Every Day at IBM Offers an Opportunity to Grow

IBM has exposed me to new experiences, allowed me to discover what I can do, and turn exciting ideas into reality. Read my story to know why I’m a proud IBMer.

By Madoka Yamagami

2016 was the most wonderful year since I joined IBM! Apart from my day-to-day job, exposure to new challenges and experiences allowed me to grow and build my confidence.

My Days as an Architect

I am currently working as an IT Architect in charge of advanced technologies around Cloud and Big Data.

Madoka.jpgLast year, besides working with clients, I have presented many times at large events, posted a few movies on YouTube, and wrote an article on “ProVISION”, a technical magazine published by IBM Japan. Through these activities, I wanted to capture new client demands, especially those focused on API Economy – one of the hottest themes in 2016. Many clients try to integrate new mobile applications with their core system to build new engagement with their customers via API.

Most clients in Japan are still at the early stage when it comes to API economy so than we need to create business models and use cases together to help them adopt new technologies and find it beneficial. In addition, design thinking and agile approach are becoming popular in this area, and essential for the millennial generation like us. That’s why I decided to lead a millennial community at IBM.

Maximizing the Energy of Millennials

In 2015, Kazuhiro Muto, leader of IBM Systems Hardware in Japan, and employees with less than 10-year tenure at IBM in the organization started a community called “We are IBMers (WAI) – to show pride as an IBMer to our Clients, Business Partners, and the World”. Our activities on the first year were based on this concept, and successfully motivated young employees and energized our organization.

We also aimed to develop ourselves through community activities. I ran for a leadership role, which involved supervising the goals of the community and keeping members united. The first action was to have brainstorming sessions to visualize our dreams and career goals. As a result, we came up with specific tasks to improve our own engagement and motivation, develop tools for operational efficiency, and generate business opportunities.

Creating Business Ideas by Millennials

Last year, I also participated in an IBMer Watson Hackathon, where I experienced Design Thinking and Agile methods in order to create a new service and develop an application.

With the golf market trending in Japan, especially among young women, our team developed a fashion recommendation app for people who are wealthy and into fashion. If it can be viewed as “Kawaii” (quality of cuteness,  in the context of Japanese culture) and visualized with big data, we can buy a wardrobe coordinated by our favorite fashionista. This idea was awarded as one of the Top 20 ideas!

Through this experience, I realized the opportunity and message which only Millennials can deliver. If we can capture them, it should result in creating big business! I then started a new task in order to create business by and for Millennials and named it “Business Creation Workshop for Millennials”. Many companies in Japan have already operated communities to support Millennials and revitalize their business.

We ran a workshop with a peer company which recognizes the importance of innovation by the millennial generation. We ran sessions about the “Latest IT Trends” and “IBM Solutions and Client Cases”, and our peer company presented about “Facing Problems in Business”, “Support for Local Communities”, and “Technology and Solutions”. With the theme of “Business Innovation“, our brainstorming session and generated 62 ideas!

Advocating for Millennial Communities

The movement of creating Millennial Communities has been expanding in Japan. I have challenged myself to participate actively in these communities not only in IBM, but also in external organizations.

As an IBM representative, I joined the most active community in Japan called “One JAPAN”, a group established by leading Japanese companies. This group is one of the most remarkable communities with extensive media coverage on TV and the internet. As I am participating in this community as a leader, I value the importance of preparing the next generation to inherit the DNA of this millennial generation.

For that purpose, I am introducing “Millennials at IBM” to students who understand the value of challenging their own dreams. And this is a dream come true for me because, when I was in college, I wanted to become a teacher and help students in making life decisions.

Working in IBM has allowed me to take every opportunity for my growth as long as I keep challenging myself.

I believe that working at IBM will make your dreams, and those of people around you, come true – it happened for me. Because of IBM I can look forward to turning exciting ideas into reality!

Madoka is part of the IBM Systems Hardware group in IBM Japan.

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