travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Recipient in Philippines

November 15, 2012

I was supposed to write about a shopping experience and store pre-opening, but while I edit some pictures of the event, let me just share something, uhm, really interesting and essential to our society. 

Before I start with the story, can I just share that my commute from Eastwood (where I work) to Manila took more than 2 hours? That is crazy, and during this time I wish I could fly. Literally fly and land at home, and figuratively, fly to another city where traffic doesn’t mean “heavy traffic”. Anyway, so this experience is somewhat related to the news I received..

IBM identified Makati City and 30 other cities worldwide as recipients of its Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2013!

Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50-million competitive grant program.  The program, which is IBM’s single-largest philanthropic initiative, assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city’s leadership. 

Well before the team arrives for its three-week pro bono consulting engagement valued at approximately US$400,000, the IBM volunteers are already hard at work studying the city’s issue.  Upon arrival, the team works with city officials to analyze data, and solicit the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups.  IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city might efficiently and effectively address the issue.

For year-three of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM’s expertise. The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus. These included strategies that address:

· Economic and Workforce Development — reducing local dependence on a single industry
· Social Services – creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
· Sustainability – setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid
· Capital Budget Planning – enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact
· Urban Planning – taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits

Some facts, you might find interesting..

In 2012, IBM provided expert counsel to 33 cities worldwide who had earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants.  These included engagements in:

· Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies
· Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development
· Jacksonville, USA, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization
· Louisville, USA, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma
· Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management 
· Geraldton, Australia, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services
· Curitaba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement

In the first two years of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 64 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities.  

 Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (please click the IBM Indonesia 3!!!!),
a pro bono consulting program that assists government with projects
that intersect business, technology, and society.  Since its launch in
2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM’s top
talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30

Ok, I feel goosebumps reading the description of the IBM Corporate Service Corp. Oh yes, I am part of this.. remember my Indonesia assignment? =)  Lookie, Tom and Javier’s recommendations are being considered by the client. The project is to improve traffic situation in Makassar.

And the news is just perfect timing as I get intouch again with the IBM CSC Philippines 12 whose assignment I facilitated before their deployment in Cagayan De Oro last September. Read their blog here.  They worked with DAR, MASS SPECC and CHED. Unfortunately, I was in Toronto for business travel and wasn’t able to meet them.

So this is just good news! I remember traffic was also our chosen topic for our brain-storming activity for Harvard University Study. We thought that traffic affects business, personal lives and other aspects of our lives. So if traffic will be resolved, we can be more efficient and effective in everything we do. 

So that’s all for the traffic-y post.. what do you say? 


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