Category Archives: San Isidro – Peru

Reflections on San Isidro

When traveling to a new place, you have all sorts of preconceived ideas – good or bad – about it.   For the six of us IBMers, coming to Peru was no different.  None of us had ever been here, and we did our fair share of research.  But there’s only so much you can find out from the pages of your web browser or Lonely Planet guide book.

We quickly began to learn about the area and our project through our many meetings with government officials, private companies, development banks, etc.  But we also interacted and engaged with many citizens in our daily travels and learned more about Peru and its people.

Our time went a little like this.  In week one, we conducted a series of interviews with the various stakeholders.  Week two, we finished up meetings and began to collect our findings and data.  Based on those, we brainstormed on recommendations.  Then, in week three, we developed our presentation and report.  We met regularly with the Mayor along the way to ensure we were on track for a successful final presentation.


The IBM team finalizing their work and enjoying some Inca Kola.

We concluded at a public event on Friday with media and city leaders; there was an interactive question and answer session that followed our presentation, and we believe it was well received by the public, the Mayor and his staff.

The three key messages were:

  1. Data as a platform.  A “data platform” is a building block of data sources that provides a current, reliable and secure source of information for decision makers and application developers to make better decisions and build relevant application solutions that support San Isidro’s priorities such as Sustainable Mobility.
  2. Interconnected, intermodal and integrated.  This crosses technology, infrastructure and modes of transport, as well as cross-organization interaction.
  3. Culture change. San Isidro must address culture change by building an awareness communications campaign that engages residents in the sustainable mobility movement.

Mayor Velarde along with Team IBM, including IBM Peru General Manager Alvaro Merino Reyna and our IBM Peru Host Sophie Perdriset.

While three weeks may seem like a long time, it really just allowed us to scratch the surface on understanding the challenges and opportunities facing our client.  We are hopeful that our recommendations provide San Isidro with validation of the progressive ideas they are promoting, while offering them new ideas that they can incorporate into their Sustainable Mobility strategy.

We learned a lot about  Lima and its challenges and opportunities, and we also sampled a few of its many treasures.  Here are a few highlights: Peruvian food is delicious and meals are to be enjoyed and used as time to build relationships – not rushed through; there is tremendous respect for Pachamama (Mother Earth); and finally, Peruvians are kind, helpful and appreciative. They boast an incredibly rich and diverse history.

We’ve all grown both personally and professionally through the experience, and made some lifelong friends along the way.   One team member summed it up well when he said, “In the first week, we were colleagues.  In the second week, we turned into friends.  In the third week, we became family.”  We accomplished great work like colleagues, we toured, dined and connected like friends, and we argued, made up and grew stronger like family.

From Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the United States,

Team San Isidro

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Our Last Week in San Isidro


Over the past week, we’ve been working hard to develop a plan that we hope will help the Muncipalidad de San Isidro with its sustainable mobility efforts.  We’ve also continued to experience the full range of local transportation modes.

There are a lot of factors we’ve considered as we finalized our set of recommendations – from the key findings that could impact execution to the time to value.  We’ll first share our work with the Mayor and his staff on Thursday, and then, on Friday (and likely after some tweaks), we have the opportunity to present our plan at a public meeting.
Being able to share the plan in a public way should prove to be especially rewarding to our team, as we built that plan based on the findings of our meetings with many stakeholders who will be in attendance.  


Last week, we also had the opportunity to meet with students and young professionals as part of a mentoring program that San Isidro runsWe shared our career stories and some personal lessons learned  and so did they  then, we had an engaged question and answer session.  It was an extremely rewarding experience for us to meet such an energetic group.


 Of course, in between all that hard work, we’ve been busy exploring Peruvian cuisine, culture and history.

Over the past weekend, we attended a cooking class at the Urban Kitchen, where we learned to make ceviche, causas, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, and, of course, the famous pisco sour.  Afterwards, we headed to the Inca Market to shop for our friends and loved ones who have supported our three-week journey away.

pachacamac-teamOn Sunday, we traveled about an hour out of town to the archaeological site Pachacamac, which was first occupied around 200 AD. There are a number huacas (or pyramids) on site, including the Temple of the Sun.  This Temple overlooks the Andes mountains from one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other; it’s dedicated to their sun god Inti.


Some of us also experienced the ‘Ciclovia,‘ which opens some of the main avenues in San Isidro and Miraflores for nonmotorized traffic only.

ciclodiaIt was a haven for cyclists, rollerbladers and walkers, with bicycles for hire and information booths related to activity and health.


To close out our final week, our days and nights will be filled with finalizing our presentation and report.  We will meet each day in our hotel conference room and review, discuss, update and refine – and on Friday, after we present to the public, we will celebrate our time and work together.


From Peru,

Team San Isidro


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Greetings from Peru

On Sunday, our team of six IBMers from around the world gathered together in San Isidro, Lima, Peru, on a Smarter Cities Challenge focused on sustainable mobility. We hail from Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland and the United States, and we boast a range of disciplines – from sales transformation to smarter cities to software engineering to legal to communications.

Urban transportation and the competition for space between people and vehicles is an issue across the world, and in San Isidro, the major financial district of Lima, it’s a growing concern.

San Isidro has an area of just over 11 km and to its west is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the municipality of Magdalena. To the east, it connects with the municipality of San Borja, to the south Miraflores and Surquillo, to the north Lince, La Victoria and Jesus Maria.

San Isidro skyline

San Isidro boasts many gardens, parks and an exclusive residential area, according to Lima Easy. “Next to modern office blocks occupied by the main businesses and financial institutions, you find exclusive shops, excellent restaurants, inviting bars, cafes and of course many hotels. Nevertheless San Isidro managed to combine this modernity and progress with its cultural and traditional past.”

As a result, it’s estimated that nearly one million people flow through the district every day. The Smarter Cities Challenge statement continues on to explain that this creates traffic problems that include: traffic congestion, cars parked in restricted areas, reduction of public spaces due to parking. Consequently, all of these issues generate, as collateral, risks to public health and safety such as air and noise pollution, reducing the quality of life for the district population.

Mayor Manuel Velarde Dellepiane has asked IBM to design a sustainable mobility strategy that will leverage ongoing investments in public transport and green public spaces to promote changes in cultural behavior within the district, as well as across neighboring districts.

The team began its three-week journey in Peru with a kick-off Monday morning at the city’s cultural center located in the historic Olive Grove Park with Mayor Dellepiane, who spoke about his municipality and his hopes for the project. In attendance was an audience of approximately 30, including a number of city officials.

Team San Isidro

Over the first few days, we met separately with the Mayor and his senior advisors including Urban Planning, Security, Technology and Sustainability, as well as leaders of cycling groups, development banks, and the Lima transportation department (or, Protransporte). We are now beginning to understand the municipality’s mind set around the opportunities and challenges associated with the project. The challenges associated with developing common solutions that meet the needs of multiple stakeholder groups are becoming more apparent.

We are also experiencing first hand the various methods of transportation including walking, buses and taxis, and we are using bicycles to get to our office at the Municipality of San Isidro. We look forward to sharing more about our findings and how we’re progressing over the next three weeks.

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