Category Archives: Perth, Australia

How Does that Happen???

Perth at NightThe presentation is done…the report is in it’s final stages and ready for professional formatting and editing…and Smarter Cities Team Perth has dispersed and are all on their way home.  What an amazing experience!  The presentation to the Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi, the council members, and all the stakeholder organizations yesterday went really well.  Smarter Cities Team Perth provided 10 recommendations for the City that they were quite excited about and ready to start investigating for implementation right away.  It was an exciting day with a formal reception and about 60 attendees there to listen to our findings.  The presentation was followed up by presentation of some very cool gifts from the city to the team and lots and lots of pictures!  We spent a little time with our IBM colleagues at the local Perth office and then it was off to a celebration dinner at the Gordon Street Garage.  We had a blast and reminisced over our 3 week adventure and how our different “profiles” meshed and came together for such a great final product.

Council House at NightGifts from the City of Perth

So how DOES that happen?  How can 6 strangers come from all parts of the world and cultures…from different organizations within IBM and different job roles and with different methodologies, approaches and ways of thinking…and end up putting together something cohesive and so valuable.    It’s a miracle to me.   We experienced a microcosm of what we asked our hosts to do in Perth..and I can tell you first hand…it worked!

I also want to know how it happens that 3 weeks can at times seem like an eternity while at others seem like a blink of an eye.  There were points when we were all homesick and ready to see our families.  When the going was tough and we were going through the growing pains of understanding how each of the others thought processes worked, I really longed for home and my everyday job where I had more control of the situation.  I thought we would NEVER get done with that deck and report!!!  Looking back, however, it now seems like it was just yesterday when we got together for our first meeting to discuss our different profiles and have our first meal together.  As I was dragging my suitcase out to the reception area this morning to be picked up for the airport, I clearly remember dragging it up those same stairs what seems like just a few days ago (albeit there was one suitcase less since I bought so many souvenirs!  Ugg boots take up lots of room!)

So for all the blog readers out there, know that the challenge was a great success and that we had an amazing time.  We are all on our way home if we haven’t already gotten there.  We produced a quality deliverable for Perth and wish them the utmost success in moving toward their vision… we made some fantastic memories and friends along the way. Kangaroos

A special note for my fellow IBM SCC Perth team members…Jeff, Luciano, Li Jun, Ian, and Liz….Only you will be able to figure all these out and I’m sure it will make a lot of folks wonder about us even more than they already do 🙂  How does it happen that a person can grow so close to 5 others is such a short time and make so many memories??? I’ll miss you my friends.  These are for you….

I remember ,,,,  (in no particular order)

The Waga-Waga Wagon                       Jacobs Ladder            Walks and Coffee in Kings Park

Stories about getting “mugg-ed-a” on the train            Mounts Bay Apartments

Liz’s “mum-mode” and the giant handbag that could hold ANYTHING

Margaret River Wines (lots of it)            “Wi-Fi is free”         Scenic Routes

The absolutely critical nature of a 90 minute workout, 30 minute walks, vegetables, and “good coffee”

“Lord” Jeff                      Elizabeth Quay, Riverside, and Perth Link

Little Creatures              Petting, Feeding…and (eeeww) Eating the Kangaroos

Muttley                  “A Slab”         Council House (and the multi-colored lights)

Almost getting run over by a bus           It’s all about….              “Move the cones”

“Everybody Out!”     Can we stop for coffee (again)    Dillon and lunches in our conference room

“What do you mean Camile already picked up the laundry and it won’t be back until Thursday?!!!”

The espresso machine!            Wireless hub that had to go everywhere with us

“I’m a frowner”           Whistler’s Chocolate Store                Ugg Boots

“Henry” and the Ghost Radar (and the frightened waiter :-D)

360 degree views from the revolving restaurant

Martin, “the other” Liz, the Lord Mayor, Sue Khim, and all the other nice people at the city!

“In my humble opinion…”                     Recharging the wireless hubs

Vegemite, toast, and butter              Perfect lighting and “the killer shot”

AFL Football            Rain, more rain, and plastic ponchos         Cadbury chocolate

Three layers of Government                    “I’m a little OCD”          Dan Murphey’s and Woolworths

Fantastic restaurants             The Lord Mayor’s “Bling”                Capparina’s

Tiny washers and dryers           The train                          The “Writing Assignment”

The “Big Brother House”                 Elder St. Car Park             Landgate and SLIP

Birds that sound like “dying cats”           Camille and “paydays”            “It’s very simple”

Burning up in the living room and freezing in the bedroom                  Our “Profiles’

Giant 20 cent pieces and tiny little $2 coins               Parking (or lack of it)

Construction and cranes               Hillary Marina                       “Bus Bunching”

Giant pieces of meat and appreciate for a great meal             “Meet at reception (or Waga Waga)”

Bottoms-up vs Top-Down             Young knees sit in the back…old beat up ones get the front seat

Noisy heating units that keep you awake            The Fishbone          The Bell Tower

“It was ONLY one glass”     Yoga                    Meditation (and “The Rules” for meditation :-D)

Cadastre and Tenure       “Do NOT change the time we leave 30 min before we leave!”

