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Happy 100th Birthday IBM!

This week IBM celebrated its 100 year anniversary. WOW…how many companies are still in business after 100 years? How many companies have the track record of innovation that IBM has had? Not many…I watched one of the many You Tube videos on IBM’s 100 years of innovation and cant help but marvel at the impact they have had on technology through the years. Punch cards to vacuum tube calculators, to Selectric typewriters to PCs, mainframes..on and on. How has IBM manage to stay viable for 100 years?

Thomas Watson is/was widely known as one of the best salesmen ever to hit the streets. He sold pianos, sewing machines, meat, cash registers, and much more over his career. How do companies stay innovative? I think there are really two driving factors as was evident in the way that Watson came to run IBM:

1. Encourage your people to think and reward them for it, and more importantly.

2. Militantly staying close to your customers.

If you’re not encouraging and rewarding the lifeblood of your company – your people –  to think and act outside of their “assigned” responsibilities then you’re not innovative. Innovation is not the responsibility of just the CEO, or the Head of Engineering – its everyone in the companies responsibility. As well, everyone in the company has to be in touch with the “heart” of your company – and that is your customer base. If you have any questions about how to be more innovative – pick up the phone and call a customer…they will be happy to tell you! You can bet that through the years Mr. Watson had many conversations that helped IBM shape the way that they evolved.

At Quadrant Software we too are trying to live by the example set by Mr. Watson and IBM and are proud to be a long term IBM business partner. All our people, from administrative staff, to engineers, to shipping and receiving, all call customers – for no special reason other than to see how things are going – -we are constantly amazed at what we hear. Everyone in the company is encouraged and pushed to be innovative and not look at our company as a place to work – but a place to create and innovate.  At Quadrant Software, if you’re not thinking about how we can be better, internally and externally, then you just might be working in the wrong place.

See you in 100 years….

Steve Woodard
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