Guest post by Jeff Saperstein, co-author of Service Thinking and Hult Business School Professor
IBM introduced their Ecosystem Development Division during their Global Entrepreneur SmartCamp final presentations on February 6 in San Francisco. This newly formed Division is charged with providing considerable increased support for entrepreneurs. Here is the model for IBM Ecosystem Development.
Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Ecosystem Development & Social Business Evangelist, introduced herself and the Ecosystem Division (she was previously Director of IBM Social Business). She made the prodigious claim that IBM will be a prime mover in how to change the way people work through Mobile, Social, and Smarter Commerce, and become an even more influential accelerator for go-to-market and innovative enterprises through IBM global insight, reach and investment opportunities.
She projected the market opportunities in three sectors: Data ($187B), Cloud ($250B), and Engagement ($1T). IBM is staking its future growth on Cognitive Computing through Watson into subject areas such as Academia, Marketing, and HR.
Paul Brunet, VP Ecosystem, has been a moving force in the IBM SmartCamp efforts, and is now heavily involved with scaling IBM mentoring to a larger group of Start-ups. The Entrepreneur Mentor Me program expands upon what IBM has learned in preparing and coaching a more limited number of entrepreneurs for SmartCamp competition. Follow to see how scalable and beneficial this will become; it has promised to help entrepreneurs everywhere.
Rita Patel Jackson, Director Business Development and Marketing: Industry, Start-ups, Commerce talked about Ecosystems and referenced IBM CityOne as a good example of gamification to enable anyone to get a holistic view of integration of technologies into a broader ecosystem, and not limit efforts to just the commercial sector.
For anyone interested in hearing from successful entrepreneurs in different stages of business development, there were three brilliant presentations (15 minutes each) worth watching on the IBM Global Entrepreneur livestream: Mo De, Fluid, and Aspera.
Josphat Kinyua and Julian Kyula founded Mo De in Nairobi, Kenya. Mo De is an early stage business that has filled a niche in providing low-fee credit for those who are not served by banks and traditional lenders. The demand has outpaced their wildest projections and now in addition to Kenya, they are in demand in Nigeria, Uganda, and larger global markets including India. The partnership with IBM has enabled them to scale a local business into a global success that is fast, disruptive, and serving an urgent gap in the credit system.
Kent Deverell is founder and CEO of Fluid, based in San Francisco, Ca. Fluid serves the e commerce space that is competitive to Amazon.com for the market niche that prefers a more emotional, personal experience. Kent articulated how important it was to pivot during the tumultuous years from the dot.com bust in 2001 to the recent global recession. Fluid has utilized its partnership with IBM to scale and improve using Cloud and Analytics to leverage the business model.
Michelle Munson, President and Co-Founder of Aspera is based in Emeryville, Ca. Aspera has developed systems to transport huge data, revolutionized digital supply chains, and has transformed the movement and processing of big data; Aspera has enabled iTunes and Netflicks to serve millions daily. IBM has just acquired Aspera. Michelle talked about building their team over the years with highly aspirational and devoted people, who have stayed and thrived together. Not only has the business been successful to an exit strategy anyone could only dream of, but she and her team are continuing to work on bigger, more revolutionary software and processes to serve the Internet commerce of the future.
What is an amazing, aggregate takeaway from each of these presentations is these founders could not have had the opportunities that they richly earned using the legacy models of business enterprise from previous generations. They are leveraging platforms, based on Cloud business engineering that did not exist even five years ago. They demonstrate how IBM as partner can enable many others to discover innovative opportunities in their own domains in any stage of development.
Service Thinking: The Seven Principles to Discover Innovative Opportunities by Jeff Saperstein and Hunter Hastings is out now on Business Expert Press and available through Amazon.