The Innovation Lab is not to be missed @ #IBMConnect

When I initially started this blog post the plan was to share a list of my personal recommendations for IBM Connect 2013, essentially a list of the “must not miss” sessions for all you social business folks with a leaning towards analytics. However I made the mistake by starting with a review of the Innovation Lab and with so many interesting projects it’s essentially taken over the post. So, I’m going to do this in two parts. This first post is a sneak peak at who is presenting what inside the Innovation Lab, and the next post will contain my short list for the rest of the event.

Now I must confess that I have a personal soft spot for the Innovation Lab as its usually my home when I attend IBM Connect. It’s the place where IBM Research and other Innovation Teams across IBM showcase their best and their brightest projects. It’s also staffed by the innovators themselves, so you also get a chance to talk with some really great minds.

So here comes the shortlist, in no particular order. And I should emphasize that this is not a complete list and just calls-out a small subset of projects that caught my attention; from researchers I know and respect. I can guarantee that all the projects will be interesting and I’ve yet to meet someone who visited the Innovation Lab and didn’t claim it to be the highlight of their week.

  • Visualizing the Social Graph
    Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of building a number of solutions with Inbal and her team, and have always been impressed by their research. This year she will showcase dynamic visualization of communities, but with a very cool new slant! She will focus on looking at how communities evolve over time, allowing a community owner to replay the activities in their community over time. This enables them to observe and get insights on how and why certain behavioral patterns occurred, who the top contributors are and when, the dynamics of member joining and contributing, whether there are sub-communities evolving, and more. Interactions between multiple communities are also visualized. This is an absolute must-see for community managers, or anyone who has an interesting in community management in general. Researcher: Inbal Ronen

  • 1×5: Enterprise Crowdfunding
    I don’t know too much about this project, however knowing Werner I have no doubt it will be a cracker. Plus its a very interesting concept. Werner applies Internet crowdfunding techniques, such as Kickstarter, to the enterprise and will be demoing the results of an internal IBM project. He will show how tapping into the collective intelligence of IBM’s social workforce fostered innovation, lead to more engaged employees, better decision-making about investments, and increased cross-departmental collaboration. Researcher: Werner Geyer

  • Actionable Analytics for Community Leaders
    This is a second visual community analytics demonstration, however it takes on a very different set of challenges and looks to answer some really critical questions for community managers. For example; Has the level of expertise in my community increased? How much are members sharing knowledge or answering questions, and on what topics? Who can help resolve unanswered questions? How well connected are the members of my community, overall and across organizational and geographic boundaries? Is the community helping to foster new connections? Who are the influencers in my community? How does my community compare with other similar communities on networking or learning metrics? Researcher: Hernan Badenes

  • TwitterViz: Social Media Streams
    Steve is another guy who I’ve had the pleasure to work with for many years and I’ve always been impressed with his research, so I am sure this year’s demo will be no exception. TwitterViz is a dashboard of visualizations that allows you to rapidly gain insight into what is currently happening in the TwitterSphere. Using a visualization engine and analytics developed by IBM, users can enter any key word/s and get real-time analytics showing top words, their sentiments, topic clusters and co-occurence of terms. Bring your favorite terms and see what the world is saying about them. And make sure to ask Steve loads of tough questions from me :-) Researcher: Steven Rohall

  • Social Media-Based Expertise Location
    Expertise identification is a hot topic these days and enterprise social networking is increasingly recognized as a great source of data for discovering experts across your organization. This demo showcases a solution that derives expertise from social media. It enables the user to find experts for a given area of interest, filter these experts according to various criteria, find the social path between the experts and himself, and identify other similar experts. Researcher: Uri Avraham

  • Social Pulse
    I was fortunate enough to get up close and personal with this project last week and I was really impressed with what I saw. Its a workforce analytics solution that gives a deeper understanding of what employees are talking about on internal and external social media. It automatically augments social media content with demographical characteristics enterprise personnel data and presents aggregated sentiment and topic analysis aggregated by demographics and presented through interactive visualizations. Their IBMersWhoTweet service allows them to crowdsource identification of IBMers on Twitter, and an opt-in process ensures all employee privacy is respected. It’s my first time seeing a solution like this which deeply integrates the Enterprise Social Network, public social networks (Twitter in this case), and confidential HR demographical data. It not only applies some smart analytics and reporting, but more importantly for the enterprise applies some clever security to protect employee privacy. Definitely worth a look see for anyone in the HR or Marketing space, or any CEO who cares about what their organization is saying. Researcher: Casey Dugan

  • Work Marketplace
    Last, but most definitely not least, is Steve Dill’s research project which is a really great new slant to getting work done in the enterprise. What if you could not only exchange information and collaborate with social business tools, but could share “work” with anyone in your “crowd” of colleagues? The Work Marketplace provides a platform work exchange, where people can post work they need done, share that request with colleagues, and find someone (or someones) to do it. Work requests can be shared either across their enterprise or within a specific community. Colleagues (with specific expertise when necessary) can select, bid, or compete to do the work, and earn points as currency for the work they’ve completed. The Work Marketplace connects people and work in new ways to develop new workplace applications, improve productivity, increase innovation, and build a smarter workforce. Love it! Researcher: Steve Dill

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