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  • Writer's pictureHugo Pinto

Show me don’t sell me: business by design @IBM iX

It’s been two and a half years since I’ve joined IBM Interactive Experience, and the vision of the future is becoming clearer for the big blue.

It’s only getting faster

You’ll notice a new branding has surfaced for iX and it focuses on the premises that brought me (and a group of people that have become my partners in crime) into the business: having the biggest bucket of Lego in the world, to bring any idea to life, and co-create with the planet’s most exciting brands and minds.

In this journey IBM has opened up to listening to more startups, graduates, interns and external partners that can help accelerate innovation.

In the light of this we’ve had a busy couple of years building the pillars of this new way of going to market, and building the stories that bring the vision to life, helping our clients get hands on with uncertainty while testing, building and sometimes failing at designing their future.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with many entrepreneurs, both from corporates in the financial services, retail, telco and industrial sectors (to name a few), but also from incubators and accelerators like Wayra, and some of their remarkable cohorts of entrepreneurs, like Pixoneye, Shopwave and Squirrel.


We salute you!

The unsung heroes in all of this are the silent entrepreneurs, the ones that are going to wield the future we’re building: the students, graduates and interns that are going to ask the difficult questions and test the even harder answers.

the menu for the pitch event from the 2017 cohort – Kickstart London

The work of an incubator I’d like to highlight is Kickstart – a collaboration between five business schools in London, that aims to train students in the volatile and uncertain trade of being an entrepreneur.

Invaluable lessons, manifested in events, workshops, pitches and drinks in nice places (college dorms did NOT look like this when I went to University), help build their awareness of the importance of customer journeys, monetisation strategies and API’s.

view from the bar on the 32nd floor of a college dorm – the chapter


The key premise behind what businesses do is not letting themselves get dragged by inertia and the processes built to prevent them from failure in the first place.

And process driven businesses are the ones that grow through the challenges of size and volume, but are also the ones destined to be disrupted and interfered with, probably by a group of trouble-makers, wether from the outside or from within.

“Better to shoot yourself in the foot that having someone else shooting you in the head”

There is a convergence happening between technology, business strategy and design that is pushing the boundaries of management consultancy firms, technology companies and service design agencies.

In a previous post I addressed the ambitions of CEO’s of most incumbents: become a Technology business.

We help design experiences for both employees and customers, partners and service providers, that support new business models, new growth patterns and new technology paradigms.

The big challenge is finding trusted partners that can accompany companies and organisations from the realisation of the need to change to the coming to life of a new idea in seven continents – in months, not years.

Digital transformation becomes, restless reinvention and a permanent state of Beta for companies as they will need to tackle the challenges of being disintermediated, of changing from commodities trading to digital services, of shifting from products to platforms, and of having to go from polluters to advocates of sustainability over the next five to ten years.

Co-creation workshops replace meetings, Design thinking replaces benchmarking and prototypes replace feasibility studies. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, it just means they might not even be necessary.

“If it doesn’t add value, it’s waste” Henry Ford

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