The preparation had put us in good shape to start our meetings with the local stakeholders in Khon Kaen. Monday was a packed day with three major sessions with large groups of leading figures from the city and the province, all expertly scheduled by our local colleague Khun Apapan.
We began the day with a meeting with the provincial Governor, Somsak Suwannasutchari, and around 30 people from his leadership team, from the university and from other areas of the community, including the traffic police, town planning, transport and the chamber of commerce. This gave us a view of the areas of consensus with regards to Transport and of the areas of differing priority across the stakeholder groups. We left the meeting understanding why this initiative is called a Challenge.
Next was a session with the Mayor of Khon Kaen, Teerasak Teekayuphan, and his leadership team. The Mayor was well informed about the issues relating to transport and public safety and engaged in the discussion with the IBM team made up of the SCC participants and their IBM Thailand colleagues. This helped clarify elements of the Smarter Transport engagement but also gave the IBM team the challenge of clearly defining both the scope and the requirements of the various stakeholders.
The day ended with meetings at Khon Kaen University, one of the top education establishments in the country. The Vice Presidents, Professors and other senior staff were charming and made us very welcome. These meetings were about the other element of our assignment and focused on the development at the University of a Smarter Analytics Research Centre. Dr Greg was in his element and was able to use his experience to understand their requirements and outline potential paths, complemented by Hance’s knowledge of how to develop and manage Intellectual Property. With several follow-on meetings scheduled the IBM team and the University are energised at the prospect of working together to plan something of lasting value to the University, to students and ultimately to the country through the development of high-level skills.
The SCC team returned to the hotel to an evening focused on collating our notes and understandings from the meetings and reviewing our future schedule to ensure we make the most efficient use of the time available.