Changing gears with IBM



I’ve been thinking a lot about social business lately.

About what it is – broadly, focused on people (behaviours, mindsets) and organizations (culture, vision, leadership) – and about what it isn’t (an extension of, or level up from, social media).

For the past dozen years, I’ve been directly and actively involved in one way or another in social media and social business, as a consultant, as a client, as an experimenter, as an early adopter (and leaver), as an influencer, and as an implementer.

All of this has been leading me to a place where thinking, evangelisms, experiences, tools and activities can come together into a coherent singularity (for want of a better word) that makes sense, is credible and has the vitality that attracts interest, attention, desire and action from individuals in organizations looking to be the new and relevant leaders for their stakeholders over the next five-to-ten years.

That place is IBM, an organization I have long admired for its reinvention (and inventions) to make itself a new and relevant leader for business in the 21st century.

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be joining IBM next month as a Consulting Leader in the global IBM Social Consulting team based in London. This is a full-time role – I’ll be 100 percent an IBM employee – working with someone I have known for quite a while and who has planted a powerful marker firmly in the ground to herald a new, smarter way of working that brings measurable value to enterprises wherever they do business.

That someone is Andrew Grill who joined IBM in 2013 to build this team that, collectively, brings insights and opportunities to those enterprises. A crystalizing moment on my journey to this point occurred last June when I was Andrew’s guest at Wimbledon and saw at first hand the real role of social media in the broader context of social business:

[…it] opened my eyes (ears) to the importance and measurable value of the strategic use of social media where data analysis leading to valuable insights is paramount. It also demonstrated clearly to me that if you are to deploy social media in your business, you really must have the right skilled and talented people who can measure it and interpret outcomes – the missing link I see too often in some companies large and small.

Two years ago, Andrew and I had a terrific 20-minute conversation about social business in an FIR interview, one of the business podcasts I co-founded in 2005 (and stepped down from recently). Everything we discussed then about social business is still totally relevant today. Listen for yourself:

And so I’m looking forward to walking through the doors at IBM’s offices on the south bank of the river Thames in London on January 4, 2016, to meet all my new colleagues (including long-time friend Silvia Cambie who joined Andrew’s team in August).

I can’t wait!

(Photo at top by ralphbijker, used under CC-BY-2)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. topgold

    Neville, count my ears among those hoping to hear @jangles create a resonating voice for IBM’s social media for business.

  2. Neville Hobson

    I just realized I hadn’t responded or left a comment here to any of your excellent comments. Not joined the conversation, as it were. So, on the day before I start with IBM, let me just say thank you to everyone. I appreciate your warm wishes.

    I always believe life is an adventure with different journeys forming part of the overall expedition. Jan 4, 2016, marks the start of my latest stage in that expedition. I’m ready for the next chapter in the adventure!

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