Keep Left               Marshmallows with the Mochas         The “Librarian Look”

Rainbows and dolphins at the kickoff reception …..  and fog to sunshine at the final presentation

The drawing behind the picture in the teamroom (Cat with an eyepatch, rum and a big mac on a bridge over the mass of humanity…weird!)

Spacecubed                             “Sensational”                              “Good on You”

Freemantle               “Period…Done!”                     “Maaaate!”             “I have read….
The “DR” thing             “….swim with pigs”                 “Does it have enough juice?”

Spit the Dummy Award          “That’s a mirror”             The “dolphin” story            Minimal tipping

Love of Old Cars and Fast Cars                  Oysters                 WIRRBBTRarara

N-A-T-I-O-N-A-L and S-T-A-T-E              Jokes that don’t quite “translate”        Tony

More, Bananas, More Bananas, More Bananas…ok..Enough Bananas

Car driving on the sidewalk                  2 more “sleeps”                “Peace, Brother”

Yada Yada Yada, Blah Blah Blah…what he said

Liza (the statue of the woman in the river with a new outfit every day)    The blue house

I’m sure I missed some, but hope this made you smile.  Thanks for a great ride, my friends!!!

The Blue House

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Good Heavens! What a Mess the Team Room is in…But the Report and Presentation are Coming Together!

Hard at Work in the Teamroom Team Room1

Gosh what a ride this is for IBM SCC Team Perth!  As you can see by the photos, our team room apartment is a MESS!  The living room (and part of the hallway) are plastered with pages of notes and creative musings about slide ideas and report structures.  We have both sides of the whiteboard scribbled completely full of our random thoughts and there are sticky notes  everywhere.  As we finished each interview, we recorded our top three “findings” from each discussion and those are all on the wall so we don’t forget any pertinent information.  Our infamous “fishbone” dominates one wall with all our key findings and directions.  The table is full of presentations, papers and strategic planning documents from the city and state…not to mention random bits of food…fruit, chips, popcorn, glasses and coffee cups!  We have been hard at work.  We checkpoint a few times a day to be sure we are all on the same track and then we disappear to our respective apartments and rooms to have quiet time to write and create our drafts of our presentation slides.  We’ve also ventured out for some follow-up interviews with a few of our stakeholders.

Jacob's LadderWe do take occasional breaks just to stay fresh and creative.  Ian and Li Jun are very serious about their fitness routine and will occasionally escape the confines of the apartment to work out.  Liz and I are not quite as serious but we do climb Jacob’s Ladder once in awhile to get to the cafe in Kings Park and grab a cup of coffee and some sunshine.  Luciano and Jeff are sometimes out searching for “just the right light”  and they have come up with some killer photos.  We will get to use our team’s photos for the report instead of any stock photos of the city!  Very cool!


The team had a wonderful opportunity for a community service activity on Thursday to have breakfast and meet with the entrepreneurs at Spacecubed.  We discussed some of their innovative ideas and had some small group time for mentoring and questions.  It was great fun and we loved talking with the attendees and sharing their energy and passion.

Rotating RestaurantAnother great outing that we had was with our City of Perth hosts, Martin Mileham and Liz Handley, who took us to an outstanding lunch at a revolving restaurant high above the Perth Central Business District.  The food was fantastic and the views were phenomenal.  We got to “revisit” a lot of the sites we have seen in Perth from a completely different perspective and had a great time!  Thanks again Martin and Liz!

Took a couple of quick outings this weekend to have a great dinner last night and a fun lunch today in Fremantle.  I can now say I’ve “tasted Australia” …in addition to Vegemite on my toast one morning, I have now both petted and ate kangaroo…I have to say it tasted quite good but I couldn’t get that cute little furry face at the park out of my head!  Jeff tried to soothe my guilt by telling me that particular kangaroo was probably roadkill, so not to feel so bad…That really helped!  NOT!

We’ll do our first consolidated read on the report and presentation tomorrow and we have a few more interviews and checkpoints leading up to our presentation to the City and their stakeholders on Friday.  It’s heads down for awhile longer but we expect to have a really quality product to deliver and are very proud of what we have put together so far!


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Interviews and More Interviews – Data Overload Alert!

