IBM recently asked all of its employees to submit ideas for how to help the company grow. It called the process the Innovation Jam, which I'm sure had employees across the nation rolling their eyes at Big Blue. But one of the ten ideas that managed to make it out on top was a green research business unit that will be somewhat autonomous from IBM.
The currently unnamed business unit will focus on ideas that will directly benefit the environment, develop them, market them and implement them. Already, projects that were proposed at IBM's research labs but have not been developed are being handed over. These include a networking system for effective management of municipal water supplies, using nanotechnology for inexpensive desalination and creating more efficient solar cells. The business unit will be started with at least $10 million in seed money, and Pete Horn, director of IBM research, believes that it will be self sustaining almost immediately. "We kind of think that given how big the opportunity is here, it's almost a slam dunk for us." ::Hugg and PlanetSave