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Innovating in the Most Beneficial Way

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Technology giant IBM is always on the move. They celebrated 100 years of history with an amazing new promotional video.

The full clip is below. It’s a little over thirteen minutes long but brilliantly executed:

There’s no question that IBM is an innovative company. They built a computer that defeated the best human players of the game show Jeopardy!. Their systems are in every country on the planet. The video put one aspect of IBM’s philosophy front-and-center, a quote from founder Thomas J. Watson:

All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think.

IBM’s world-changing innovation isn’t something that’s just come along lately. It’s at the core of who they are. A look at the company’s history reveals IBM has lived on the edge when it comes to their thinking about technology and business solutions. It’s what made them into who they are today.

Even before they were IBM, the company was at the forefront of finding a solution to complex data issues facing companies in the still pioneering days of the Industrial Revolution. The dial recorder helped industrial companies with large payrolls keep track of employee records, inventory, factory efficiency and other important data.

The 1950s and 1960s saw IBM start thinking beyond corporate needs and into the consumer market. The Selectric typewriter revolutionized typing efficiency and became the prototype in form for what would be the personal computer. At one point, IBM owned a whopping 75 per cent of the market share for electric typewriters used in US businesses.

IBM Selectric

© Flickr user steve lodefink

At the same time, IBM was delivering its landmark System/360 family of mainframe computers. These descendants of the dial recorder provided solutions to both commercial and scientific customers and revolutionized businesses from Wall Street to NASA. IBM not only developed machines with great computing power, they developed networks that allowed these machines to communicate with each other, setting the stage for what would eventually be the “world wide web” of computers we know today.

The 1980’s saw IBM take the mainframe PC…making computing power personal and portable. By applying their now proven technologies to smaller work stations that could be housed at individual desks or even in the home or school, IBM exponentially expanded the computing market. Now even small businesses could afford (and more importantly, had the space to house) the immense power of a computer.

When the personal computing market started to get crowded in the 1990s and 2000s, IBM once again thought outside the box. They weren’t content to stay where they’d already been, competing with other companies to see who could manufacture something smaller and faster. Their innovations in artificial intelligence with Deep Blue and Watson kept IBM at the forefront of technological advancement and have them poised for another century of innovative breakthroughs.

Who knows what advancements IBM will advance in the future. We do know that their commitment to innovative thinking will allow them to continue to develop the products that not only keep their business successful, but change the world.

At AccelaWork, our role is to help you be innovative with workflow. Our job is to help you think about the patterns, sequences, and structures of front-office work so that you can be more productive, more efficient, more effective and more satisfied. We haven’t been around a hundred years (yet!) but we believe we are doing what we can to support Thomas J. Watson’s vision. We are finding solutions to the problems of work by being willing to think.

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