Why should I participate? How will this help me grow my business?

The cognitive solutions market represents a tremendous growth opportunity for Business Partners who provide solutions with cognitive capabilities. According to IDC, by 2020 global cognitive/AI spending will reach $47 billion. This spend will come from many industries, of which the top 3 are Banking (19%), Retail (18%) and Healthcare (11%).

What if I don’t want to participate in the Watson Build, but I want to develop on Watson APIs and IBM Cloud? Where do I get help?

There are many resources available to you. You will find many of them in the IBM Business Partner Roadmap for Cognitive Business on PartnerWorld.
(PartnerWorld registration is required.)

You may also visit http://www.ibm.com/watson/ to explore Watson products and APIs, and to start building with Watson.

What are the key steps in the Watson Build?

To participate:

  1. Check out the challenge overview and access key resources on this site.
  2. Take advantage of available education, particularly by attending a workshop or viewing the videos of the workshop conducted at PWLC.
  3. Register for the challenge on this site.
  4. Submit your idea and business plan for the Imagine it phase.
  5. Winners of Imagine it will build and submit a working prototype for judging in the Build it phase.
  6. Winners of the Build it phase will pitch their business plan and solution in front of a panel of judges.

What is IBM Design Thinking?

At IBM, we define design as the intent behind an outcome. We use design thinking to form intent by developing understanding and empathy for our users. IBM Design Thinking is our approach to applying design thinking at the speed and scale the modern enterprise demands. It’s a framework for teaming and action. It helps our teams not only form intent, but deliver outcomes—outcomes that advance the state of the art and improve the lives of the people they serve.

Once I submit a business plan, will IBM provide resources to help me build out a prototype? What phase of the Watson Build will I gain access to these resources?

IBM will provide access to the development platforms you need to build a prototype in the Build It phase. You will have access to a 30-day free trial from DeveloperWorks as well as a 90-day free trial to Watson APIs and BlueMix.

If I don't participate in the Watson Build, is there still a place I can sell my app via IBM?

If you build a solution outside of the Watson Build challenge, you can still market through the IBM Bluemix catalog and IBM Marketplace.

How will participating impact my standing with IBM?

Participation provides you with an opportunity to work with subject matter experts across IBM, develop a deeper understanding of IBM design principles, the Watson and Cloud portfolio as well as the IBM Marketplace. There are no negative implications to Business Partners’ standing with IBM in choosing to participate or choosing not to participate.

Will IBM pay my travel expenses for the pitch sessions and to the 2018 event?

All competitors will have travel expenses paid for should they advance to Compete to Win phase.

Who are the judges?

There are two sets of judging. In the Imagine it phase, judging will be conducted at the IBM Geography level. The panel of five judges will include = IBM SMEs, IBM leadership, IBM clients, and industry experts. In the Build It phase the winners will move onto a global competition. The seven judges in this phase will be compromised of Global IBM leadership, IBM clients, press and industry experts.


Who can submit a project?

All IBM Business Partners who are members of the IBM PartnerWorld Program—Registered, Gold, Silver or Platinum—are eligible to submit a solution for this challenge. Business Partners who are not members of PartnerWorld can easily join. Start here.

IBM reserves the right to decline any submission from any Business Partner who is not in good standing with their IBM PartnerWorld or IBM Business Partner agreements.

Are there any size or revenue requirements to participate?

No, there are not. We encourage Business Partners with all business models and maturity levels to participate as this challenge provides every firm with the opportunity to tap into resources and expertise to support your own efforts to enhance your portfolio with cognitive solutions.

Can I participate without joining PartnerWorld?

Membership in PartnerWorld is required for participation. Joining is easy.

How much does PartnerWorld membership cost?

There is no charge to join or participate in PartnerWorld, and the benefits you can access are extremely valuable, especially as you deepen your connection with IBM and move to higher levels in PartnerWorld.

I submitted a solution for the Beacon Awards but did not win. Can I submit the same solution for this challenge?

Yes, you may submit a solution that was nominated for a Beacon Award but did not win. However, the entry requirements for the Watson Build differ from those for the Beacon Awards, so please make sure to address the requirements of the Watson Build when you register for and participate in the challenge.

Do I have to travel to participate in this challenge?

