Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for November 8th, 2010

Working Better Together

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I arrived here at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya this afternoon, where the IBM Industry Summit is being held.

But this morning, I worked remotely from my hotel room.

Something I’ve done a lot of this year. Working remotely.

Away from home. On airplanes. In coffee shops. In bars. On vacation (but not very often).

Via my BlackBerry. And now my iPhone.

What is work? Where is work?

Work is definitely not someplace I go, although I go a lot of places.

Work is definitely not constrained by a clock or calendar, at least not in the way it was during the Industrial Revolution.

Work is definitely not bounded by an office or even a country.

Of course, this is a far cry from when I started my career in 1991.

Back then, work was mainly an IBM office, with my IBM white shirt, going to an IBM location in Southlake, Texas, working with mainly my IBM colleagues.

We were still international back then — that’s been a part of our name almost from the outset — but I would argue we hadn’t been “globalized.”

Working remotely with colleagues was limited to some amigos in The New York Times Custom Publishing Company, an IBM partnership with whom I worked on several IBM customer publications.

Want to know how we collaborated across great time and distance during that Jurassic Age?

One, via FedEx.

Two, via a mainframe terminal session in VM/PROFS. (For you of the Facebook generation out there, VM was a much more reliable social collaboration tool without the relationship status updates and no graphics.)

Oh yeah, and via Ma Bell.

A lot’s changed since then.

Most of the people I work with now don’t work in an office.

Many of them aren’t located in the U.S.

None of them on my team are in Austin, where I live (or, as I like to joke, where I visit).

How is that possible?

In a word, technology.

In a more specific word, software.

Starting with Lotus Notes back in the mid-1990s, and later our instant messaging product, Lotus Sametime, and most recently, using Lotus Connections, I have transcended time, space, and location. And so have 400,000+ of my IBM colleagues around the world.

Because work is no longer a time or a place or a clock or a date.

Work is a neural network.

Work is a collective human organism, billions of neurons connected together, sharing information and knowledge, wisdom and resources, expertise and insights.

With Lotus software, work is wherever you may be in the world, because it connects you to whatever or whomever in the world you may need.

Work is available increasingly on whatever device or contraption you wish to carry around, including the mobile ones, for the rest of you who are on the go.

Work defies time because it’s always there.

It defies space because, unlike me, it doesn’t need an airplane to arrive.

It brings out the best of IBM and allows us to find and share the best with all our constituents: our partners, our suppliers our customers.

That is something that will increasingly distinguish the best organizations around the world.

I work for one of them.

You can read here how you can use Lotus Software to become one of them, too.

Dateline: My Barcelona Office, Palau de Congresso de Catalunya, Sala A….for now.

IBM Industry Summit: Setting The Stage For A Drastically Different World

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At the IBM Industry Summit this week here in Barcelona, executives from companies around the globe representing industries across the spectrum will be in attendance.

One of the key themes those executives can expect to hear discussed at the Summit is the challenge of responding to increasing complexity.

Hearkening back to the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study, which I provided a summary of in this blog earlier in the year, 79 percent of executives surveyed believed that they expected the high level of complexity only to increase, and yet only 49 percent of those polled felt they were prepared for that complexity.

The combined insight from 1,541 interviews conducted with C-level executives around the globe in the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study: Be creative, reinvent customer relationships, and embrace complexity by building dexterity.

Call that “The Complexity Gap.”

Mastering The Complexity Gap

Edward Lonergan, president and CEO of Diversey, Inc., responded in the published results that “The complexity our organization will have to master over the next five years is off the charts; a 100 on your scale from 1 to 5.”

So how to even start an attempt to master such massive complexity?

That led to the second of several key findings in the study.

CEOs asserted that creativity is the most important leadership quality in our new and more complicated world.

Not a characteristic one typically hears as being highly valued in the boardroom, yet with all this acknowledged complexity, executives seemed to be saying traditional rules don’t apply, and creative leaders tend to encourage experimentation through their organization.

In the study results, they also indicated that creative leaders make deeper business model changes to realize their strategies, and take more calculated risks and keep innovating in how they lead and communicate.

Collaboration Inside And Out

But that innovation can’t stop just short of the corporate firewall.

The third key finding was that CEOs around the globe believe that the most successful organizations co-create products and services with customers, and they also integrate those customers into core processes.

