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Almaden bound

I am lucky. I am off to visit the Almaden Research Center next week for the Almaden Institute 2008 conference.

I did a little research about some of the (non-IBM) speakers to help me get the most out of the program. Here are a few links in case you want to learn more, too.

I managed to also plan 1 day of "extra time" to hang out with area IBMers that I do not get to see often enough, like Fred Sampson, Andrea Ames and Thyra Rauch. And do "real work" with Rob Johnson. Finally, it will be nice to see EWHCI colleague Allen Cypher while I am there.

RGP, Marc Lautenbach, March 6th

IBM's involvement with a local economic development organization continues. First, IBM did a consulting engagement with the Regional Growth Partnership (see my previous blog postings from August 2006 and January 2007).

Next week, RGP is hosting an event on March 6th where IBM Americas General Manager Marc Lautenbach will be talking. The information about the entire morning:

Innovation capturing global opportunity and building regional growth
Thursday, March 6, 2008
9:00 a.m. to Noon
The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle (Arrowhead Park), Maumee

Featuring: Marc Lautenbach, General Manager IBM Americas
"Globalization & competitiveness"

Panel discussion: Business, academia & government working together toward a knowledge-based economy
Including: Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, President, University of Toledo
Mark Wagoner, Ohio Senate (2nd district)

Every few years, an important IBMer comes to town. Bob Sutor came to talk in 2005, for example. I am looking forward to meeting Marc: I am not part of his organization, but I work with several IBM Americas people on a regular basis on matters.

The panel is also very interesting to me. The role of information technology is becoming an important element in the local discussions about regional economic development. For example, recent meta-plan meetings have started the face-to-face sharing of information among the various groups, but now people are asking how to use Internet technologies, social networking, Web 2.0 and the like to continue the collaboration. If I get a chance to ask questions of the panel, I suspect it will be something like this:

If we want our region to be a key player in the knowledge-based economy, then I think the first step would be to have the local economic development leaders use the tools of the knowledge-based economy. How are business, academia and government leveraging the latest web technologies to help them achieve their collaboration goals? What obstacles are in the way of utilizing technology to help us succeed in our regional economic development?

I also found it interesting that Mark Wagoner will be speaking on the panel two days after the Republican primary, where he is running against Mark Hollenbaugh. (Disclaimer: Mark Hollenbaugh is a friend of mine and I have donated to his campaign.)

Should be a fun and informative morning!

Outside-in Software Development

IBM Press has another good book out (on the heels of Do It Wrong Quickly).

My copy is still being shipped, so I have not looked at the book in detail. From what I have heard / read, the "outside-in / stakeholder" theme merges Agile methods (stakeholder = "Agile customer") and user experience methods (stakeholder = "end user"). "Consumability" and "Outside-in design" are key parts of the IBM Software strategy. (Consumability: making products easier to install, configure, deploy and maintain.)

To learn more about the book, you can see previews on Safari and read Carl's blog Outside-in Thinking [URL update on Nov-16-2007]. And of course,'s entry for the book (where I managed to buy a "used" copy that is new but very inexpensive, not sure how that works).

IBM Joins User Experience Race

I remember reading this back in May, but I guess I never blogged it back then. Better late than never: IBM Joins User Experience Race. Quotes from Mike Rhodin, Lotus, and their commitment to user experience. Too bad there were not quotes from the many other parts of IBM that are also racing for the UX checkered flag.

Real politics

I usually do not pay attention to real politics, instead only dealing with corporate politics in my day-to-day job. Two things are slightly changing that.

First, a friend is running for Congress so I am reading Ohio political blogs now and observing how the Ohio 5th district candidates are using the Internet.

Second, Hillary Clinton's Innovation Agenda came up at work. Notice this section on "services science" and some of the wording used (italics added by me for emphasis):

Create the Services Science Initiative. The services sector now accounts for approximately 80% of the U.S. economy. Nevertheless, innovation is rarely associated with the generation and delivery of services. Companies are increasingly carrying out service R&D, but there is no discipline that promotes innovation and productivity in the services sector in the same way that electrical engineering, for example, has led to technological advances in the development of the computer chip. Accordingly, Hillary will create a Services Science Initiative. Modeled on the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the federal government will help support R&D in services; support and encourage cross-disciplinary research that draws on fields such as computer science, management, operations, and organizational behavior; and also facilitate the dissemination of knowledge. The Services Science Initiative will help improve the competitiveness of American business, and in the process, create jobs.

