David Yaun

Vice President, Corporate Communications, IBM

Rewriting Playbooks

David Yaun is Vice President, Corporate Communications at IBM and directs their global internal and external communications programs related to innovation and technology leadership. He’s also the lead executive responsible for the company’s annual Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) program. Launched in 2004, it was under David’s leadership that IBM took the unprecedented step of opening up their annual technology and business forecasting processes to the world. By gathering the company’s top researchers, consultants and business leaders, and arming them with the latest insight on emerging technical trends and socio-economic shifts, GIO is a platform upon which IBM’s entire ecosystem joins together to surface new and unforeseen opportunities for innovation.

In addition to GIO, David also created IBM’s ground-breaking global “InnovationJam” program. A classic example of cross-discipline, collaborative innovation, the jam is the largest online event in IBM history. Back in 2006, more than 150,000 people (which included IBM employees, family members, universities, business partners and clients from 67 companies in 104 countries) logged in for two 72-hour sessions. In the end, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano agreed to invest $100 million in the 10 most promising proposals. (I'll have a follow-up blog entry shortly which talks about where the money was invested as well as the status of some of the projects.) Interestingly, IBM is now selling the jam methodology and technology that it created for itself.

In his spare time, David also oversees The Genographic Project, a joint research program with the National Geographic Society. It’s an ambitious attempt to help answer the fundamental question of how our species migrated out of Africa and around the planet. The five-year study is compiling one of the largest collections of DNA samples ever assembled to map how the Earth was populated.