Reflections from SCC-BTV – Celebrating teaming and learning


Lutt, Len, Isabelle, Christian, Gaby, Robert
photo by Karen Pike,

We shared unforgettable experiences and learning, and made one of the best teams any one of us had ever been on.  THANK YOU, Smarter Cities Challenge – Burlington, for the opportunity!

As the assignment wrapped up, I polled the team to share more about our individual experience and the insights we were gaining from our time as a SCC-Burlington team.   Here is a fresh look at our reflections from April 2013… and I’d bet they all still hold true for us all.


Adding Value

  • There are many ways to make a meaningful contribution

Sharpening Skills

  • Communication skills: value and importance of being concise and to the point, for impact
  • Stakeholder Management: critical to gain buy-in, engage continuously and close the loop
  • Critical thinking: applied and increased ability for analytical thinking / system thinking
  • Industry knowledge: learned about smart grid and the Energy and Utilities industry, and what it means to deploy a full Smart Meter Infrastructure in reality, plus first hand view of a wood chip based energy production plant, and a geothermal installation
  • Public Sector client experience and learning about the complex structure a city has to deal with to manage funding and decide for projects


  • A real team is always “more that the sum of its parts” (Aristoteles)

    2013.04.18-19 019

    Farewell breakfast with our wonderful hosts and clients from the Office of the Mayor staff

  • Humor is not a secret ingredient for success 😉


  • great way to allow 6 IBMers from different countries and professional background to cooperate and focus on one complex topic with many elements entirely new to all team members
  • confirmation that IBM’s talent pool is really unique – our team was, from the first hour, ready to meet every challenge and was never down.
  • fantastic (awesome!) to see how this team of six (jet-setting) experts jumped into an unfamiliar subject and accomplished such a high quality level output, in a timely manner
  • experience in high-performance team creation, especially when facing an objective with a hard stop that requires the definition of roles and responsibilities to be fast and without the chance to take long discussions and negotiations
  • outstanding support from the SCC program and local IBM staff


Cultural Awareness

  • very interesting to get a deeper insight regarding the everyday life in the US (culture, expertise, businesses) – people there are much more relaxed and friendly

    Champlain Chocolate "Thank You"

    Champlain Chocolate
    Team “Thank You”

  • learning about American culture was also really good to invite re-thinking some of native country’s behavior
  • deep insights how the society and political system works in a US state

Personal Growth

  • mindful practice of letting go for the greater good
  • hard to not serve in core capacity (the “sales guy”), but it offered the chance to sharpen skills like listening, focusing on one subject and acting as an integrator
  • how to exercise patience, humility and perseverance to achieve an objective


  • meeting IBMers from all other the world, what rich personalities do IBM hire!

Fun Facts:

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Shelburne Espresso

  • there are various different “right” ways to make Mozarella
  • squirrels are of significant importance (inside joke)
  • if you search for it, you can find decent espresso in Burlington / Vermont
  • enjoying the beauty of the area, and lake Champlain, and the changing spring weather, which made each day so alive


  • unique and rich experience of being able to focus on one topic for 3 weeks
  • high positive visibility for IBM in Burlington and Vermont communities (launch event, local TV appearances:, press coverage)
  • extending IBM network, getting to know top IBM professionals outside my business unit
  • getting to know great people in Burlington, Vermont, and global IBM
  • participating in a challenging project where we could be the agents of changes to improve the quality of life in an entire city
  • experiencing in real life what “making a smarter planet” truly means

PASSING IT FORWARD (ways to apply program learning on the job)

  • referencing SCC experience and insights when working with Public and / or E&U Sector clients
  • sharing SCC learning experience with my team and colleagues
  • leveraging on new events where leadership and team building would be required
  • sharing the challenge of deploying a SG infrastructure as well as the transportation challenge with clients
  • helping my employees, colleagues and management to adapt key learning on our daily work:
    • act even more as ONE team
    • be focused on people
    • overcome business inhibitors through cadences & processes

For a longer stroll through MEMORY lane, check out a 7-min video we played before our presentation to share our experience:

#smartercities Challenge


1 Comment

Filed under Alumni reflections, Burlington VT, USA

One response to “Reflections from SCC-BTV – Celebrating teaming and learning

  1. Awesome!! Great time!