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Executive Perspective Transformation Watson Watson Build series Worldwide

Accelerate business innovation: Join the IBM Watson Build

Though it’s been more than a month since the 2017 PartnerWorld Leadership Conference (PWLC), I confess I’m still enjoying the glow of the tremendous energy generated by our IBM Business Partners. The enthusiasm for engagement on cloud and cognitive was electric. Among the many programs delivered at PWLC, one session continues to spark my interest: the IBM Watson Build for Business Partners. Designed to jump-start the journey to cognitive, the workshop hosted hundreds of participants, with more than a few leaving Las Vegas energized to create innovative new solutions. My colleagues and I are eager to see the game-changing solutions you, our Business Partners, invent. Will you be ready to submit your Watson Build business plans on May 15?

As you know, the Watson Build takes place from February to September, structured around three critical milestones:

  • Round 1: Idea (February 14 – May 15) with Business Plan submission May 15
  • Round 2: Build (May 29 – August 31)
  • Round 3: Compete (September 15)

The first and foundational milestone—Round 1: Idea—is crucial for the success of your solution. It is in this first stage that you and your colleagues will brainstorm your way to an innovative proposal, fully immersed in the collaborative engagement sparked by IBM Design Thinking and Agile methods. An energetic early start provides plenty of opportunity for the iteration and feedback that stimulates significant business transformation. I strongly encourage you to immerse yourselves as fully as possible in Round 1 as you develop your ideas and move toward your Business Proposal submission date on May 15.

We understand that our Business Partners are incredibly busy, and the tendency to delay until the last minute is tempting. But the beauty of this method, and the full benefits that accrue from it, will unfold through your full, long-term engagement. Taking the time to iterate, and to allow the percolation of ideas that emerge from the hothouse environment of the IBM Design Thinking process, will deliver tremendous benefits for your business and the solutions you devise. The truth is, you may propose a pretty good idea at the last minute, but if you spend the time to get it right, you’ll invent a great one.

Unsure how to get started? We’ve got you covered. If you were unable to attend the workshop at PWLC, or if you did and still aren’t sure exactly how to proceed, we’ve scheduled workshops worldwide to help you get from idea to submission, and beyond. Please check the calendar for updates.

We have also created a repository of resources to help you engage with and learn how to capture the power of IBM Design Thinking, our proprietary methodology for human-centered design and development. And I invite you to view our IBM Design Thinking Field Guide for an engaging – and frankly, delightfully fun – introduction to this creative path to innovation.

Need more information about Watson? Need to understand the APIs, the cognitive computing building blocks you’ll use to create your market-disrupting solutions? Check out our Learning Lab, where you can tour each of the APIs and read some use cases about other innovators who have put these powerful cognitive components to work. And for further information about the program, please refer to our FAQ page, which will address many of your questions.

Again, I look forward to seeing you, our valued Business Partners, fully engaged with the IBM Watson Build, and to the innovative solutions you propose on May 15. I will be returning periodically to check in, to encourage you and to cheer your efforts.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Mike Gerentine (@mgerentine)
Vice President, IBM Global Business Partners

Michael Gerentine is Vice President, Software Channel Sales, IBM Global Business Partners. He is in charge of managing software partners across the IBM channel, a global business that spans several IBM business divisions, including Watson and IBM Cloud. He helps channel partners better understand IBM's strategy, adopt new technologies and deliver solutions to clients, all while helping drive mutual sales success for the ecosystem. Previously, Michael served as Vice President of Marketing, IBM Global Business Partners, where he developed and led marketing efforts for the IBM Business Partner channel.

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