For three days beginning March 29, thousands of people will come together for Global Pulse 2010, an online, collaborative event that will bring together engaged people and organizations from all corners of the globe to discuss the world's most pressing challenges and envision solutions.
This massive global initiative – sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in tandem with other government agencies – is also supported by Kogod faculty and students in a strategic partnership with IBM, which is providing the technical backbone through its Jam platform.
IBM began using the platform almost a decade ago to involve its own workforce – more than 300,000 strong – in collaborative discussions about the company's future. In 2005, IBM partnered with the Canadian government and UN-HABITAT for Habitat Jam, which focused on urban sustainability issues and helped shape the agenda for the UN World Urban Forum, which was held the next year.
"Everybody talks about social media, and one of the big examples is crowdsourcing," explained Executive-in-Residence Jill Klein. "Global Pulse will allow us to hear thousands of voices simultaneously. IBM's solution is really Web 2.0 at a business level."
Klein will serve as a facilitator on the Fostering Science, Technology & Innovation discussion; she’ll moderate three separate sessions of three hour time blocks. Her mission: to smooth and progress the discussions by identifying impasses and splintering overly ambitious conversations into focused topics.
She hopes that this partnership with IBM will encourage widespread participation in Global Pulse throughout the AU community, as anyone with a .edu email address can participate.
In addition to Klein's involvement, three students – Zach Fonner, Kannan Jayaprakash, and Tighe Wall – were selected for internships at IBM following a competitive interview process. The students have been writing marketing copy, maintaining social media networks, reaching out to USAID field offices, and tracking participant registration.
"The experience has taught me how dissemination of knowledge … can be effectively communicated through an online platform," said Zach Fonner. "I’ve also learned about the massive undertaking that is needed to conduct such a project, with an ultimate goal of gathering information to run business intelligence."
"With my IT background, working for IBM was always a dream, and this experience has certainly helped me realize it," Kannan Jayaprakash said. "Working with USAID and on an event of such social importance for people across the world makes me feel good and gives me satisfaction."
Kogod’s connection to the global event was introduced by a member of the Information Technology Advisory Council, Nicole Gardner, who also serves as vice president of the Social Services Public Sector at IBM Global Business Services. Representatives from IBM participated in the school's November career awareness fair on information systems, IT's a Carnival.
"It's nice to see that opportunities like this are emanating from the advisory council," said Klein. "This is a stunning example."
AU faculty, staff, and students are invited to participate in Global Pulse 2010, and encouraged to use an AU logo (linked above) with their profile to showcase AU's participation. To register for the free event, click here. For more information please visit globalpulse2010.gov.