It is amazing how a bunch of like minded folks coming together can add so much of energy to our individual existence. Here we are, team of IBM’rs putting our brains to work on some subjects that matter so much to India. The thought that we are spending our energy on things that matter to the nation by itself mltiplies the energy. On top of this when true blue IBM folks bring together the much talked about leadership competencies like problem solving, collaboration, team work, conflict management etc then the energy levels multiplies. No doubt that we question each other on intellectual grounds but what amazes me is our ability co convince and be convinced. True logic wins here. It is not only the intellectual energy; the evenings that we spend talking the walk in the river front, vist to the local places do help to build that energy within.  No doubt we are dancing to the tunes of our spirit here.

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Never judge a book by its cover

Pre-conceived notions are very often disproven by experience. If you first look around Ahmedebad you may first see a city that is over 800 years old and a population of 6 million people with all the expected problems that go along with its age and size. However, when you look under the covers you start to see a different story begin to emerge. You see a city in transition moving aggressively from the old to the new. With cars and motorbikes zipping everywhere, you get the sense that everyone is in a hurry to get someplace and that someplace is the future. While it may not look it, we are standing on the super-highway of progress. So climb on board our motor-rickshaw and follow along as we help create a Smarter City.

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Its all about the people…..

Initial impressions of Ahmedabad are that this is a city that  has a strong vision with an ability to execute on this vision. The results they have achieved over the last five years in transforming their physical infrastructure are astounding. The next wave of of execution against the vision will be to strengthen the digital infrastructure to help them become a smarter city.

A couple of the areas that we will focus on as a team will be intelligent transport and citizen services. Both areas are potentially very technology driven so there is a great opportunity to make a real difference for Ahmedabad. The appetite for change is so strong.

The mission of the government is to improve the quality of life of it’s citizens. I am attaching a collage of some of the citizens of Ahmedabad. It’s all about the people!


It’s all about the people


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Team IBM Convenes in Ahmedabad

After eight weeks of preparation we have now all arrived in Ahmedabad.   We had our first meeting with the IBM team on Friday, spent the day touring the city on Saturday and conducted our first team meeting this afternoon.  We all agree that to maximize the value that we bring to the project will be to set clear expectations and narrow the scope to one or two areas of interest that we can focus on for the next two weeks.  We are a diverse team with a wide breadth of experience and networks that we are anxious to bring in to focus on major topical areas that cities all over the world are working on including transportation, water management and citizen services.

Old Walled City, Ahmedabad

Thanks to Mamtha, Sunil and Rajesh for setting up our agenda for yesterday that included a heritage walk in the old part of Ahmedabad, Ghandi’s Ashram, Step Well and the Navratri celebration.  They were all amazing experiences that set us up well to get a first look at the city of Ahmedabad.  Fortunately Tom and Andrew had their cameras on hand throughout the day.  The city is multi dimensional with many contrasts between old and new with modern realities living alongside of centuries old traditions.


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Does your team have bi-polar energy?

A side but important benefit of the trip to India was the opportunity to spend the day with the Bangalore and Noida based System & Technology Group Global Marketing Center team.  The team is young in tenure yet high in enery, enthusiasm, passion for the business and oh yes…. a huge dose of hospitality.

We have spent most of the past two years building the team and have experienced many of the challenges that a fully virtual, multi-cultural and multi-time zone team faces.  Thank you to Thomas and Ritu for working through many of those challenges to build the team that now sits in Bangalore and Noida.  Until now though I had not actually experienced a work day in the “other side of the time zone”.  Mumtaz inadvertently helped me experience yet another challenge when at 5:00 pm while preparing for a call with the North America team she simply asked, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”.

Mumtaz knew that while we had already had a full day in Bangalore our new work “day” was just beginning with a fully energized NA team just beginning the first calls of their day.  Thanks Mumtaz for opening my eyes to the bi-polar  energy challenge and the double shot of energy that the GMC team brings to us everyday.

Good food, great team!

I cannot finish this blog entry without a mention of my first ever home cooked Indian meal.  I had not realized that our GMC teammates are all such good cooks.  Each person on the team prepared and brought a dish from home for our lunch.  I wish that I could list the dishes here but I could neither spell nor pronounce them.  Thanks to all and thanks to Kavya who promises to comment on this blog with the list of each person’s special dish!

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Two days in one

Seems strange to cram two days into one but that’s just what happened yesterday.  I left my house in Jacksonville, Florida at 4:00 am on Monday October 15 and arrived at the Fortune Landmark Hotel Ahmedabad, India at 10:30 pm on Tuesday evening.   Total of 34 hours of travel time.

About half of the 34 hours was spent on an Air India flight from Chicago to Delhi.  Good news is that I was fortunate enough to sit by Krishna and her 5 year old daughter Krupa traveling to visit Krishna’s parents for a month in Hyderabad.  Many thanks to Krishna for all of the great info on India culture and to busy Krupa for the beautiful pictures that you drew.  My first new friends of the many that I hope to gather during the next 3 weeks.

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Destination Ahmedabad

It has been a journey just to get to the point of departure.  The Smarter Cities Ahmedabad team have met every week for the past 8 weeks to learn about the city and the team.  I am now looking forward to meeting the team on the ground in India and the team that will be flying in from Australia, Ireland and the US.  I appreciate all the prep work that the team in India and the project team have had to do just to get us to this point.  Now that we have done our homework it is time to go… I begin my travels on Monday Oct. 15 with all of us convening in Ahmedabad on Oct. 18. 

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