IBM Jams for Innovation.

Bruce Nussbaum

I've always thought there was something fundamentally wrong with the notion of the wisdom of crowds. To me, it all depended on the crowd. Stupid crowd, no wisdom (mobs are stupid and they are crowds). Smart crowd, you can get wisdom. So when IBM says it is going to have an open-source conversation with its clients, employees and their families about innovating within some of the most important issues, I'm impressed. THAT's a crowd.

IBM completed its first round of jamming this week and is filtering all the threads and ideas to come back for a second round in Sept. CEO Sam Palmisano who is one CEO who "gets" innovation in a deep, fundamental way (and understands the difference between innovation and technology), is putting $100 million behind the final choices that come out of the Sept. jam. That's serious coin.

This is what IBM sent those lucky enough to participate in the jam:

"The first phase of InnovationJam is over. With 53,000 jammers worldwide brainstorming tomorrow's next breakthrough innovations, the discussion was both interesting and inspiring. Now, we're looking forward to refining our ideas in the second phase of the Jam which starts September 12 at 10 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time.

What’s Next?
IBM researchers, solution developers and partners are currently sifting through the many concepts that surfaced during Phase I. Working closely with leaders from the participating Jam companies, we’ll distill the thinking into a core set of the most promising ideas. Then in September we'll reconvene online during Phase 2 of InnovationJam to refine these top ideas into real and actionable solutions."

My only problem is with the word "actionable." I know managers are sick and tired of consultants giving them decks and heavy papers describing their problems that really can't be acted on. So they insist on solutions that are "actionable." But can't we come up with a better word?