Good Neighbours, Great Innovation

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Simon HofmannSimon Hofmann, Marketing and Communications Leader, IBM NZ, 7/4/17

Ever since I was young I realised that being a good neighbour is important. Perhaps it was spurred by having to go next door to apologise to my neighbours after depositing cheeky notes in their letter boxes. The concept of being part of a community has stuck with me ever since.

I’ve often found myself looking out of the buildings that I’ve worked from and in out to the windows of the neighbouring organisations, and wondering what would happen if you built a bridge between the two. Would it facilitate the flow of ideas and sharing? Could we create a stronger, bigger and better community of ideas? We could, but we rarely do. Too often we work in close proximity to brands and businesses that have similar objectives, similar customer sets, similar needs and similar platforms. But we don’t leverage the opportunity like shared work spaces do. Surely, we would all be better for the experience? We would, but too often the only sharing that goes on is the queue for our morning coffee.

Man receving traditional Maori welcome.

IBM New Zealand’s MD, Mike Smith receives a traditional Maori welcome at the Auckland Office.

As a kiwi who is proud of the unique and innovative spirit for which we are known, I think that we should also be proud of leveraging the inherent value that lies within being a good neighbour. Perhaps it comes from the geographical isolation from the rest of the world. We build communities that are based on sharing and learning and we prosper from the experience. A wonderful example of this can be seen in the heart of Auckland, in Wynyard Quarter. It’s a hub that is built on a diverse base of businesses who have made the move to collaborate, share and learn from some of the brightest minds in New Zealand and the world. With the likes of GridAKL, Fonterra, Air New Zealand and ASB at its heart, it’s almost impossible not to be caught up in a community of new and mature businesses who are inspiring an environment of innovation with which to network and collaborate.

And now it’s time for IBM to make our move.

Cognitive Cocktails served at the IBM Auckland Office launch.

Cognitive Cocktails served at the IBM Auckland Office launch.

At IBM, we are fortunate to have recently become a neighbour in the Wynyard Quarter precinct. And as a new neighbour, I’m excited about the opportunity to be part of a community that is open to co-creation, open to bringing our ideas together, and open to sharing for the greater good. We’ve already kicked off some unusual projects with the likes of Fonterra and Frucor who have been open to looking at things differently like applying augmented intelligence to create food and beverage using unique flavour combinations.

This week, I welcome you to celebrate the opening of our new IBM offices in the precinct. We’ve got a great week of activities lined up that is designed to connect, engage and share across a variety of forums. Whether it is starting your day with an exercise class in the VXV Plaza, attending a developer Meetup, bringing your family to an open-air cinema or networking at the community lunch, I encourage you to get involved and meet your neighbours. We’ve been working with our friends at Fonterra and Bayleys to share this week and I’m looking forward to building a community of more great neighbours – our IBM doors are open to you.

Welcome to IBM Auckland


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