Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.
Continuing the work of the motion picture Hidden Figures, IBM set out to uncover and further celebrate diverse role models in STEM fields, because when it comes to inspiring change, seeing is believing. As Oprah has said, “I was always looking for anybody that looked like me.”
We took 10 hidden figures out of the depths of history and into the spotlight with AR statues placed in 150 geo-fenced locations across the US. This virtual experience made little-known, diverse role models visible to the next generation of STEM hopefuls.
Over its 106-year history, IBM has been unafraid to raise its voice on civil rights issues. It was decades ahead of its peers in hiring female and African American employees, on commitment to equal pay, in protest against racial segregation, and in support of the LGBTQ community.
Presented with the opportunity to sponsor the movie Hidden Figures, IBM chose not to focus on its product which was featured in the plot, but to continue the movie’s important work of uncovering and celebrating diverse role models in order to inspire the next generation of STEM stars.
IBM could have used the Hidden Figures movie collaboration to draw attention to a product—its mainframe computer. But instead, we demonstrated that taking a stance and having a voice on a key industry issue can impact brand favorability, engagement, and leadership—and most importantly, inspire much-needed cultural change.
It was incredibly rewarding to uncover such outstanding pioneers who had made incredible contributions to STEM, but had remained underrepresented in history books.
To name a few, Bessie Blount Griffin invented a device that delivered liquefied food to injured World War II veterans and handicapped patients. Irmgard Flügge-Lotz developed the method for calculating spanwise distribution of a wing's lifting force. And Charles Drew created the first large-scale blood bank in the US and trained an entire generation of black surgeons as a way to combat the racism he had experienced in his career.
We were so excited for our hidden figures to be celebrated as they had always deserved to be.
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About the Augmented Reality category
Work that merges the real-world environment with digital imagery and interfaces, using filters, QR codes, lenses, and/or other technologies.