Tag Archives: #scc

Who is Limerick?

Limerick has Ireland’s fastest aging population.  By 2046, the population of the 65+ age group will grow by 263%.  This conjures up images of streets filled with walkers and wheel chairs, but that is most definitely not the case.  With 42% of the population under 30, there is the vibrancy evident within the city.  Limerick hosts 18,000 students as part of this demographic, flavoring the city the college town vibe found the world over.

Based on a week of meeting various agency and academic representatives, along with seniors actively advocating for their needs, we can state with confidence that the vibrancy we experience is a result of this community as well.  That does not diminish the needs of this population in any way.  Rather the way we have come to view the seniors we have met has perhaps shifted somewhat.  We see the seniors contributing to the life of the city in significant ways, it’s just that they collectively wish to have the opportunity to contribute to this vibrancy more.  From what we have witnessed, they most definitely can and will.  The barriers to achieving this share a common theme, which we will share once we meet with more of the stakeholders invested in transitioning Limerick into a premier “Age Friendly City”.

And now for the anecdote!  In one of our meetings with a member of the Older Persons Council, we met a gentleman who not only teaches dancing, but dances with a frequency that would be the envy of any active athlete!  Animated and full of stories to share, there are few who could keep up with him on our best days!  Evidence that the city vibe comes from the talents of all its residents.

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First Impressions – Limerick

With our first two days on the ground and in the field in Limerick, first impressions have been very powerful and humbling.  We have been greeted by city leadership and organizations who serve the aging population of Limerick with warmth and clear commitment to the vitality of Limerick.  The clear successes of the vision to revitalize Limerick are evident throughout this historic city, and the drive to ensure the aging population is part of that revitalization is why we are here as partners to all those who share in that vision.

Limerick leadership is clear in their goal to get out ahead of the rapidly growing population of their aging citizens, not because they see this as a problem, rather an opportunity to engage this population as equal partners to ensure an outcome that elevates the overall quality of life in the greater metro Limerick area.  What we have seen and heard in just two days leaves no doubt this will be achieved.

All that said, no initial blog entry is complete with anecdotes….. On arrival in Limerick, one of our team members opened her suit case only to discover that the powdered health drink mix had exploded during the flight to Ireland.  What does one do when their clothes are covered in powder?  Well one vacuums them of course!

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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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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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Surat, the Silk City

Our Smarter Cities Challenge: Travel to the city of Surat, India with a small team of other IBMers, work with city leaders, and in just three weeks, develop a plan to help make the city “smarter.”

Surat (pronounced, “SUE-raht”) has mills that produce vast quantities of silk, cotton and manmade fibers. It is known as the Silk City.  It is also a huge hub for the diamond market: 90% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished here. These industries provide so many job opportunities that people have been migrating to Surat from across the country, and the city’s population has been growing exponentially.  Surat is the world’s fourth fastest growing city.

January 26 is Republic Day in India, which observes the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950.  Our team celebrated the holiday by driving out of town to a salt marshy area called Dandi, by the Arabian Sea.  There, in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi staged an act of civil disobedience, to protest British rule in India.  He and an ever-increasing crowd of followers marched to Dandi to challenge a British-imposed tax on salt.  A huge statue of Gandhi holding a handful of salt stands outside, near a plaque that reads: “Here on April 6, 1930 A.D. Gandhiji broke the Salt Law, picked salt and challenged the rule of the mighty British which ultimately won for our motherland freedom on August 15, 1947.”

Gandhi statue at Dandi - Surat SCC - GHZ


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by | January 27, 2016 · 1:20 pm

‘‘Great owls, you all make’ – Yoda

While working in Taichung on the Smarter Cities project, our team was asked a few times about how the 5 of us worked so well together as a team, and what the formula was, to our success. They were fascinated by our teamwork and camaraderie it seems! One gentleman said, ‘you need all the 5 fingers to make it a helping hand’, and added that we were the 5 fingers of the ‘SCC helping hand’ for Taichung! What a nice compliment, really!!

It is true, we worked well together, and my team mates (we call ourselves #RADDS, a concatenation of our first name initials) deserve a salute and a blog from me, for making this a great team!

Before I start, I suggest you get a cup of Oolong tea, the one with ‘vanilla’ flavor (hmmm!), one of those lovely moon cakes as well, and curl up your feet, because it is going to be a long ride into my memory lane!

First, count the blessings!

