Molly Stevens
IBM

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On July 25, 2013, IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, hosted a webcast to introduce IBM’s 9 practices. One such practice that is fundamental to IBM’s culture is to “treasure wild ducks,” or ideas that might initially sound strange. In a large corporation such as IBM, employees come from a variety of backgrounds and possess differing perspectives. As a result, team mates may offer ideas that are unconventional and seem to be truly “wild.” Yet, IBMers treasure wild ducks and advocate working environments that celebrate diversity, innovation, and original thinking.

In order to foster a creative working environment, a group of managers at the IBM Poughkeepsie, NY site launched a Wild Ducks pilot program in the summer of 2014. Participants were given ten minutes to “pitch” an idea that might improve a process, fix a problem, or boost employee morale. The audience, which consisted of an organization of about one hundred IBMers, was then given five minutes to ask questions, provide feedback, and contribute suggestions.

By the end of the Wild Ducks pilot program, it became apparent that these presentations were extremely successful in promoting innovation and multi-disciplinary collaboration. This presentation will highlight some of the benefits that the organization has received from treasuring wild ducks and how the creative ideas that resulted from the pilot program have enabled IBMers to become better “designers and makers.”

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