One of our young inventors grew up in a small town in rural South Carolina; another came from Bangladesh; and a third got hooked on computers at age seven in Haifa, Israel. What these three have in common is their youthful optimism and their dedication to one of IBM’s core values: innovation that matters for our company and the world.
This is no empty slogan: Today, IBM announced that it received a record 7,534 US patents in 2014, marking the 22nd consecutive year that the company topped the list of US patent recipients. Amazingly, on average, we receive more than one new US patent for every hour of every work day.
Hidden behind the raw statistics is an exciting insight: IBM’s young scientists, software programmers and engineers are making important contributions to the company’s innovation achievements. (Thoughts? Tweet to #patent, #invent.)
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By Paul Michel
America’s Founding Fathers considered patents important enough to put the patent right to exclude into the U. S. Constitution. In Article 1, Section 8, they listed patent protection above even the establishment of an Army and Navy. Their sequencing of priorities for Congress to address was not accidental, but reflected their plan for transforming the new nation from a poor, agrarian, former colony into the wealthy, independent, industrial and commercial power it became.
So in April, 1790, the first Congress enacted the first Patent Act. Over the next two centuries, the Act was amended and strengthened regularly, because successive Congresses observed industrialization and economic growth all around them, as under the Founders’ system, the United States went from importing nearly all manufactured goods to itself manufacturing all the products it needed and prospering as a major net exporter.
Within just a little over one hundred years, America surpassed all other nations in wealth and technology, partly because of its strong patent system, aided by wide oceans, abundant natural resources, and universal public education. Throughout the 19th century American inventors outpaced their counterparts elsewhere. During the 20th century, the American patent system helped stimulate the computer revolution as well as astonishing advances in medicine, including creation of whole new fields, such as bio-technology. After a slump in the 1970s, when Japan replaced America as the leading maker of consumer electronics, in the last two decades of the century our nation regained its rapid growth and technological leadership. Continue Reading »
By Adam Mossoff
The America Invents Act (AIA) was signed into law in September 2011, and it is rightly recognized as “the most significant reform of the U.S. patent system since 1836.” The AIA’s provisions are not even fully implemented yet — its ink isn’t even dry, as we used to say in the analog world — but people are calling for more changes and reforms to the patent system.
This push for change is largely due to the widespread belief today that the “patent system is broken,” a trope repeated in many hyperbolic newspaper accounts and blog postings. The din about the “broken patent system” has become so incessant that USPTO Commissioner David Kappos recently stated in a speech at the Center for American Progress, “Give it a rest already. Give the AIA a chance to work. Give it a chance to even get started.” Continue Reading »
This is the second part of a series on building a smarter city. See first post here.
By Peter Kusterer, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, Germany
As part of the Smarter Cities Challenge in Dortmund, the Mayor asked IBM to help create recommendations on how to transform the steel and coal industry and train workers for jobs in a 21st century economy. The team of IBMers created six recommendations based on this challenge:
- Brand image. The city should develop a unifying vision for Dortmund, and use it as a beacon for progress. The process should be an inclusive one that engages the diversity of the community to shape this common view. While this sounds pretty straightforward and some might feel this is not something new, it must not be confused with creating a new logo, driving an image campaign or some other rather superficial activity. It is about understanding, surfacing and forging the “personality” of the city – something which cannot be delegated to some agency but is at the heart of the city’s development. It is the answer to the question “Who is Dortmund?”
- Champions and local heroes. The city claims many internationally recognized figures who, as “champions,” can help promote Dortmund to the world. Within the city, they are to be complemented by Dortmunders who lead outstanding organizations or programs and can serve as “local heroes” to inspire others. This should not be randomly appointed to well-known people, rather it relates the brand image back to the talent focus and therefore is instrumental to developing and attracting talent.
- Talent framework. A shared, holistic view of talent – a framework – helps individuals explore their own talent, helps the community achieve an integrated view of talent and orchestrates the programs that support talent development. From their findings, the team suspected that somewhere, someone in Dortmund had a program to meet every need. But in order to connect to each other, to understand differences and identity gaps for action, all stakeholders need to have a common language when identifying, fostering, promoting, and developing talents throughout the city.
- Social collaboration. A structure is needed to connect programs and people with the goal of fostering innovation, sharing best practices and leveraging resources. While the talent framework helps to orchestrate programs and initiatives toward a common movement, networking across organizational boundaries is key for innovation, as well as for developing and maintaining momentum. This also cannot be left to coincidence – it needs active management.
- Program office. The city should expand on the current foundation by clarifying roles and responsibilities and examining opportunities to align with other initiatives to better leverage city resources. The office put in charge last October needs to be more profoundly anchored in the city in order to succeed in delivering towards the common goal of talent development.
- Portfolio management. A management system is needed to understand the performance of programs across the framework and aid investment decisions based on results across programs. Resources are scarce and therefore there must be a mechanism in place to invest and disinvest into programs based on facts drawn from the talent framework execution rather than anecdotal evidence of single, non-connected activities.
In other words, the future of the city depends largely on instrumenting (talent framework) the issue, interconnecting (champions and local heroes, social collaboration) activities and stakeholders across all constituencies, to provide for intelligent (project office, portfolio management) approaches for talent. Technology will facilitate and ameliorate results across all above recommendations throughout Dortmund’s journey becoming a Smarter City. Linked to a unifying vision embodied by a strengthened brand image, and incorporating tolerance, Dortmunders will enjoy a promising future and spread the word and their talent way beyond today’s city boundaries.