An astounding 95% of "standouts" surveyed in the IBM Global CEO study data revealed An astounding 95 percent said that “getting connected” with customers is their top priority.

You’ll be hearing more about this key meme from IBM in an announcement later today, but this idea is recognition of a simple concept: Customers know best.

The most successful organizations not only partner with their customers to create new products and improve services — they also adopt new channels to engage and stay in tune with them, and they glean more intelligence from the barrage of available data and make customer intimacy their number-one priority.

Simplify, Simplify

Henry David Thoreau spoke of simplification in his renowned Walden.

But he also wrote there that “it is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

Truth is, when it comes to successful organizations, the CEO study data revealed that the better performers manage complexity on behalf of their organizations, customers, and partners.


Through simplification, for one.

They simplify operations and products, but they also increase their dexterity to change the way they work, access resources and enter markets around the world.

In fact, more dexterous leaders can expect to generate 20 percent more of their future revenues from new sources than other CEOs.

In this climate,

Adapt And Evolve

So, as the IBM Industry Summit prepares to get underway here in Barcelona, leaders around the globe may want to review the findings of this important study in more detail (you can get more information on the CEO Study here.)

It provides some excellent food for thought in helping shape your thinking about how you might start to manage your organization’s own complexity, whatever its nature, and it will no doubt set the stage for what should prove to be an informative and insightful week here in Spain.

For those of you following from afar, I look forward to sharing more from the IBM Industry Summit here in this blog throughout the week.

Written by turbotodd

November 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm


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Hola from Barcelona.

I arrived here Sunday morning, expecting the worst in traffic due to Pope Benedict’s visit, but was pleasantly surprised, able to quickly arrive go from the airport to my hotel near the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, the location for this week’s IBM Industry Summit here.

Though I didn’t have the opportunity to witness the Pope in person, Spanish TV carried extensive coverage of his consecration of Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, and I certainly was able to see the aftermath near the Museu Picasso later in the day as traffic was blocked to ensure the Pope’s motorcade had the run of the city.

There was a lot going a lot going on this weekend in Spain.

Elsewhere, in Madrid, “Desperate Housewive’s” (and Corpus Christi, Texan) Eva Longoria hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards, where noshow Lady Gaga (she was performing elsewhere, in Budapest) took the top honors for Best Pop, Best Female, and Best Song (for “Bad Romance”).

Speaking of bad romance, if you’re a Dallas Cowboys football fan, the romance between fans and team this season is definitely over (while I was sleeping, they lost to Green Bay 45-7).

I had already mentioned that, fair weather fan that I am, I was in the market for a new football team. If it weren’t for alienating mi amigos in Madrid, I might say I’d found one in La Liga, the Spanish soccer league, where Barca beat Getafe 3-1 last night.

Instead of taking sides and possibly instigating an intra-IBM futbol conflagration, however, let me be the eternal diplomat I am and let me just say I love ALL European football — if for no other reason than the fact that none of it involves the Dallas Cowboys.

Like football teams everywhere,  just about all great artists have their blue periods, and it was Pablo Picasso who defined them.

This is my second time in Barcelona, but somehow I missed the Picasso museum my first time here.

I won’t make mistake again. Though I’m no Picasso scholar, if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop venue to learn more about the artist and his evolution, this is the place.

I visit museums whenever and wherever I can in my travels, and Museu Picasso was up there on the list.

In fact, Picasso’s Velazquez-inspired “Las Meninas” alone was worth the price of admission — in my case, free (but only on the first Sunday of the month after 3 PM!) — as the video presentation outside the exhibit demonstrated how Picasso was both paying homage to Velazquez, but through his Cubist tendencies, completely re-envisioning the great work.

Finally, and before I segueway in immediate and future postings back to the business at hand, the IBM Industry Summit here, I’ll leave you with this factoid: Did you know that Picasso is the most stolen artist in the world?

At last count, the Art Loss Register had 550 of Picasso’s works listed as missing.

Most recently, Picasso’s “Dove With Green Peas” was stolen, along with pieces from several other famous artists, in a brash burglary at the Paris Museum of Modern Art this past May.

For the record, I was nowhere in the vicinity!

Written by turbotodd

November 8, 2010 at 10:02 am

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