For a company the size if IBM, innovation is everything. Dell recognized the need to be more transparent in its product offerings, and IBM is following suit.
Thinkplace, ‘a web application for facilitating innovation through idea generation, collaboration, and refinement,’ appears to be on the right track. What Thinkplace does is provide a place for sharing, refining, and recognizing ideas. Any employee or member of the public can look around, post ideas, vote on them, and so on.
It is recommended to keep sensitive information to yourself though. There is no way of protecting a patent if it is out there in the open, although this can be challenged depending on your preparedness.
For more information, feel free to check out the alphaworks website.