Wanted: Wild Ducks who are in for a Cognitive Challenge

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The one thing that’s always in the back of every entrepreneur’s mind is how to serve his/her customers even better.  It is in our mind, it is in the mind of our Business Partners. Cognitive adds value to the customers.  The cognitive solutions market represents a tremendous growth opportunity for businesses delivering solutions with cognitive capabilities. IDC estimates in a report that by 2020, global spending on cognitive and AI will reach USD 47 billion. Nearly 50 % of this investment will come from Banking, Retail and Healthcare.

With the launch of our new PartnerWorld program in January, IBM has moved vigorously from a product-centric model to one focused on competencies, customer satisfaction and revenue, all to empower our Partners to excel in the Cognitive Era.

One year ago, IBM launched the Cognitive Build, a program to do just that: empower IBM employees to excel in the Cognitive Era.  We never thought that this “Build” would become one of the most dynamic education and innovation accelerators. Over 12 weeks, IBM witnessed a dramatic transformation of our business culture as thousands of employees leapt at the challenge to envision innovative uses of cognitive computing. They harnessed the principles of Design Thinking and Agile Development to invent and develop more than 2,700 innovative cognitive computing prototypes. Projects ranged from solutions engineered to improve corporate operations to applications designed to enhance quality of life.

Now we’ve opened-up the challenge. We invite Business Partners to join IBM Watson Build and experience the myriad benefits of IBM’s massive innovation experiment. Watson Build is a worldwide competition giving business partners the opportunity to develop and bring to market a cognitive solution.  During the competition, IBM provides exclusive education and resources to help achieve success. The Watson Build offers the potential to propel a business’ cognitive capabilities forward in a three-stage challenge: Imagine, Build and Compete. The first stage of Watson Build, Imagine, runs until May 30.  By that date, Business Partners must submit their concept and business plan.

Exclusively for the Benelux, IBM teamed up with Hack Belgium, the biggest Open Innovation Festival in Belgium.  Based on research in collaboration with individuals, companies and (trade) associations, 14 challenges were identified to make Belgium better, ranging from smart agriculture to Financial Services. Hack Belgium can be the inspiration Business Partners are looking for to get involved in Watson Build. Those who are already planning a Watson Build can test, try and run their build through the paces before submitting the business plan May 30th.    In both cases, IBM invites Business Partners to participate as a team, or – why not – team up with a customer, to tackle a challenge during these events.

Already we’ve talked to some Business partners who have some pretty exciting ideas.  My advice is: don’t hold back; go wild! At IBM, we treasure Wild Ducks.  We love wild ideas, we encourage playing, tinkering and experimenting with cognitive technology. It gets people inspired to do great things.  That’s why we encourage our partners to cease these opportunities to play and experiment with emerging technologies, especially Cognitive.  It is not that hard. The Watson API’s are publicly available in the IBM Bluemix Catalog.

We’re there to support you in every way.  At Hack Belgium IBM brings a wagonload of technology and expertise.  Participants can get on premise support on Watson, Big Data, Analytics, Internet of Things, Blockchain and many more. During the festival, you can pick the brains of 200+ business and technology experts to make sure these projects have the technological, business and financial legs to stand on.

Imagine bringing cognitive solutions to your clients. Redefine what your organization can do while activating new opportunities and immense, untapped value for your customers. After all, as IDC estimates, the cognitive market is worth up to $47 billion in the next three years.  Who doesn’t want a piece of that pie?

Director IBM Global Business Partner Organisation at IBM BeNelux

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