We refined our view of the vital attributes of personal leadership in a global economy, expanded IBM’s Corporate Service Corps and created global teams to accelerate our understanding of, and success in, growth markets. I was given the opportunity to lead our South African team, and through this role, I saw first-hand the importance of talent. Our report, “Developing global leadership: How IBM engages the workforce of a globally integrated enterprise” describes that working environment and how challenges and skill gaps were addressed.
By Marc Dietz
Traditionally relegated to back office IT managers reporting to the CIO, enterprise technology decisions are often made by a small subset of employees – generally not by executives closest to the business.
But cloud computing is changing all that.
Executives across the C-Suite are recognizing that they must reorient their businesses to become more competitive in a digital economy. This comes with a deeper understanding of how mobile and social technologies are reshaping the way people consume, disseminate and share information, and how the data generated from these applications is helping businesses transform their organizations and personalize their interactions with customers. New technologies – such as cloud computing – hold a new promise to open up powerful new lines of engagement.
But what truly excites these executives about cloud? Continue Reading »
By Alfred Vanderpuije
This week at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, leaders will come together to discuss Africa’s future. One of the three focus themes is the importance of ‘Strategic Infrastructure’ as a foundation for the continent’s growth. As Mayor of Accra and Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, I would say that there are few areas as crucial for infrastructure investment as cities.
Buoyed by an emerging oil and gas industry and a rapidly growing consumer class, Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world. Investors are flocking to the country’s capital Accra to take advantage of new business opportunities and become part of this success story. Mastercard recently identified Accra as one of Africa’s top cities in terms of economic growth potential over the next few years. Local and foreign firms are also driving a number of urban development opportunities such as Ghana Cyber City, King City and Appolonia City which aim to set up modern, high-tech hubs within and around Accra. Continue Reading »