Our blessings were very special! “Anne-the-magician-McNeill” who brought us together and prepped us diligently for the project, and stayed the course with us. You know, she convinced me even before I set out on my journey that it was going to be a great experience. And yes! Of course She was right. Ms. Lisa Chen who welcomed us in Taiwan, put us on a tight schedule, fed us amply, immersed us in local culture & values, pampered us, praised us, and journeyed with us, ‘Toujours’, with the ‘grace of a swan’ and a smile! Thank you Anne and Lisa! We are appreciative of these blessings!

mazu temple blessings

Next, I strongly trust that the IBM’s core values that we as a team, innately believed in, helped us culminate all our experiences and expertise, and lead to the inherent success of this project!

While we leveraged our expertise and creativity, we also inadvertently settled into a teaming approach. I call it the #RADDS approach (see chart below). At the center are 4 key contributing factors, and surrounding rays represent our beliefs. Our goal was singular, i.e. Client Focus. We took advantage of all the stakeholder meetings, tours and loads of information shared with us; we listened intently (both in English and in Mandarin), we read and we discussed a lot. We seamlessly collaborated while practicing our approach and working towards the goals.

RADDS approach

We also instinctively respected and valued each other’s expertise and opinions. We took all possible va’ria’bles into consideration and we performed like a relay team of five! When you have a common goal and intent, it’s easier to work well together, and for long hours too. We were a typical hardworking, smart IBM team, I guess. Here it is, from our team to yours – an abridged list of what we practiced and appreciated:

  • Use the power of influence, effectively and kindly
  • Be open minded, each day, every day
  • Be persuasive, but with kindness
  • Be genuinely inclusive
  • Hear an opinion, give an opinion
  • Collect all opinions, make them count and use them judiciously
  • Make team decisions; do not split and parse
  • Ask for and hear clarifications; do not assume
  • Be patient with each other (even at 2am)
  • (Try to) balance work and life, even on a hectic SCC project
  • Soften the edges over a Taiwanese cold beverage
  • Bond over Japanese barbeque and French dinners
  • Bring a camera, take a lot of team pictures. They will be the proof of the magical friendship and times you experienced!


The City of Taichung was also a major influencer for our working together nicely; its warmth, kindness, open mindedness and the passion to do things better and that relentless, unwavering care for the citizens of Taichung! How could we not be part of it? Taichung, Thank you for sharing your magnanimous beauty, character and generosity with us and influencing us so!

There we were, five strangers

One destination, with one set goal,

Taichung, with your charm, you allowed us to be one splendid team!

22535477533_28a8422606_o.jpgThe delightful #RADDS. Huddled from left to right – Rebecca Butler, David Kinsey, C’est moi, Armando Calderon, Dmitri Kharitonenko

Work – Life balance

The message of work – life” balance is universal! I noticed that, we defined it here at home, but we seldom follow it, while others thrive on the idea and practice it diligently (smiley). Even, Mayor Lin of Taichung made sincere efforts to entice us, to get us off our MacTops (Macs and Laptops) to venture out. We obliged, but only sometimes, because we didn’t have the luxury of time (so we told ourselves).

However, I enjoyed working with my team (and great Taiwanese food that was served) during those late hours, because it was inspiring, creative and result oriented!

What would Yoda say?

Bringing your attention back to my 4 team members, if Yoda were to meet them, he’d like them right away, and he’d say to them – ‘Great owls, you all make’.

Yes, they are very smart and they always look out for others (owls). They are excellent writers and great story tellers too. So I pray, beseech and implore them (with many Taiwanese ‘18 day’ cold beverages) to blog again soon! And if I may, here is how I’d describe each one of them to you (anonymously and in random order) in a ‘troem’ (tricky poem):

One shows the gestures of kindness, as special as the yellow Orchids on a Taichung mountain!

One has the gracefulness to make the ginger blossoms take note, blush and stand up straighter!

One has the regal stride and the aura of awesomeness!

One has the cheerfulness to win many hearts, and many times over!

 (Can you guess, who is who??)

The Salute

The ride ends here, with my salute to Rebecca, Armando, David and Dmitri. Thanks for coming together as a team, for sharing your expertise, and creating an atmosphere of excellence! You all have influenced me remarkably and in varied ways. Thank you to each one of you, for the laughs, your kindness and genuine warmth of friendship!

May this season of celebration, sharing and of caring, make you all merrier and kinder!

May your hearts ‘hum’ with gentle happiness, always!!

 Hope you have a great rest of the year! Happy Holidays & Happy 2016!

Zhídào xià cì!        直到下次!!

4 owls


From Team-Taichung: @rebeccajbutler @oacalderon1 @dkinsey28 @dkharitonenko @Sperepa

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