Now compare this to some of the phrases IBM uses to describe Service Science, Management, and Engineering and its academic initiative, like "multi-disciplinary research and academic effort that integrates aspects of established fields such as computer science, operations research, engineering, management sciences, ...". And IBM has helped form the Service Research & Innovation Initiative with similar goals to Hillary's.

I have no idea what is going on here, just noticing common themes. It is not every day that a candidate talks about something I am dealing with at work.

The last time I think I paid this much to government policy was during the first Conference on Universal Usability in 2000 when I heard about the economic policy for digital opportunity.

Blog topics: 

Frontiers in Service

A bunch of IBMers are at the Frontiers in Service conference in San Francisco this weekend. (Not too surprising, since IBM Research/SSME is a sponsor.) The eBrochure has an overview; the full program is a PDF. The topics being presented (and co-presented) by IBMers:

  • Measuring Information Relevance in Services
  • Meeting the Challenges of Service Science Management and Education in the New York City Area: An Inter-disciplinary Initiative
  • Information-Driven Service Systems
  • Comparative Analysis of the Russian IT Services Market. Scenarios, Tendencies and Recommendations
  • Bringing Services Theory and Methods to Online Service Applications
  • Lessons from a Service Innovation in the Consulting Industry
  • Component Business Modeling for Effective Enterprise Risk Management,
  • Virtual Service Delivery Centers
  • Service Excellence in Government: A Constituent-Centered Model
  • Servicing for the Future
  • ProACT: A solution for Automatic Customer Satisfaction Analysis and Business Intelligence in Contact Centers
  • Model-based Business Transformation for Engineering Services
  • Challenges and Models of Workforce Scheduling for Delivery Center Based IT Support Services
  • Increasing Efficiency of Call Handling Service using Cross-Border Knowledge Search
  • Estimating Value in Value Networks: A Case Study from Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Using Organizational Simulation to Support Service Business Transformation
  • Understanding Service Innovation Ecosystems
  • Designing and Building Technology Enabled Service Systems: Challenges and a Solution Framework -- Two Case Studies
  • Modeling Productivity and Performance Growth in Labor-based, Custom Services Firms
  • Towards Services Innovation in Japan
  • Leveraging your IT Investment using Business Intelligence (Panel)
  • Service Innovation and Company Profit (Panel)

Jim Spohrer invited people to attend, but I do not see anyone live-blogging from the event. I will keep my eyes open for summaries that get posted. If you spot any news from the conference, please leave a comment and a link to what you found.

Blog topics: 

New book arrived: Do it wrong quickly

A book arrived on my doorstep today, unexpectedly. I had not ordered anything lately.

It was Do it wrong quickly: How the web changes the old marketing rules by Mike Moran, a former manager of mine at IBM. I helped review early versions of the book and had specific feedback on the information architecture parts.

In the spirit of the book, I am blogging it wrong quickly and will do a better job later (after I have read the final version).

First grade interview

Blaine is starting a social studies unit on "People at work" in his first grade class. He had to interview a parent and bring in a picture of that person at work. We talked about what I do, and here is my job, thru the eyes of a six year old.

1. What is your job? Works at IBM. Fixes IBM's web site.

2. What are your duties at work? Draw pictures to help IBM organize information. Talk on the phone.

3. Why do you have a job? To make money so we can buy food.

4. What are some things you like about your job? Solving problems. It is fun.

Photo taken by Blaine, in my office.

Collaborative sensemaking workshop

I will be attending the Collaborative Sensemaking workshop at the HCIL symposium on Friday. I have not been in the "research groove" for about a decade (since I was still at BGSU), but collaborative sensemaking is one research topic that seems to apply to what we are doing on and what information architects do every day. So I thought it was worth coming to the workshop to give my practitioner's perspective - and learn more.

I'll report later with more information (after I get back from vacation...).

IBM Technical Leadership Exchange

I am heading out to the IBM Technical Leadership Exchange conference in Anaheim today. (It is an IBMer-only event, so there is nothing I can link to for more information.) This is my first time attending this, so I am not sure what to expect - but I know it is BIG - lots of attendees. IBM has a lot of technical leaders, imagine that. I am not even sure I am really a "technical leader" - I feel more like a bridge between the technical and business leaders.

There are many too-technical-for-me sessions going on (like product certifications) but I found some sessions that I am looking forward to:

  • Case study using IBM products for an information architecture project
  • Several Web 2.0 talks, from how it is changing marketing, to how to do it on WebSphere Portal, to how QEDWiki will enable it
  • Future of user experience
  • Agile for the whole team

If you are an IBMer that is also going and want to meet up, then send me an email or look up my cell phone number and give me a call.

If you are not an IBMer, then ignore this posting..... (^:


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