We can do more than just technology

Today was a fun day – and not just because I didn’t go anywhere near my desk all day! Hursley House was the home to a workshop for staff from a variety of local charities. I’ve been organising this for the last month or so now, and today was the big day.

The idea of the day was to try and provide some of IBM’s business and consulting expertise to local charities and voluntary organisations, by providing a day’s training on evaluating the effectiveness and impact of their projects. Through work with SYA, I know that this is something that is really important for charities – not only to be able to improve and develop, but in order to justify and compete for funding. The approaches we covered today produce the data that is needed to attract funders, staff, and clients.

I didn’t do much of the presenting myself – I think I see myself as too much of a techie to be able to confidently advise other organisations on this sort of stuff! Under the banner of our On Demand Community Team Challenges, I was able to recruit a team of a dozen IBMers who work in business, consulting and marketing roles (leaving me to sort out the important stuff like lunch and coffee ;-)). The team challenge element meant that I had enough volunteers to assign an IBMer to each charity for the day – each charity essentially got their own consultant for the day, to work through the workshops and exercises with them. And they were brilliant – they were challenging, probing, thoughtful, questioning… they seemed to really get the charity managers and directors thinking.

It’s been a bit of hassle setting this up – getting the charities to give up a day, as well as pulling together a team of IBMers from a variety of sites like Bedfont Lakes (near Heathrow) and Basingstoke – but it was worth it. Often, and particularly when it comes to stuff that we can do in the local community, people seem to pigeon-hole IBM as a computer company. “What can IBM do for us? Well, they can donate us a PC… or make us a website… or come show a classroom of school kids some neat piece of technology…” Don’t get me wrong – that stuff is all important and valuable. But we’ve got more strings to our bow than that – and it was great to see us using our business skills to “add value” (sorry… I’ve been in a business-studies workshop all day…!) to local organisations that do such great work.

I’m a happy bunny – we did a good thing today.

2 Responses to “We can do more than just technology”

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