Mid-March 2013 was organized a second JAM at IBM, seven years after the first one. You're asking yourself "what the heck is a JAM?" It is that thing. It's like a huge online gathering where all the employees are given the opportunity to define what it's like to be an IBMer. There are forums, polls, etc. The company collects a huge amount of data and interprets them.
As an IBM employee, I was really impressed by the company's willingness to listen to its employees. And I can tell you it's not bullshit. This is what I could read on IBM's intranet a few days ago:
I had the pleasure of jamming with colleagues while in Nairobi. The experience reminded me of the amazing power of what we have in common. Our jam analytics will help us to define the behaviors; our values will help us live them.
IBM reinventing how to reinvent through the power of 250,000 participants. Just amazing and just one reason why IBM is different and will continue to thrive.
I am VERY encouraged to hear about further analysis of the jam outcomes and that positive action will result as a consequence. The very act of doing this (jam + data analysis + recommendation = action) is a demonstration of IBM prowess in "Smarter stuff." This is one of those "proud to be an IBMer" moments!
How great is that? How often do you see employees of such a huge structure happy about what their company represents?
Well very few companies actually make that effort.
So let's be more precise, what was it really like?
- The JAM represented 57% of the company (about 257,000 employees out of 434,000).
- Came from 92 countries; all business units.
- Spent four days – technically 98 hours – in continuous jamming.
- Slammed the servers at the same time: 46,273 at peak. Well over 18,000 concurrent users all four days.
- Posted 11,753,031 words across the Jam forums – the equivalent of writing nearly 200 novels in four days!
For a startup lover, it is a very surprising experience. I didn't think I would ever write a post about how well a big company deals with its "bigness". But I think this is a good example of how a company can transform its intranet into a robust social computing platform.