Innovation that matters

About a year ago, IBM ran an internal competition for employees to produce a short video on the theme of “Innovation that matters”

Over 500 entries were submitted from all corners of the world and were subsequently rated and commented on by fellow employees. The most highly rated made it through to a shortlist from which five winners were selected by a panel of judges.

Myself, Steve Haskey and Brian Hulse from IBM UK based in the Hursley lab put together our effort which from the outset was planned to be a light-hearted comedy sketch with a salient message. Steve and I wrote and acted whilst Brian provided voiceover and musical talent. Steve did the really hard work of filming, directing and editing.

Shot over a six hour period one Saturday morning, Listening is the first step became the highest rated entry and one of the five selected winners. Since then it has been used numerous times both within the company and externally. It’s been shown at divisional kick-off meetings and to customers and has been downloaded internally over 40,000 times. One thing we always wanted to do with it was give it a wider audience, and to that effect we’ve been given permission to put it up on You Tube. So, without further ado, here is our video. Enjoy.

Feed reader viewers may want to skip to the full post to view.

The good news is that the 2008 competition will be announced soon, so you can hopefully expect to see more fun videos in the future. However I doubt you will see one from us. Steve and his wife Wendy-Ann are busy looking after their new born twins, I have moved to Ireland and Brian is probably busy picking up the pieces I left behind in my old job 😉

Toilet humour

Whilst not wishing to lower the tone of this blog, some things cannot pass without comment.

Whilst sitting on the throne in the office toilet (rest room for our American cousins) you can expect to hear a variety of noises, most of which, whilst impolite in common society, are forgiven in this environment due to the nature of the task at hand.

One thing you never expect to hear is the noise I heard this morning. What was it I hear you ask? What could be so terrible? Well, I never thought I would be accompanied from the next cubicle along by…

… the tapping of a laptop keyboard.

Now this could be taken two ways. It could be viewed as an innovative use of dead-time to gain maximum productivity, much in the spirit of the story from Microserfs in which a Bug, a Microsoft employee, believes BillG lavishes stock on those employees seen taking a shortcut across the neatly manicured grass outside his office. Conversely it could be seen as a lament on the way that we are driven so hard in the workplace that even the last refuge of peace, and time to think for yourself, has gone.

Alternatively, and much more to my liking, we could use it as a source for humour. Was he investigating a core dump? Inspecting a particularly large log? Readers, its over to you…