TED@IBM Outlook: I Create,Therefore I am.

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Image courtesy of IBM.

Image courtesy of IBM.

As a philosophy enthusiast, I have always loved Rene Descartes’s take on the existence of things which is: “I think, therefore I am.” He believed the only way we could be certain that we exist is when we are thinking. Given the nature of the rapid advancements of our time, I believe he would be certain that we exist just by the sheer numbers of inventions that have cropped up over the last decade.

What if we switched up his quote a bit to say: “I create, therefore I am.” In the context of 2015, wouldn’t it be fair to say that people who create products, businesses, art, music, and even content have infinite existence and visibility by virtue of what they create. Whether or not the things they create are successful doesn’t much matter. The very act of creating something is an extension of their existence as a human being. In many cases- what they create has a lasting effect and impact long after the creator is gone.

These lasting effects are footprints that ensure that future generations have blueprints (some unfinished) that peak curiosity and fuel invention and innovation for a long time to come. This is how it has been and so it will continue in the future.

When we look back at this time in history, it will mark rapid advances in technology and innovation. It is a time ripe with opportunity for anyone to create something new and/or improve something that could be better. In retrospect, we may question anyone who failed to create anything useful during this period. Yes, you have to have an idea, plus a plan and the audacity to believe in your ability to have an impact- but how can you not be inspired to create something with so much innovation and necessity at play?

To be a creator doesn’t mean you need to be building multi-million dollar companies. It can be as simple as creating something that solves a problem for one person.  For that matter, you may even create something that improves your own quality life. It would be self-serving, but at least you created something. Let’s take a broader look at the art of creation and this period of time in our history. There are still unperfected technologies, deficits of basic resources like clean water and adequate food in many countries around the globe; as well as  socio-economic catastrophes that seem never-ending.

If you can sit back and watch all of these human and technological conundrums continue into the next century without recognizing what your part in it is- that is disappointing. The only way we continue to exist is by creating things that are needed and keeping the innovation going. I am often asked what the most important aspect of the future is. My answer is always: “the people” or “humans”. We have the ability to change it all.

This is why I am so honored and excited to be attending the upcoming TED@IBM conference in San Francisco on October 15th. I am in a state of constant creation, but I am always eager to be fed new perspectives, ideas and inspiration that in turn inform everything from how I live my life to how I run my business. This year’s theme is “Necessity and Invention”. Each of the speakers touches on some aspect of the human experience by discussing a “need” or “an invention” that will impact us all.

To see the agenda, lineup of impressive speakers and register for this event, visit IBM.com/TED  for more information. In addition, I will be live tweeting from this event and expect there to be lots of live content being streamed during the event. To keep up with the latest and greatest during the conference, follow the #TEDatIBM hashtag.

Will HR Transform or Be Transformed?


Transform HR

Image courtesy of IBM Smarter Workforce


I love Human Resources.The idea that we are charged with an organizations most prized possession- its people- is no easy task. Everybody has their niche in HR. My role in the organizations I worked for were focused on process improvement and facilitating strategic transformation. In essence, I was often brought in as the person that would see the state of the companies processes and strategies and develop a plan for moving it forward. It is a skill and niche I continue to enjoy as I serve customers through my business.

As HR practitioners, we have enjoyed the luxury of working within siloed niches with very little gumption or energy to look up from our mounting work to see how much the workforce has changed. There are certainly progressive HR departments trying to increase their value and move in unison with the businesses they support. The problem is as a discipline we aren’t moving forward together in a way that will support our survival in the future. You have people on the left hating HR and counting the days to its demise. The ones on the right-who are happy living in Personnel World circa 1980; and then the ones in the middle that are following whatever the latest trend in HR is despite any applicability of the trend to their particular business.

There is so much potential collectively and separately for HR to transform the organizations they serve. It requires us to take a step back from what we think we know and examine the economic, societal and business-specific realities of the overall workforce. To continue down this road of doing HR for the sake of keeping the discipline alive is really to be an accessory to the inevitable death of HR. Business and technology are evolving quicker than we are as a discipline. This realization is not a reason to be defensive, but a memo to all of us that we need to either transform or be transformed.

Last week, IBM announced a partnership with SAP (yes, you read that right) that will allow them to deliver a consistent and streamlined customer experience via an offering of an integration between SAP’s SuccessFactors® Employee Central and IBM Kenexa’s cloud-based HR software Talent Acquisition Suite. This alliance is an effort that will allow IBM customers to move to the cloud; while also reaping the benefits of ongoing support and services from these two tech giants. IBM and SAP are competitors. Each of these companies could have continued in privacy creating and deploying products independent of one another. What I get from this partnership is: they have realized that offering a better product to consumers is far more important than anything they could do separately. Will it be lucrative? Only time, will tell. The point is they looked at the market and they are transforming rather than being transformed.

Everything in life and business travels in cycles. There are times for rebuilding,  stagnation, and transformation. We are in an age of evolution and transformation and it is exciting. What can you be doing as an HR practitioner to raise the bar in your own organization?

Stop. Don’t answer that question now, but please accept my invite to IBM Smarter Workforce’s #SWFChat where I will have the pleasure of co-hosting a chat with Denise Holt of Grateez, Inc. about the Transforming HR and the evolution of Talent Management.

You can join us on Crowdchat by following this link: https://www.crowdchat.net/swfchat. I hope to see you there.

For the complete press release on the IBM SAP alliance, please click here. Also, follow the hashtag #IBMSAP on Twitter for more insights from the New Way To Work and IBM communities.

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