The Build It phase is judged at the IBM Geography level. Each Geography team will have the option to host a Geography Awards event which winners and finalist will have the option to attend. There is only one time in which travel will be mandatory – the presentation of your prototype to the global judging panel should you advance to the Compete phase.


What’s covered in a workshop? How long does it take?

Workshops are 3 to 4 hours in length, are interactive and cover topics including:

  • Why cognitive
  • What you need to know about the Watson Build
  • IBM Design Thinking
  • Building a working prototype

Will there be local workshops?

Yes, there are a number of local workshops. To find the workshop closest to you, please review the calendar page.

Who should I send to a Watson Build Challenge workshop? Can I send multiple people?

Anyone on your team who will play a role in defining and building the solution and successfully taking it to market would benefit from attending the workshop. Yes, you may send multiple people to the workshop. Space will be limited so be sure to register early to confirm availability.

Can anyone attend a workshop or do I need to be invited by IBM?

In General, anyone can attend a workshop listed here on the Watson Build website, however, in some geographies space may be limited. Check with your local IBM team on availability.

How much does it cost to attend a workshop?

Workshops are free of charge to all registered participants in the Watson Build.


Can I apply at any time?

We will accept registrations and challenge submissions through Build It phase. We encourage you to register early so that you can take advantage of additional content that we will make available to registered participants.

How many solutions can I submit?

There is no limit to the number of solutions you can submit.

Can I use my own business plan?

There is a business plan template that you will need to complete. If you wish to provide additional information that is included in a separate business plan, you will be able to include it as an attachment.

What type of solution can I submit?

Your business case must be for a cognitive solution, must use Watson Developer Cloud APIs and must focus on industry or domain-specific solutions. Your solution should have relevance to customers and measurable market value, solving real customer problems.

Who will see my submission?

There will be limited access to your submission, with a controlled access list managed by the Watson Build team. Access will be limited to the local and global judging panel and the Watson Build team.

Will IBM have any right to my ideas or plans for derivative works as a result of my participation in this challenge?

No, you retain all rights and ownership to the ideas and derivative works your organization creates while participating in this challenge.

IBM reserves the right to decline any submission from any Business Partner who is not in good standing with their IBM PartnerWorld or IBM Business Partner agreements.

What will IBM share about my participation with the press, analyst, or channel community?

IBM will share a list of participating Business Partners and the abstract/titles you provide for sharing. No details of your solution will be shared without your consent

Can I retrieve my submission and cancel my participation at any time?

Yes, you can cancel your participation and request your submission returned or deleted at any time by sending an email to bpbuild@us.ibm.com


Where should I start, and where can I find more resources?

The challenge overview is a good place to start, and we encourage you to review the featured solutions for examples of cognitive solutions built using Watson APIs.

Where can I find a detailed description of the Watson APIs?

You can find information about available Watson Services here.

I can’t attend a workshop, but want to take advantage of the training. What’s available to me?

Take advantage of the resources listed on the Resources Tab of the Watson Build website. You can also watch video replays of our workshops here.

For the Business Partners who do not make it to the Build It phase, will IBM provide free access to the development platforms to continue building out their prototype or is this just for those who move on to the prototyping phase?

Business Partners who do not make it to Build It phase will have access to the DeveloperWorks 30-day free trial, but will not be given further free access by IBM. Business Partners who are not selected to progress to the Build it phase are still encouraged to keep working on their idea and investigate the offerings.


Where and when is the Watson Build Global Championship Event?

The event is November 2, 2017 at the Metropolitan West in New York City, NY.

If I'm a finalist, when should I arrive in New York?

All Business Partner finalists should arrive on October 31.

I am not a finalist, but I would like to attend the event, am I able to do so?

The Watson Build Global Competition is an invitation only event. If you have been extended an invitation, please revert to your email invitation for details.

If I'm a finalist, what part of my travel will IBM pay for?

IBM will provide the eight (8) Business Partner firms chosen as finalists with coach airfare and up to a maximum of three (3) night’s hotel accommodations for two Business Partner representatives for the duration of Round 3. Business Partners will be responsible for any other incurred expenses to attend Round 3. All finalists must confirm that that such participation and accepting hotel accommodations, meals, and/or other benefits from the event will not violate any local laws, rules and regulations or the internal rules and regulations of your company.