The Extreme Blue Experience
The Extreme Blue program is IBM's way of capturing interns before they are attracted to startups and showing them that working for IBM could be just as cool as a dot-com. Their basic process is to bring together a bunch of what they call "top talent" and allow them to innovate on an end-to-end solution over the summer.
The innovation part, for me at least, came in the lack of technical requirements. I was allowed to utilize whatever technologies I saw fit, and so I did. The mentors also understood very much that this was our chance to develop an innovative solution, and they provided an excellent venue to do just that. We were given guidance if we started to drift off track, but otherwise they were mainly available for questions and constructive criticisms.
One of my favorite things about the mentors during Extreme Blue was that they maintained an attitude of "anything is possible". Whenever the intern team would make a suggestion, the mentors would help us realize how it could be implemented. They would never doubt that something could be done, it was just a matter of what we had time for, and where our priorities lied.
Additionally, a more well known aspect of Extreme Blue is the opportunities to present to and speak with well-known executives within IBM. We got the chance to pitch our project to many executives from the Austin campus as well as from other US locations, including CEO Sam Palmisano.
I would recommend Extreme Blue to anyone who has the opportunity to take part. It has certainly changed my view of IBM for the better, and gave me the opportunity to learn how to succeed at IBM, principles that I'm sure will translate elsewhere in my life.