Nearly 10 Patents & Publications in Seven Years: Why This Program Manager Continues to Innovate
There’s no doubt that Jawwad embodies one of IBM core values: “Innovation that matters – for our company and for the world.” He’s a Global Program Manager, based in Pakistan, and the first person in Pakistan in 65 years to receive the Plateau Invention Achievement Award.
Jawwad has almost ten published patents and publications with more on the way. His journey with IBM began in 2009 as a Network Engineer. Today, as a Global Program Manager, he manages projects and programs in over 100 countries. But that’s not all; he’s also a long-distance runner, an endurance cyclist, a certified scuba diver, and an avid hiker.
With so many achievements in his life so far, we wanted to get the inside story about what inspires him and his thought process behind inventing at work.
The creative process
His creative journey began in 2016, when he was invited to a bootcamp on intellectual property. During this course, Jawwad was provided with significant training and briefing around the process of inventing. He also learned about the impact of innovation, all while networking with his fellow IBM creators.
From there, as he puts it, inventing became a part of his work routine.
“The innovation process started when I saw my colleagues around me working on very interesting projects and inventing new things. It always inspired me to develop something on my own,” said Jawwad. “And I think it’s in IBM’s culture. It drives you to innovate and invent – and that’s what drove me [to create], as well.”
Over the years, Jawwad has created patents that cover a wide range of solutions from sustainability to predictive artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP).
So, how did he stumble upon his first idea?
“My first idea around a methodology or system for the prediction of areas of green cover actually came to me while I was cycling. I think [I was] around 40 kilometres into my track and suddenly this light bulb in my brain switched on and I had an instant idea. The first thing I did was to write down that idea on my cell phone,” said Jawwad. He then followed up his ideation with a discussion with his peers.
That’s not the only time cycling has helped his career move forward.
It was, again, during one of his routine cycling laps, that he came up with another patent idea related to his passion for the outdoors: a method to predict illegal deforestation using IoT and AI. The solution created provided knowledge beforehand on when and where deforestation might be done – by utilizing a network of ground sensors to track movement of vehicles, machines, individuals and alarms local authorities to take necessary action accordingly before they reach the area itself.
Another idea he’s worked on was a system that can translate speech into a pictorial format using AI. The purpose of this innovative solution was inspired by the communication barrier between a person who can’t read or write and must communicate with a second person in a different language.
Those are just some of his ideas that have become a reality. There’s also a process of getting patents published.
Why continue creating?
Jawwad’s passion for innovation has led him to create a whole ecosystem around inventing. He encourages innovation within his team, for example, hosting Innovation Fridays, which is a day he sets aside for employees to explore their creative ideas.
“It feels really good to be an inventor and part of something unique and novel, where you could say, ‘this is something I provided to the world that people can utilize and build on their products,’” said Jawwad.
Keep creating, keep learning
IBM’s Pakistan-based program manager considers himself a techy by day and a manager by night, while balancing the act of learning new things about technology every day.
“The beauty of IBM is that you can learn a lot from other colleagues. They share their knowledge and experiences, and you’re always encouraged to learn new things,” said Jawwad. It truly was his drive for improving his technical understanding that led him to start inventing.
As Jawwad continues to create for IBM, there is no doubt he has fostered a culture that encourages innovation and learning opportunities for all. His journey is just one of many stories that showcase IBM’s purpose: To be the catalyst that makes the world work better.
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