Team at Work 2 h

SCC Team Perth completed our scheduled interviews today and WOW are we relieved!  We held 24 stakeholder interviews in the past 6 business days and spoke with more than 60 people during the process.  We have gathered an incredible amount of information and taken down over 100 pages of notes.  Our heads are spinning from all the data!!!  It’s been a struggle,  but we have resisted extensive discussions regarding any of our formal recommendations that are floating around in our heads until we finish all the interviews to avoid jumping to any conclusions before we talk to all the parties involved.   We are really anxious to start those discussions tomorrow.   The team checkpointed with our City of Perth sponsors this morning and they think we are on the right track.   Yeah!

We did expand our view of Perth beyond our apartments and the Council House a bit over the weekend.  We took a great tour around the city of Perth and Freemantle and experienced some great historical sites and saw some lovely neighborhoods, parks and cityscapes.  After we returned, we decided to take the Waga Waga wagon and go up north a little further to visit the Indian Ocean and Hillary’s Port. It was a lovely drive and Luciano, our great team photographer, got some gorgeous shots!  The light was perfect!

Indian OceanHillary's Port

On Sunday, we attacked my bucket list and went to Caversham Wildlife Park…and we got to pet and feed the kangaroos (my life is complete!!) We also interacted with koala’s and wombats and saw about every native Australian animal you can think of…it was a wondrous place.  After a quick coffee, we headed off to a couple of local wineries to taste their wares and had a really beautiful lunch at Sittella.  We topped it off with a visit to the Whistler’s chocolate store (Yum!)

Sooty Owl Deb and the Kangaroos q

It wasn’t completely fun and games on Sunday, however.  We spent some time during our drives working on our “fishbone” diagram and we got those up on the wall Monday morning so we could start looking at them and coordinating our recommendations…we are making a lot of progress and looking forward to really seeing our ideas gel into formal recommendations.   Down to business on our report tomorrow!

Jeff and the Fishbone

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SCC Team Perth is Off on Our Australian Adventure

Smarter Cities Perth

Five traveler’s from around the world have settled in and successfully completed our first week in Perth on our Smarter Cities Challenge assignment. We met with the Lord Mayor, Lisa Scaffidi, on Day 1 and it has been a whirlwind of activity ever since. I (Deb Bolk) arrived from Colorado USA on Saturday and my teammates, Li Jun Sun from Beijing China, Ian Watson-Jones from San Francisco, USA, Luciano Dallolio from Sao Paulo Brazil, and Jeff Wells from Melbourne, Australia followed close behind on Sunday.



Our IBM in country host, Liz Hampton from New Zealand was here to meet us with open arms and she and Camile Smetana have looked after our every need to help get us settled in and started on our work. The team at the City of Perth headed by Martin Mileham and Liz Handley have been outstanding and so helpful. They even brought in a new espresso coffee machine for us and Dillon has taken care of every detail to provide us with our every want and desire when it comes to lunches and snacks. We are being thoroughly spoiled!

We attended a lovely Kickoff Reception and tea hosted by the Lord Mayor on Tuesday and were introduced to the stakeholders and the press.

Launch Photo with Lord Mayor - Perth SCC

The team has been heads-down in interviews at The City of Perth’s Council House since then and has already gathered some great information on the city and some of the issues we need to address in our recommendations. We also took a tour of some major development sites at Elizabeth Quay, Riverside, and the Perth Link. In the evenings, we have experienced some really excellent restaurants. Jeff has taken us on the “scenic route” several times so we’ve gotten a few great mini-tours of the city. Several of us have made the climb up Jacob’s Ladder, which is right behind our apartments. The 242 steps take you up to Kings Park which is just beautiful and the sunrise over the City of Perth is just breathtaking.

Sunrise Perth Australia


To celebrate our first successful week, we loaded up in our big white van, which we have affectionately named the Waga Waga Wagon, and headed out for the train station right after work. We attended an Australian League Football (AFL) game and although we all got completely drenched through by a huge winter rainstorm, we still had a fantastic time. It was the first AFL game for many of us, so we kept Jeff very busy explaining all the rules when he wasn’t searching for rain ponchos for all of us. The Aussie’s are very serious about their football and it was fascinating to experience the fast-paced game, even if the home town West Coast Eagles were soundly defeated by their rivals the Richmond Tigers from Melbourne. It was a blast!

At the AFL Game

Tomorrow holds a chance for us to do some more exploring! It will be great to take a short break from the interviews and see some of the sights around the area! The Lord Mayor promised me at the receptions that I would get to see a kangaroo during my visit, so I’m really counting on getting a chance to pet one and maybe cuddle a koala!!


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