This morning, IBM is issuing two press release highlighting social business initiatives. Both of these are pretty cool and timely in advance of next week's Lotusphere and Connect 2012 events.

The first announcement is an academic initiative between IBM and San Jose State University. SJSU's Professor Larry Gee, who will be at Lotusphere next week, directs this new component of IBM's "Great Mind Challenge", previously only conducted in India. The Challenge will also be offered as part of IBM's Smarter Planet academic initiative work at Notre Dame, Duke, Pace University, and Purdue later this year. The SJSU challenge will bring IBMers together with students to study the social business marketplace, and specifically learn how opportunities are developed and talent identified to deliver solutions. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this from Professor Gee next week.

The second announcement highlights four new initiatives from IBM in the social business space, which according to Forrester Research is expected to grow at a 61% rate through 2016, blossoming into a US$6.4 billion market. Wow. Anyway, you already know that IBM has made "social business" a core business, but today's announcement indicates four additional ways we're going to continue to lead this space: new strategic consulting from IBM Global Business Services around adoption and value; global educational and mentorship programs for people in community manager jobs; technical certification programs for social business solutions; and "Social Business Agenda" workshops on IBM's Virtual Innovation Center.

You'll hear more about these announcements next week at Lotusphere and Connect 2012...the conference is just a few days away. Yikes I'd better get back to packing!

Link: ibm.com: Social Business press kit >

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