Excel in the Cognitive Era: Join the IBM Watson Build

Over the past year, IBM has initiated a series of programs to help you, our IBM Business Partners, develop greater expertise and higher-value solutions to help our mutual clients redefine markets and lead their industries. With the launch of our new PartnerWorld program in January, IBM has moved vigorously from a product-centric model to one focused on competencies, customer satisfaction and revenue, all to empower you to excel in the Cognitive Era.

To accelerate your proficiency in cognitive technology, we want to position you at the center of one of our most innovative programs, the IBM Watson Build. You already know the cognitive solutions market represents a tremendous growth opportunity for businesses delivering solutions with cognitive capabilities. IDC estimates that by 2020, global spending on cognitive and AI will reach USD 47 billion. Nearly 50 percent of this investment will come from Banking, Retail and Healthcare. We are eager to see our Business Partners dominate these and other industries.

As you know, the Watson Build takes place from February to September, structured around three critical milestones:

  • Round 1: Idea (February 14 – May 15) with Business Plan submission May 15
  • Round 2: Build (May 29 – August 31)
  • Round 3: Compete (September 15)

 The first and foundational milestone—Round 1: Idea—is crucial for the success of your solution. It is in this first stage that you and your colleagues will brainstorm your way to an innovative proposal, fully immersed in the collaborative engagement sparked by IBM Design Thinking and Agile methods. An energetic early start provides plenty of opportunity for the iteration and feedback that stimulates significant business transformation. I strongly encourage you to immerse yourselves as fully as possible in Round 1 as you develop your ideas and move toward your Business Proposal submission date on May 15.

We understand that our Business Partners are incredibly busy, and the tendency to delay until the last minute is tempting. But the beauty of this method, and the full benefits that accrue from it, will unfold through your full, long-term engagement. Taking the time to iterate, and to allow the percolation of ideas that emerge from the hothouse environment of the IBM Design Thinking process, will deliver tremendous benefits for your business and the solutions you devise. The truth is, you may propose a pretty good idea at the last minute, but if you spend the time to get it right, you’ll invent a great one.

Unsure how to get started? We’ve got you covered. If you were unable to attend the workshop at PWLC, or if you did and still aren’t sure exactly how to proceed, we’ve scheduled workshops worldwide to help you get from idea to submission, and beyond. Please check the calendar for updates.

We have also created a repository of resources to help you engage with and learn how to capture the power of IBM Design Thinking, our proprietary methodology for human-centered design and development. And I invite you to view our IBM Design Thinking Field Guide for an engaging – and frankly, delightfully fun – introduction to this creative path to innovation.

Need more information about Watson? Need to understand the APIs, the cognitive computing building blocks you’ll use to create your market-disrupting solutions? Check out our Learning Lab, where you can tour each of the APIs and read some use cases about other innovators who have put these powerful cognitive components to work. And for further information about the program, please refer to our FAQ page, which will address many of your questions.

We look forward to seeing the innovative solutions you’ll create as you move through the Watson Build. We're confident that engagement with this innovative program will transform your business and position you to succeed in the Cognitive Era.