The Next Big Wave.

We think it’s a big idea; so big, in fact, that we’ve made it the theme of Software Universe 2011.  When we talk about innovation, when we talk about our software, when we talk about the forces driving business today, we’ll be doing so with this idea in mind.  What is the Next Big Wave?

In the days to come, we’ll be fleshing that idea out, discussing the details, and find out how it applies to our work, our lives, and our future.  But perhaps the first question we should ask (and answer) is: Why now?  What makes this moment the right moment to discuss the Next Big Wave?

The pace of innovation, and its cousin, creative destruction, is ever increasing.  The invention of paper came more than two thousand years after the alphabet.  The printing press took another twelve hundred years.  The telegraph followed four hundred years after.  The telephone took only forty more.

As Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google said (in 2008, no less), “We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003.”

We live in the science-fiction present.  We use virtual keyboards to type words on handheld devices before hurtling those words instantaneously across the globe.  Our applications are migrating from our personal computers (themselves a young invention) to the distributed networks we call the Cloud.  We are adding intelligence to our transportation grids, our hospital rooms, our disaster response centers and our coffee machines.

There is opportunity before us like never before in history, and also complexity.  There are challenges, and when innovation moves as fast as it does, it is not enough to look at the now – we must also, always, look forward.

Now, more than ever, we must anticipate the Next Big Wave.

IBM Software Universe 2011

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