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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