New path to innovation: Watson Build for Business Partners

Your chance to get an early start on cognitive app development

By Nancy Pearson, VP Marketing, IBM Cognitive

In an era where becoming a digital business can bring valuable differentiation, the degree to which you can innovate becomes increasingly important. A culture of innovation is a hallmark of business success.

How do you create this culture? That is not an easy question to answer, regardless of whether you are a startup or large global organization like IBM.

For us, we started on a path in 2016 by holding our first Cognitive Build internally. You can think of this as a hackathon on steroids. Over 8,000 teams went on an 88-day journey to build solutions harnessing the power of Watson APIs. We had top-down support from our CEO Ginni Rometty, a Kickstarter-like platform to handle feedback and groundswell of interest from across the globe (an unprecedented 75% of the IBM workforce engaged with the Build).

We saw solutions ranging from apps to recognize what you ate to a service that could take notes and actions directly from conference calls. One year later and we’re still managing over 2,700 projects.

We have had a number of our clients and partners ask us how they can drive this kind of innovation. So at this year’s PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, we launched the first public Watson Build, running from now until September 2017. If you are a business partner, this presents a perfect opportunity for you to experiment with building cognitive solutions.

Why does it make sense to think about building cognitive systems? According to IDC, by 2019, global cognitive/AI systems spending is expected to reach $31 billion. What if you could get a head start in this space?

We’ve pulled together a number of resources to help you and your developers dream, plan and build valuable cognitive solutions.

You will find in-depth resources to help you at every stage of development. Learn the principles of Design Thinking, which is critical to keep you on a customer-first path as you make decisions on what to build. Get help on defining your business plan so that you can optimize the value for the work you put in. You’ll find inspiration on how you can leverage the power of the Watson APIs and prototype using tools like Mural and Slack for collaboration.

We’ll be running a number of workshops around the world, including one at InterConnect next month. If you are in need of inspiration, take a look at the IBM Cognitive Build projects, and when you’re ready, get started with the Watson Build!