[Editor's note: To celebrate the history of math and its impact on the world, IBM has released Minds of Modern Mathematics, a free iPad app that re-imagines a classic 50-foot infographic on the history of math that was part of the Mathematica exhibit at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. Eric Siegel, director and chief content officer of the New York Hall of Science, says the exhibit remains relevant to this day. Join the conversation on Twitter: #math #Eames]
In 1961, IBM commissioned Charles and Ray Eames to create an exhibition for the California Museum of Science and Industry. The resulting exhibition, called Mathematica: a World of Numbers, is a founding document of interactive STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) exhibitions.
Guest post by
CEO of UK-based charity Energy Aid
Jonathan is also founder and Chairman of technology consultancy The Bathwick Group, and Chairman of Change London, a social enterprise focused on sustainability and youth unemployment.
As we enter the United Nations Year of Sustainable Energy for All, Pauline Latham OBE MP hosted the Parliamentary launch of the newest Global Energy NGO, Energy Aid, at the Houses of Parliament in London. We were supported directly at the launch by DFID, IBM, Practical Action, Seeds for Development and The Ashden Awards.
The evening was one of the first major landmarks for Energy Aid as we continue to expand our presence in the international development field and the energy industry and strive to raise awareness of the need to ensure universal energy access. During the launch we stood among 150 of the UK’s leading business people, academics and political figures and called on them to help support us in our mission to eradicate global energy poverty. Continue Reading »
Today news of a brand new global charity called Energy Aid will start spreading around the world. Given that nearly half of the world’s population lacks access to modern sources of energy, the charity has an impressive mission to provide universal energy access. This means people in the world’s poorest areas including South America, South Asia and sub Saharan Africa could have their lives changed forever if they had access to energy for heating, lighting, cooking, communications and mechanical work.
With IBM and international development charity Practical Action already on board as founding partners Energy Aid plans to provide investment and resources including data, technology and skills to support charities and agencies running or planning energy projects in the target areas.
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By Steve Mills
IBM’s Senior Vice President & Group Executive, Software & Systems
On a smarter planet, there’s a convergence of market forces and technology advances that is widening the gap between those who embrace analytics to gain insight and those who are flying blind.
In today’s data-intensive world, we are witnessing some major shifts that require organizations around the globe to adjust and evolve their business and information systems strategies to both meet these changing external forces while capitalizing on the new opportunities these changes present.
Moving Beyond Information Overload
First, information in our world is exploding. There are expected to be 1 trillion new devices connected to the Internet in the near future, which will help drive 44X digital data growth by the year 2020, 80 percent of which will be unstructured content and will require great effort to analyze.
Second, the pace of change in business is outpacing our collective ability to keep up with that change. Sixty percent of CEOs in our IBM CEO Study this year agreed that they have more data than they can use effectively, and yet 4 out of 5 business leaders tell us they see information as a vital source of competitive advantage!
Third, and most notably, the performance gap between leaders and laggards/followers is widening: Those organizations that apply advanced analytics successfully have 33 percent more revenue growth and 12X more profit growth than those who don’t. Top performing enterprises use analytics 5X more than lower performing ones.
Adjustments to meet these changing business conditions require vigilance, determination, and the cultivation of new skills and capabilities. Successful organizations are increasingly successful because they take a structured approach to turning insight into action using business analytics and optimization.
Turning Information Into Insight
Success in business optimization requires aligning an organization’s information strategy to its business strategy and determining specific business outcomes. It includes the application of technology, a partnership between business and IT, investment in skills, and a lasting commitment to strategic and cultural change that creates pervasive, fact-based decision making.
That sounds like a mouthful, and it is. So how, you ask, can I get started?
No question, learning to use business optimization to turn insights into action takes time and effort, which is why I’m pleased that this week marks the sixth year IBM will host the IBM Information on Demand and Business Analytics Forum (IOD11). The conference brings together the world’s leading experts in information management — from IBM, our Business Partners, analysts, as well as over 300 client speakers — to share the insights and lessons they’ve gained on the road to successful business optimization.
The five-day event will feature over 10,000 attendees, and will highlight hardware, software, and services solutions from across the IBM portfolio. It will also include more than 700 technical sessions across several key tracks, 110 hands on labs, and IBM’s largest technology EXPO, featuring Watson and the Smarter Computing Zone.
Capitalizing on analytics to explore big data represents an immense opportunity. In recent years, IBM pioneered the 3 “V’s” of big data — volume, variety, and velocity. But at IOD 2011 we’re going to introduce the 4th V, “veracity.”
Because big data is not only about “lots of data,” but increasingly requires the skill to discern information from noise, trends from incomplete data, and all by looking at multiple facets of the data.
At the end of the day, or hopefully, at least by the end of IOD 2011, it is our express hope that we will have shared with you IBM’s deep industry and domain expertise, along with our proven industry-based approaches and best practices, that help you and your organization plan and execute an information strategy that maps to your business strategy and distinguishes you from your competition.
For those that will join us I look forward to meeting with you, and for those who cannot attend in person, we’ll be carrying many of the sessions live via our LiveStream and you can follow news from the event suing the hashtag #iodgc2011.