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Uncle Sam's Global Pulse Jam

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, March 30 2010


How do you connect together huge numbers of people across the globe in a way that actually fosters productive conversation? It's something that the Obama White House and the executive agencies are eager to figure out, and they've turned to a solution that was developed by another entity with an interest in digital collaboration: IBM. IBM's Jam is a platform developed by the company in 2001 to tie together the more than 300,000 employees it has scattered around the planet.

Today is Day Two in a three-day U.S. government-sponsored "jam" experiment spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development (a.k.a USAID), with the support of the State Department, the Department of Education, the Commerce Department, and HHS, that they're calling Global Pulse 2010. Participants are invited to discuss ten topics, from the state of women around the world to the heady topic of "pursuing big challenges." White House Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation Sonal Shah writes about the project on the White House blog, saying "Between now and Wednesday, thousands of people from over 130 countries are participating together virtually to find shared solutions to common challenges, engage with US foreign policy leadership, and simply connect with each other."

"What we hear will help inform how we can fulfill the President’s vision of a foreign policy based on mutual interest and mutual respect," writes Shah, "including a more comprehensive engagement with the world around common challenges."