My Corporate Service Corps assignment is just over the half way point.
Time has certainly gone by quickly.
My work here is to consult on a ‘smart city’ app, that helps citizens access services here in one of Sao Paulo State’s biggest Municipalities.
Although I’ve heard the phrase ‘smart city’ be talked about a lot, I haven’t given much thought to how an app could really improve life for a person in a city, so I welcomed this assignment for a few reasons …
- It would help me understand more about Smart Cities
- It would help me empathize about this particular city in Brasil
- It could let me collaborate on work that would help other people
To be honest, I feel like I could already write a book about the joy I’ve had from this assignment. I am very lucky to be able to work here for a month.
Here are a few notes about the teams I’ve been working with at IMA.
In the next post I’ll write some thoughts about the project.
My IBM team mates
My IBM teammates on this assignment are Akiyo from Japan, and Rabia from Pakistan. I hope that they’ve found me as easy and inspiring to be with, as I have them. I know with certainty that I’m going to miss them both when I return to Canada.
They both have a wonderful sense of humour, yet they’re super smart, they’re very open and adventurous, they have an impressive depth of empathy, and they’re ever patient in answering my questions about their homes.
The three of us have different personalities, yet we have very complimentary approaches to digging into the problem we’ve been tackled with. It feels that we’ve self organized quickly and that we’re filling in the blanks. I’m really happy to have met them.
Our bonus IBM team mate is Victor - our local translator - who just last week was hired as a translator by IBM. It is super clear that he has a gift for languages, and a obvious love of the world. He is learning Japanese from Akiyo while we’re here. He contributes massively to our project, while lapping up the experience, and teaching us about Brasil every day.
|Also his mom makes incredible cakes ( bolos ) for us. I don’t know whether to thank them both, or curse them for the delicious cakes! I have to confess today that I had three helpings of one today :|
My IMA team mates
I don’t know how to describe how welcoming the people at IMA have been to us. I’ve really liked getting to know them. They have amazing characters.
Yoko our coordinator ( you can see her in the photo above ), thinks deeply and widely, she is considerate, fun, and caring - yet at the same time, she pushes us to deliver, and encourages us to be creative.
Leandro the director impresses me by embracing the future - challenging us as a team, and the city itself to show how digital it can be - not just for the citizens here, but to be a standard in the hugely populated state of Sao Paulo and in the world.
He leads with ease - clearly putting in a lot of work, but also making himself approachable by everyone. We share his office. We covered it in empathy maps!
And he showed us around Sao Paulo, the city he grew up in.
And then there is the creative team - the savvy developers - Adimir, Daniel, Dalton, Rafael, Ricardo and and their ‘rebel’ designer Larissa, making the app. They share their delicious local coffee with us every day, they listen to our proposals, they advise us on their software. They join in, and take leadership of our design thinking sessions. They invite us come to lunch with them, and they gave us gifts of cachaça.
They also don’t seem to mind me exploring their language - ever patient when I ask ‘Como voce dis … [ word in English ]’ ( how do you say this in Portuguese )
If that wasn’t enough, the IMA team ( Adib ) arranged for us to see some real life Serie A Brasil football last weekend … and this upcoming weekend too!