IBM is into JAMs in a big way. Hundreds, thousands maybe, of participants from across the organisation periodically join forces in mass problem solving exercises.
From December 1 to 3, IBM is powering Habitat JAM. Here's some of the blurb: "The Habitat JAM is about adding your ideas into the global conversation about the future of our cities. It's about having your say on important issues that affect you. It's about building new global networks of people who wouldn't have connected before. It's about working together across the globe to find solutions to critical urban problems."
This is the promise: "The Habitat JAM will gather your input and add it to thousands of others to identify actionable ideas for the Vancouver World Urban Forum agenda and influence the Forum's content. It will start conversations and build new networks that bring enormous potential to global problem solving."
If all goes according to plan, monumental amounts of data and opinion will be gathered and subsequently sifted and analysed. I guess this is why IBM is playing in this space. If it can provably make sense of the outpourings of the JAM, then it can claim to make sense of all sorts of outpourings: websites, blogs, wikis, forums, RSS feeds, email, IM and, if speech recognition is ever up to it, podcasts.
The commercial potential is huge. If it works. And the potential for abuse or misuse is equally huge.