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We designed the IBM Garage in response to this new business environment. It’s our goal to help organizations drive transformational change at the speed of a startup and the scale of an enterprise. We achieve this by providing expert consultancy, training and a platform for co-creation. Getting full value from technologies like cloud, AI and the internet of things (IoT) requires new ways of working and a shift in organizational culture. For many businesses, this requires the support of a true cloud partner, not just a vendor.
The IBM Garage philosophy also incorporates Enterprise Design Thinking, an approach focused on user-centered experiences and outcomes, a culture of reinvention and the belief that diverse, empowered teams are critical for innovation. Further, with business agility increasingly important, it borrows practices from the startup world, such as co-collaboration and multi-disciplinary teams, that have helped it disrupt larger competitors.
Italy’s economy is primed to benefit from just this kind of support. The digital market alone is currently experiencing year-on-year growth — 2.3 percent in 2017, 2.6 percent in 2018 and 2.8 percent projected for 2019. At the same time, disruption is driving firms to look for the new opportunities that digital platforms deliver. Italian adoption of IoT, for example, was up 18.9 percent in 2018. With investment in the country’s startups at an all-time high, there is no shortage of innovative companies with money to spend and ambition to match.
Seeing the impact of innovation
By bringing together diverse teams of experts to quickly create, test and scale innovative new ideas, the IBM Garage model has established a formidable track record in the European market. In London, we have helped UK-based global supplier of electronics components and tools RS Components to boost innovation and accelerate development. In one instance, we supported the company as it implemented pair programming processes to rapidly deliver a new peer-to-peer marketplace platform in just four weeks
Similarly, our IBM Garage colleagues in Munich worked with INTER, a German insurance group, to improve the experience for customers interested in dental insurance. This involved running a series of workshops that led to development of an AI-enabled chatbot able to answer questions and process new policy applications. Following roll-out, INTER’s dental insurance sales rose by 33 percent.
The multidisciplinary approach we use in IBM Garage means it is even possible to revolutionize industries as old as agriculture. By bringing together a group comprised of designers, architects, developers and data scientists, TopCon, a Japanese group working in the field of optical instruments, IT construction and IT agriculture wants to make AI an integral part of agricultural process. Using IBM Watson, the organization is now tackling previously unexplored problems, aiming to maximize crop productivity while minimizing use of resources like water and fertilizers. This promises greater sustainability, crop quality and complete traceability of food, from the field to table.
Launching IBM Garage Milan
IBM Garage Milan is based on the same principles as other locations in the wider network. Located in a brand-new IBM Studios, our clients will have unprecedented access to the full spectrum of IBM services and support, including the Strategy and Design Lab and the IBM Client Center.
Even before the official launch, Italian companies are seeing results of co-creating with the IBM Garage. Elica, a major kitchen appliances supplier, has already conducted a number of workshops and collaboration sessions. With the initial planning phase of the project successfully completed, Elica in 10 weeks designed and developed an air quality controller system, which is integrated with Elica’s devices and is based on its own exclusive algorithm Air Q System, built on IBM Cloud with Watson Services.
At its heart, IBM Garage is a cultural movement. It is about people, the way they communicate and collaborate, and how organizations can support new ways of working. Emerging technologies are changing the way we do business. But cloud, AI and automation will only deliver on their promise if organizational processes and culture change too. In the next chapter of digital transformation, the ability to drive innovation at scale will be the difference between success and failure – and this requires a fundamental shift in how companies operate.
Over the past 12 months, we have driven hundreds of IBM Garage engagements, helping businesses to introduce new revenue streams and business models, reinvent customer experiences, transform workflows and rapidly scale products and innovation. Keep an eye out for the latest IBM Garage stories where we’ll share best practices from organizations successfully adapting to the new world of work. To visit an IBM Garage near you, fill out a request form here.