Over the last several years, corporate citizenship programs have begun to refocus their efforts from “responsibility” to “opportunity.” In other words, companies now realize that they can affect positive societal results by applying time, talent and technology to the common (and uncommon) challenges faced by people around the world. By intertwining corporate citizenship with business strategy, companies can advance their business goals while bringing about real, sustainable change.
WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD) recently bestowed their “Visionary Award for Shared Value” on IBM in recognition of our “outstanding corporate governance and corporate citizenship” efforts. IBM Director and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President Shirley Ann Jackson accepted the award on our behalf.
As you can tell in the photo below, I was extremely proud to accept the Smart Infrastructure Award we took home with IBM from Infrastructure Partnerships Australia 2013 National Infrastructure Awards in late March. For the Townsville City Council in North Queensland, Australia, this award is recognition of a great project that’s only been possible through our partnership with IBM and the application of smart thinking and technology.
The pilot is breaking new ground in the way data is collected and analysed in near real-time. At its core, the program will help identify and enable ways for the people of Townsville to drive water conservation by empowering residents with smart technology to assist with positive behavioural change.
For thousands of years, people living in the Sonoran Desert Valley have valued water. In the last century, as the Tucson region population has grown to nearly one million, the City of Tucson and our Tucson Water Department have continually championed innovation, public education and conservation to ensure that we use our water wisely.
Now we face a new century full of numerous uncertainties. At what rate will Tucson continue to grow? How will political forces, climate change, the economics of energy and other dynamics affect Tucson’s water supply? And how can we make more cost-effective investments in public education and infrastructure to increase conservation, reduce water loss and ensure that future generations of Tucsonans enjoy a more secure water future?
IBM’s corporate citizenship strategy is global. We identify and act upon opportunities to apply our technology and expertise to societal problems, and scale existing programs to achieve maximum benefit. We empower employees and others to serve their communities. And we integrate corporate citizenship and social responsibility into every aspect of
I recently was in Taiwan, where our employees are very keen on helping students maximise their potential through training for STEM careers (Science Technology, Engineering and Math). More than 300 IBM Taiwan employees have worked with more than 3,000 Taiwanese students since 2008, and this work continues today. In 2012, IBM Taiwan partnered with our client China Steel Corporation to grow volunteer participation and reach an even larger number of students. And in 2013, we will partner with China Steel Corporation and Tatung Company to provide a total of 400 volunteers to participate in nine high schools in Taipei
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Geraldton, Australia? Our city of 40,000 is located 400 kilometres (249 miles) from Perth, itself regarded as “the most isolated city in the world.” We may be “far away,” but Geraldton is rich with natural resources and strategically placed to become an emerging centre for sustainable and renewable energy. Working with an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team, Geraldton is building its eminence in technology and clean energy to attract partners and investors and become a global Smarter City.
For starters, Geraldton is optimally placed to provide support and services for the Australian part of the Square Kilometre Array – a global mega-science and engineering project to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope across Karoo Desert in South Africa and the Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. Geraldton also benefits from the Australian Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) which aims to connect all households in businesses in Australia to high speed broadband through the largest fibre optic rollout in human history. We will be the first city in Australia to have every home and every business connected to the new network.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) is helping 100 cities around the world address some of the critical challenges facing all urban areas. The idea is for some of the company’s top talent to collaborate with civic and community leaders to identify pressing issues, and then transform data into actionable information to manage them. Among the results are cities that are safer, more efficient, more sustainable and more livable (“smarter” cities), and which by their example inform and inspire other cities to
One of the critical roles on any Smarter Cities Challenge team is that of the software architect. Unlike traditional architects who design buildings, software architects “design” software solutions. Some of these solution focus on data – evaluating its prevalence across a city’s agencies, for example, and structuring its use to help advance the city’s goals. Below, software architect and SCC team member Don Dejewski details his role in a
I don’t build buildings or plan cities. I’m a software architect, which means that I gather requirements and create solutions from the components of IBM’s (and sometimes others’) software portfolios. In 2010, I was a member of one of the first IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) teams in North America. This was my first foray into an SCC engagement, so I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that SCC teams were assembled to address specific challenges. Each SCC team needs someone to facilitate relationships, someone to build presentations, someone to draft executive overviews, subject-matter experts (of course) and…an architect. But why an architect?
(Versão em Português do Brasil abaixo)
Porto Alegre is a world leader in participatory democracy. The capital of Rio Grande do Sul – the southernmost state of Brazil – Porto Alegre was founded by the Portuguese Azores in 1772, and now has 1.4 million inhabitants from all over the world. Multicultural by nature, the city is recognized for developing public policies that focus on communities and prioritize dialogue, solidarity and respect for cultural differences.
The city makes ongoing efforts to advance the process of popular participation in decisions about public investments. Since 1989, improving the process of Participatory Budgeting (PB) has been a major concern of city government and the communities involved. For example, in 2011 Porto Alegre implemented new technologies to enable increased citizen involvement in PB, improve community oversight of program execution, and promote discussion of how to advance the goals of participatory democracy itself.
Now, through a partnership with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, we have the opportunity to develop a roadmap for how city leaders can assess the future impacts of community-based decisions. Again, our goal is to strengthen participatory democracy and participatory urban planning. We want citizens and civic leaders to be able to share knowledge about the city much more effectively – thereby improving the quality and effectiveness of planning and local development.
On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, CECP is excited to recognize IBM as a recipient of the 13th Annual Excellence Awards. CECP’s independent cross-sector Selection Committee chose IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) from among a competitive pool as the winner of the coveted Chairman’s Award for companies with revenues of $20 billion and more. IBM becomes CECP’s first ever two-time prize winner, as they were previously recognized in 2001. The Excellence Awards, which have been presented every year since 2000, provide CECP with case studies of impactful corporate engagement in society. The four criteria on which the CECP Excellence Awards are evaluated are: CEO leadership, innovation, partnership, and measurement. Award-winners such as IBM excel in all four categories and thus make a positive impact in their communities. The payoff is global business leadership.
IBM’s SCC hit it out of the park on CECP’s four standards of excellence:
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the recovery from the worst American recession since the Great Depression, government leaders have learned that they need to do more, like make improvements to infrastructure, basic services and governmental programs, but with shrinking resources.
Municipal governments have the greatest direct impact on the lives of their constituents and no matter how tight the budget, citizens expect – and deserve – action. So mayors have to think innovatively to accomplish goals, deliver services more efficiently and effectively, and stimulate economic development.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter has not pared back his ambitious agenda despite reduced funding. One major focus: access to a quality education, which he refers to as “the new civil rights fight.” Mayor Nutter supports a number of creative initiatives designed to provide Philadelphians with educational opportunities and job skills to prepare them for the 21st century workforce.
Philadelphia is one of more than 60 cities worldwide that have participated in IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge program. IBM sends teams of six executives to participating cities to help them come up with solutions to difficult problems. Nutter and other mayors have provided insights in to what it takes to transform cities. The lessons they learned are captured in this white paper, How to Reinvent a City.
You may have suspected that IBM was the nation’s most community-minded company. Now you have proof. Last week, BloombergBusinessweek published the first-ever Civic 50, a groundbreaking national initiative to identify the 50 companies having the greatest community impact. IBM was ranked No. 1.
By identifying how companies are using their time, talent, and financial resources to improve their communities, The Civic 50 sets the standard for corporate civic engagement nationwide. Working with The National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light developed The Civic 50 to inspire companies seeking to become better partners in their communities. This year’s top five companies are:
- Capital One Financial