IBM needed to change from a hardware- to software-and-solutions-focused organization. They wanted to punctuate that with a global architectural statement. The challenge was to create an attention-grabbing, world-class problem/solution design center that would serve up product, software and service simultaneously. This would give the company, for the first time since the 70s, the opportunity to represent the company’s entire range of capabilities at a single destination.
Working with IBM internal teams, architect George Yu and design firm Imaginary Forces, the team created a compelling environment in which to host inbound meetings with clients. Mike, then IBM eVisionary, was engaged to help design the consulting experience component of the overall Innovation Center experience.
The design was rooted in two thought leadership ideas: adaptive enterprise and experience design. Both helped clients emphasize their future-state designs in front of customers and behind the scenes. Both were frameworks for IBM to introduce its solutions. Both represented opportunities for clients to earn competitive advantage. State-of-the-art, visual effects and interactive communications that were superior to anything anybody else could offer were the centerpiece of co-introduced new architecture and experience.
Sales closing rates improved to more than 75%. Results were so compelling that IBM pushed the Innovation Center concept into nine additional cities, with comparable levels of success.
Mike Wittenstein, IBM’s eVisionary, supported Howard’s work on the Innovation Center at IBM