Week 1: A look back

If you are not aware, an IBM Smarter City Challenge is a 3 week philanthropic consulting engagement  where 7  senior level IBMers are assigned to a city whose submission has been selected by a team at IBM. The team is hand picked, based upon the problem statement, from a world wide pool of IBMers who have volunteered for duty.

In the three weeks prior to our arrival, our team met a few times via teleconference and reviewed the copious amounts  of background material provided by the City of Waterloo and IBM.

Last Sunday,  our team arrived at a conference hotel located in Waterloo,  and spent about 6 hours getting to know each other and the logistics of the engagement. Our task, provide to the City of Waterloo a set of actionable recommendations that will enable them to realize  their vision for  the neighborhood that is adjacent to the campuses of the University of Waterloo, and of Wilfrid Laurier University. 

The structure of a Smarter is 3 phases, week 1 is requirements and data gathering, week 2 is synthesis of those into a set of recommendations to the city, week 3 is reviewing those recommendations and creating both a brief oral report, and a formal written report.

Day 1’s activities include the kick off press conference and a site visit to the Northdale area of the City of Waterloo.

Project kick off press conference.

Project kick off press conference.

Our guided walking tour of the neighborhood of Northdale.

Our guided walking tour of the neighborhood of Northdale.

Days 2-5 were filled with interviews of all the stakeholders, each day starting at 7am , and running till 7 – 7:30 PM when the team broke for dinner at several of the excellent Uptown restaurants. The interviews are held in a private office suite located in City Hall, greatly simplifying the logistics.

Our status meeting with the Mayor.

Week 1 highlight – the Mayor dedicated time out of her busy schedule to meet with the IBM team at the end of Day 4.


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