Category Archives: San Jose – USA

Design Thinking Workshop week

Last week on the project was Design Thinking week for us.

We hosted two Design Thinking workshops:

One workshop was held with City of San Jose stakeholders, landlords, Housing Providers, Property Managers and Tenant Advocates. We spent the day working through design thinking concepts, personas and brainstorming ideas for ways to engage on the sharing of data and information to support the City of San Jose with the Housing Affordability issues currently occurring in the city.

The second workshop was held with Charity Housing Providers, Tenant Advocates and Property Managers specifically brainstorming ideas related to the challenges in education, communications and applications related to Low Income Housing properties (Affordable housing).

The experience for these workshops was emotional and very different to running a design thinking workshop with a Corporate client. I found this experience to be both confronting and rewarding and I want to thank the IBM team for being such amazing facilitators and being able to pivot quickly when we needed to change our agenda at short-notice.

The ideas that were generated could help with the education of, search and application for, as well as the property experiences of all tenants and housing providers in the City of San Jose. These ideas will be incorporated into our final report, recommendations and roadmap for the City of San Jose – which will be presented to the City and Stakeholders on the 17th November.

As we enter into the final Sunday night of the trip, I am looking forward to not only this final week of work,  but also to experiencing Christmas preparation here, such as the Christmas tree lighting ceremony outside our hotel this week!



Comments Off on Design Thinking Workshop week

Filed under San Jose - USA

SCC San Jose – Background (and Day 1 & 2)

Yesterday we launched our Project for Smarter Cities Challenge in San Jose, holding a kick-off presentation with Mayor Liccardo, the City of San Jose staff and stakeholders, as well as IBM’s State Executive for California, Laura Guio.

A quick background on Team San Jose and why we are here……

The team members from all over the world in IBM are: 
Princess M Ascalon
Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive
Manilla, Philippines

Kevin Aven
Partner, Co-Account Lead Army & USMC
Indianapolis, IN USA

Ronnie Chan
Melbourne, Australia
Senior IT Specialist

Dr. Ilyas Iyoob
Distinguished Engineer – IT Supply Chain, Cloud Broker Analytics
Austin, TX USA

Michael O’Leary        
Director, Procurement Solutions and Watson Supply Chain Insights, IBM Cognitive Engagement
Cary, NC USA

Amanda Young
Digital Strategy Consultant
Melbourne, Australia

and we are supported by our ‘un-stressable’ Program Manager – Anne McNeill.

So what issue is this team going to work on with the city? Affordable housing.  San Jose has one of the tightest and most expensive housing markets in the US and world, leaving many families struggling to afford rent and the most vulnerable residents at risk of becoming homeless. Addressing this affordable housing crisis has been one of Mayor Liccardo’s highest priorities. 

Over the past two years, the San José community has been engaged in a discussion regarding the Apartment Rent Ordinance and its role within our community. 
The IBM team will be participating in San Jose’s efforts to develop new web applications and data analytic tools that will support the Ordinances and allow the city better ways to monitor inventory, make informed decisions about housing and assist residents in finding available affordable housing units.

During the rest of week 1 we will meet individually with stakeholders from developers to landlords to citizens impacted by the issue.

Today we toured some of the affordable housing and we were lucky enough to be welcomed into a spacious one-bedroom apartment in Japantown by a resident who was most welcoming. He was also proud to show us his garden plot, in which he was seeing the last tomatoes of the season on a beautifully large cherry tomato tree. I have to admit I was a little envious as I have been only somewhat successful in growing tomatoes last season.

During week two we will conduct workshops around user interface for the web solutions and then will begin the task of developing recommendations and other deliverables.

The project is just 3 weeks, but I am confident we will be up for the challenge.

What makes an SCC project so successful is bringing together IBMers who have experience in many different areas to collaborate with each other and the city leaders to generate exciting and innovative ideas and solutions. 

Special thanks to the Mayor’s staff and the Housing Department of San Jose for all of their preparation to get ready for the team’s arrival. 

Comments Off on SCC San Jose – Background (and Day 1 & 2)

Filed under San Jose - USA

San Jose SCC Adventure!

Sunday, October 29:

  • Our adventure begins!  Today the SCC San Jose team gathered for team building.  We had a fantastic tour of the Winchester Mansion, and then a quite challenging scavenger hunt.  Kevin and Ilyas won, with Anne and Princess close behind.  Mike, Ronnie and Amanda finished with style in the end!  Overall, this was a great day and we quickly established our team rules and game plan for the upcoming week.
  • Many thanks to Anne for a super kick-off!
  • Tomorrow we are off to meet the client team and the Mayor of San Jose.
  • image1

Monday, October 30:

  • We have a great kick-off session with the Mayor!  Off we go into our discovery week.
  • team with mayor

Tuesday, October 31:

  • Interesting dinner in town with all the “Trick-or-Treating” with Halloween.  Amanda and Princess did great handing out candy!

Wednesday, Nov 1 – Thursday, Nov 2:

  • Our discovery sessions continue.  27+ interviews completed or scheduled.   Whew!
  • Team getting into sync on our mission and roles.  Long days, but fun dinners at night!
  • Here is a picture of City Hall and our view from outside our team room on the 12th floor.

Saturday, November 5th:

  • We concluded week #1 with a very candid and healthy discussion with our client stakeholder to provide clarity on our mission and proposed deliverables, after gaining much insight during our week of discovery from landlords, tenants and city housing department employees. The IBM team and Housing Dept. Director are now aligned on 5 key deliverables as part of this project on housing affordability.  We will start Monday with the research and machine learning team at the IBM Silicon Valley lab and then head into two days of Design Thinking workshops (Tues & Wed) with various user groups / stakeholders.
  • The team was able to enjoy some down time on Saturday with a beautiful hike in Big Basin Redwood park.  The enormous size of the Redwood trees was truly amazing.
  • Hiking

Comments Off on San Jose SCC Adventure!

Filed under San Jose - USA