Looks like I have started following all things LA

Following up on the BBC POP UP…. they have been writing more about Louisiana in their travel across the US series.

Read  this very sad story about how islands are disappearing due to natural erosion…..


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Go dté tú slán

Guinness Tasting... Done!

So all is done and dusted for us in the Dublin SCC team.  Most of the team have headed off, and the rest of us will have departed this fine city by the end of the day.  I’ll miss it, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my family.

Our presentation is delivered, and that was a great (if slightly nervous) experience, and our final report is submitted, ready for the editing team to correct all of our spelling mistakes and tortured English.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing the final product.

It has been a very immersive experience.  We were advised to leave our day jobs behind as much as our day jobs would allow us to, and looking back I can see why.  For three weeks we have all been living and breathing Dublin, and Solar.  The team has come from a number of different countries and cultures, and we all have different backgrounds, within IBM and HSBC.  The result has been a very dynamic and fulfilling experience; it’s not been without its moments of lively discussion, but I can honestly say that I have found every member of the team a delight to work and spend time with.  It’s been a group of people who have engaged, entertained, challenged and amused me.  I could say the same about the members of Dublin City Council and those others we have worked with, and of course Deirdre and the local team who have made it all work pretty much like clockwork.  Thank you!

My only concern is that maybe we should have tidied the team room a bit more when we left….

Francis Bacon's studio at the Hugh Lane Gallery

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Fare-thee-well until we meet again Down by the Liffey water..


Thanks to everyone for these amazing 3 weeks – I shall cherish my memories in Dublin forever.

Thanks to my colleagues Ana, David, Deirdre, Javier, Lindsey, and Sachin, Mark and team from city council, Codema, and all the stakeholders who took the time to share their knowledge with us – I’ve learnt a lot from all of you.

I hope our recommendations to the council will bring benefits to Dublin city and its residents. I wish the city of Dublin and its residents all the best.

So farewell Dublin, Till I return to see you again..

[title from an Irish song by Brian Warfield]

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Bye…Bye…Ballarat, It certainly has been an experience of a lifetime.

Yesterday, was our final presentation to the City of Ballarat Council, Officers and City leaders. I think our findings and presentation was received well, and feedback was good. While we present our findings and recommendation, there is much work to be done, and I see this as a new beginning. As we bid farewell to a city that has been our home for past three weeks, we take a part of Ballarat with us to our homes. City of Ballarat welcomed us with open arms, gave our team full support and access to its best minds, subject matters experts and facilities. Our final presentation concluded with a photo shoot opportunity with city leaders, historic landmarks, deep discussions on our findings and future of waste management in Ballarat. Our team, which I think is one of the most talented set of individuals and best of IBM, worked tirelessly to put our best into this Smarter cities Challenge – Ballarat. While we all are excited to head back home to our families, and regular routine, we have a lot of memories and souvenirs from this great city. We are going back for now, but we are only a   click and e-mail away. I intend to keep tabs on the progress on our work effort and on new friends we have made during our stay. I would also like to take this opportunity to thanks the Council, residents and Officers of the City of Ballarat for their hospitality and opportunity to work on this important issue.

LizCrothers_6992 LizCrothers_6996 LizCrothers_7048 LizCrothers_7110

I wish all the best to the City of Ballarat and it’s residents.



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Survivor : SCC Ballarat

Today marks the last day of our smarter cities challenge in Ballarat.  At our first briefing back in March, we were told that a smarter cities challenge half work project / half reality TV show.

Thankfully there have been no cameras in our workrooms, but there is very much the parallel of being placed in a new challenging environment with a group of strangers and having to work together to achieve the goal.  Just as in reality tv shows, this is when the magic happens.

It has been an amazing opportunity working with my IBM colleagues on this project.  We walked in, eager to help and learn – and slowly we understood the challenge we were facing.  Anaerobic digestion, leachate,  kW/hour, bio-solid digestion, calorific value ???    This was going to a VERY fast learning curve.

This is when the diversity in the team and the skills we all brought came in handy.  Our more technical colleagues rapidly become something close to subject matter experts in all things waste.  Those less technical, myself included, tackled the equally important issues of people & process – and slowly things began to drop into place.   We were blessed with great team dynamics, the trust to have open debates and active discussions and no one was above doing the coffee run or taking minutes of the meetings.    No need for tribal council …. no need to vote anyone off!

We were extra blessed with the support of our IBM Citizenship Manager who was such a valuable member of our team.  In addition to her day job, her ability to engage with a wide cross section of the public provided us with diverse perspectives on waste across the city.   We can’t forget to mention our “angel” Jen from ABV who helped manage our logistics, delivered lunch each day and made coming back to our workroom a happy surprise each night with snacks, and the australian humour tacked to the fridge.

No perspective of teaming would be complete without recognition of our wonderful team at the Ballarat City Council – Ange, Leon, Sean, Lauren and Anthony….  they have been a wonderful collaborators, advisers and partners.

At our grand finale presentation today – it occurred to me how lucky I have been to have had the opportunity to have this amazing experience, acquire a deep body of knowledge around waste management and meet and work with an amazing team!


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Thanks to Everyone… and Goodbye for Now


Well – it’s that time, we’re finally getting ready to put a wrap on the Smarter Cities Challenge in Ballarat. We had our final presentation with Council this morning, and all in all I think it went very well. Even after all our work, it was a bit intimidating to present in front of all of the experts who we interviewed in the first place. The feedback from Council and all of the stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe we did learn something after all :).

Joking aside – it has been pretty amazing to see the volume of work produced and knowledge that can be accumulated when 5 people are locked in a hotel for 3 weeks and asked to tackle a particularly difficult problem. Lots of coffee, snacks, and wine later we’ve come out on the other side, and it’s a bit sad now to think that the experience is almost over. We’re off to dinner tonight, and then hop on our various airplanes to go back to our day jobs. Challenging as this was, the past few weeks have been a truly amazing experience, and I think we’re all better off for having gone through it.

Thank you to Mayor Philips (who we discovered today actually reads this blog), Ballarat CEO Anthony Schinck, and all of the Council members and city officers for their help and support throughout the engagement. I can’t think of a better client to work with, and I do hope that we are able to provide them some solid direction and recommendations that they can build on. Thanks too to all of team Ballarat: Nitin, Ravi, Josh, Kylie, and Miranda – it’s been truly a pleasure and an honor to work with each of you. And finally a thank you to the community of Ballarat. We have experienced exceptional hospitality and welcome (even when mangling coffee orders) everywhere we went. You have a truly lovely city that we will all remember for a long time!



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Lights, camera, action in Dublin!

After three weeks of intense interviews, site visits and data analysis, we delivered our final presentation to Dublin City Council and members of the community at a big closing event today. We’ve recommended that Dublin move forward with implementing solar PV on key municipal /government buildings – the technology is there, it will help them achieve their energy renewable goals, the numbers look right financially, the leadership is in place and much of the expertise required for a successful solar implementation already exists in this community.

lights camera   closing event

Before I pack my suitcase and get ready to return to Austin, I want to thank Dublin (and especially the folks at Dublin City Council ) for such an amazing three weeks. You gave us incredible access to the city and we hope our report will make a positive impact on the community.

My SCC colleagues Ana, Dave, Deirdre, Javier, Sachin and Vijay are incredibly talented — I learned a ton from them on this journey plus we had some fun along the way. It has been an honor to be a part of this program.

river final days

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