Security Jam wants bread-and-butter proposals

Global collaboration exercise looks for concrete cybersecurity proposals

After four days of online brainstorming, Security Jam is soliciting concrete solutions for solving security problems in the 21st century — your best proposal in just 50 words — before the event concludes Feb. 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

By Monday, the five-day event had about 3,000 posts and 7,000 log-ons, many from heavy hitters in the world of international defense and security, including former U.S. ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, Director General of the European Union Military Staff Lt. Gen. David Leakey, and Belgium’s Minister for Defense Pieter De Crem.


IBM's jam technology goes global

Based on technology developed by IBM Corp. for its own internal use, the technology proved so effective at eliciting new ideas that IBM opened its use to other organizations and companies. A jam is intended to be an event rather than an open-ended discussion, said Liam Cleaver, IBM jam leader. The finite time allowed for a jam focuses attention, he said.

“It’s getting a passionate group of people talking around topics and people building on each other's perspectives and stories to create a new idea. And that’s what’s really exciting about jams — the ability to create something new.”

Anytime you get a group of people, all passionate about a topic, together, some sparks will fly. Within hours of Security Jam’s start, a “non-European ambassador to NATO made no secret of his views that the alliance is beyond its useful life and should be put out to grass. ‘Stay at home’ was the message, and it elicited a slew of contradictory responses about NATO’s value,” said James Kevin MacGorism, communications manager for the lead sponsor, international think tank Security & Defence Agenda (SDA).

Although participants are not anonymous, the online gated community of a jam has a certain freeing effect, Cleaver said, a statement borne out in Security Jam.

One think tank director weighed in with an opinion that the theme of one forum, “a comprehensive approach to security, was like good sex, in that we should be talking less and doing more,” MacGoris said.

Not surprisingly, that commented triggered a flurry of 40 replies.

But it could have triggered a whole blizzard of replies without affecting the global network connecting jam participants, Cleaver said. One of IBM’s own Innovation Jams brought together more than 150,000 people from 104 countries. Jams are run by the same team that runs the network for Wimbledon, on IBM’s “triple redundant” content delivery network based at three U.S. data centers.

To register for the event, go to

About the Author

Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.

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