IBM has been using social media in new ways for several years. Since 2001, IBM has held a series of “jams” which have ranged from Value Jams to Innovation Jams. According to the IBM Jams event page, IBM has used its events to reach more than 300,000 employees across the world in new and exciting ways. The Values Jam, held in 2003, was an opportunity for employees to work on IBM’s values, something that had not been changed in more than 100 years of the company’s existence. In 2006, during IBM’s Innovation Jam, the company held the largest brainstorming event online ever, bringing in more than 150,000 people from 104 countries and 67 companies! According to an article from BusinessWeek, IBM was the first to open source, inviting clients, consultants and even employee’s family members to participate in finding new ideas! The results from the jam were 10 new IBM businesses. Jams, however, have not been restricted to only business issues. Also in 2006, IBM held a social issue jam called Habitat Jam which brought together several key players to discuss urban sustainability.
In 2008, IBM took their Innovation Jam another step further. In a blog posting from Shel Holtz, Holtz says that IBM was pretty ambitious in inviting companies from around the world to participate in the online brainstorming event. Holtz continues on and says that IBM’s jams are models for online collaboration. From IBM’s Innovation Jam 2008 website, the jam conversation focused on four major topics: built for change, customers as partners, globally integrated, and the planet and its people. On the site, the results are listed as, “Held over a 90-hour period from October 5th through 9th, 2008, the Jam benefited from nearly 90,000 log-ins that generated over 32,000 posts. It tapped employees from more than 1,000 companies across 20 industries-including thousands of IBMers, as well as independent authorities from a variety of fields.”
IBM is doing a great job of collaborating with its audiences both internally and externally. Not only have they reached out to the people who care the most about their company, but they have reached out to their rivals as well. According to an article from Venture Beat, besides the ideas generated from this collaborative events, IBM may be receiving high earnings from these events as well, critical at an economic time like this. I would say that collaboration is not only making it easier for IBM to reach its constituents groups, but also making it more profitable as well.
The video is a short advertisment promoting IBM’s Innovation Jam 2008: