I’m frequently asked how we select candidates for IBM’s emerging technology showcase and how we decide which ones to commercialize. While there will always be some incremental innovations (technologies that are useful but support mature areas of interest), our primary focus is on finding emerging techs. These we define as early-stage/alpha technologies that propose new or undefined market opportunities. This also means we frequently publish technologies that compete with each other. For us, that’s perfectly acceptable, and sometimes quite intentional.
We’d like our user communities to tell us what they like (and don’t like) to determine which technologies should emerge as commercial winners. An example of this is the various SaaS offerings on alphaWorks, especially Web 2.0 mashup tools like the popular QEDWiki that, based on demand, resulted in the creation of the IBM Lotus Mashups product. This kind of community validation of emerging technologies works well for IBM, Google, Yahoo and the like. Ultimately the market decides.