Find out how Watson AI partners collaborate for social benefit

By | 2 minute read | March 12, 2019

Watson and AI - UKI partners

Watson Guild is an initiative driven by 13 leading UKI Watson AI Partners* and IBM with the socially oriented objective of developing an AI solution for a specific charity.

Building the foundations

Early in 2018, IBM ran an Exploratory Day in London to help agree on the remit of the Guild and work out the next steps. While IBM initially took the lead, right from the start the foundations of Watson Guild were based on a community of practice. Put simply, a community of practice means that people come together as a group to work out agreed upon objectives, with all parties contributing as equals.

Supporting two charities

The outcome of the first meeting was to split the group in to two teams. The first team worked with Ace Centre, a charity with a mission to “Provide support, advice, technology and training to enable people with complex communication needs to express themselves and meet their full potential.”

The second team worked with Fight for Peace, an organization that aims to “Combine boxing and martial arts with education and personal development to realize the potential of young people in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion.”

Following discussions with each charity, IBM hosted Design Thinking workshops at Ace Centre’s offices. Design thinking methodology helped the team to get in the mind-set of the user. For Ace Centre, this person is the carer who supports people with physical impairments, language disorders or learning disability. Design thinking helped the team to understand what the carer does, says, thinks and feels. The same approach was taken for Fight for Peace.

 Hackathon at IB

In July 2018, the teams came together in a hackathon at the IBM Research and Development Labs in Hursley near Winchester. The two teams worked to produce the bones of a proof of concept (PoC) using Watson APIs. The work for Ace Centre looked at how to improve two-way communications with people challenged by maladies such as cerebral palsy, post-stroke condition and autistic spectrum disorder. The project aims to enhance human connection through the scanning of topical Twitter conversations, which may serve as a catalyst for better interaction between a caregiver and a severely disabled person. The team supporting Fight for Peace focused on a solution to assist the charity in scanning social media to identify key words and sentiment as possible predictors of conflict situations.

Next steps

Following the hackathon, the teams took away the draft PoCs, and after fine-tuning them, they presented their work to the respective charities. Watch this video to find out more about how Watson Guild is working with Ace Centre and Fight for Peace on these exciting projects.

Watson Guild in 2019

This year, we’re running a second phase of Watson Guild involving a mix of new partners. With a focus on relationship building, it’s fantastic to see the trust building among members of Watson Guild as they develop solutions that show how AI can really make a difference in people’s lives.

Phil Graham
Marketing Manager, Watson AI, IBM Partner Ecosystem, IBM UK



*Partner members of Watson Guild are Accenture, Ammeon, Arrow, Barrachd, Bluechip, Craftworkz, Edit, Egham Technologies, Filament, IBM, Tech Data and The DOT Group.