June was a busy month for me. I've just arrived back from a few days in the US where I was part of a workshop with a major client at the IBM Industry Solutions Lab at Hawthorne near New York. Major themes coming out include analytics, cloud and a series of activities to optimise the client's storage environment. We also saw a number of excellent demos on new solution areas in the lab and it was great to also catch up with a few people too.
Back a few weeks ago I ran an Innovation Day workshop with another of our clients in our Hursley labs site in Hampshire in the UK. We've had a number of Innovation Days with this client and they have got better and better over time. Following the previous session the client CIO was very keen to get his business engaged and he did a great job of getting the leader and reportees from a key business unit into the latest Innovation Day. We focused the agenda around strategic challenges and opportunities in this business area. The client team talked about their context and the IBM team covered what we're seeing in the wider industry. I then facilitated the afternoon session and we agreed on four key areas to follow up on - each with an owner in IBM and the client. What really helped on the day was a live demo from the IBM Emerging Technology Services team highlighting the art of the possible. This really got everyone thinking and helped shape the ideas we took forward.
The next steps of course - to turn the actions into real tangible deliverable items - are critical. On this note I had some great news this week about an innovation theme with a client I kicked off earlier this year - its now been turned into a fully blown delivery program which is great news. Sponsorship from IBM and the client has been key on this.
I'm really looking forward to July as I'm one of the mentors on an Extreme Blue student internship project - where we bring students in for the summer to focus on a key client challenge. And on this one it looks like we have a great team of students and we certainly have a great business opportunity identified by the client. With additional inputs from IBM Research and the Emerging Technology Solutions team this should be a brilliant project to be involved in and I can't wait to get involved in the first client meetings in the next two weeks.
Earlier in June I attended the UK National Outsourcing Association second annual Innovation Day where I facilitated one of the interactive breakout sessions. There was some great input overall - including latest research from the NOA/KPMG and from Warwick Business School plus excellent client insights from the BBC and United Biscuits on lessons learned and real life practical experience of making innovation work in outsourcing partnerships.
Back in the garden we're getting bumper crops of onions, strawberries and blackcurrants plus the mange tout and best of all the first new potatoes which were lovely roasted. Being Welsh I am growing leeks of course and will be thinning and transplanting these shortly to ensure a steady flow through the winter.