IBM is a company in continuous transformation. Our employees are willing to challenge their own thinking and reimagine themselves and their company to adapt to the ever-changing world around them.
IBMers start by listening. Then they actively engage. They ask thoughtful questions until they find the deeper need — they go beyond what is requested of them to ask, “What else is possible?” This requires a strong understanding of IBM’s foundational, strategic building blocks — even as these building blocks are changing and new ones are being added. Every year IBM human resources (HR) spearheads programs to support our employees as they strive to make IBM the best company they believe it can be. And 2014 was no exception.
Watson Ambassador Program
In 2014 we launched the Watson Ambassador Program to equip everyone in IBM with the knowledge they need to properly tell the Watson story and help convey the Watson vision. Named after IBM’s founder T.J. Watson Sr., Watson is a cognitive technology that processes information akin to how people think, representing a major shift in an organization’s ability to quickly analyze, understand and respond to big data. Watson’s ability to answer complex questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence is transforming industries and professions. Thousands of IBMers voluntarily participated in the training course and many became committed Watson Ambassadors.
But it’s not just telling the Watson story that matters, it’s also important that we put the technology to work for us. Cognitive computing platforms such as Watson are becoming the basis for decision support systems that help HR practitioners make better decisions based on the best available information, whether that be to hire, pair, promote and/or train. In order to exploit these opportunities, IBM HR professionals worldwide are being trained in the use of data and analytics. Our workforce analytics team takes on an increasing number of projects to determine what distinguishes performance, what makes managers effective and how best to retain key performers.
THINK40 summer learning challenge
In order to continuously build the skills our clients value most, we continued evolving our THINK40 program that supports IBMers as they work toward a common goal of at least 40 hours of professional development every year. In 2014 we invited employees to participate in the IBMer Challenge. More than 90,000 IBMers participated in this summer learning challenge, spending more than 281,000 hours testing their knowledge on topics including cloud, big data analytics, mobile, social and security.
Social business drives results
IBMers are actively embracing social business culture and systems, with 92 percent of employees using our internal social cloud platform to get work done. Since this adoption, IBM has identified advancements in innovation, agility, efficiency, employee engagement and the client experience. In addition, social IBMers have gained an increased sense of belonging, improved workflow and more opportunities for career progression through eminence. The results are measurable and concrete. The company's social inventors, for example, are 120 percent more likely to drive measurable innovation for IBM.
This innovation is evident in the 7,534 patents IBM was granted in 2014, marking the 22nd consecutive year that IBM topped the annual list of US patent recipients and the fourth year in a row that we were awarded more than 6,000 patents. Our security patents alone increased more than 40 percent from 2013 to 2014. More than 8,500 IBMers residing in 46 different US states and 43 countries contributed to this unprecedented patent tally, which now stands at over 80,000 since the streak began.
One example: Jamie García, a research chemist at IBM Research Almaden in San Jose, California, uncovered a brand-new kind of plastic so strong that it's easier to break the flask it was created in than to damage the plastic itself. This new type of thermoset polymer, nicknamed Titan, appears to be the first recyclable, industrial-strength thermoset of its kind and could eventually be used to make recyclable car and airplane parts, and could aid in 3D printing and adhesives.
Encouraging the creativity of IBMers is one way we are raising the bar in a range of critical job roles and helping IBMers to be essential — for our company, our clients and our communities.