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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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