(Versão em português abaixo)
We are still living in difficult times. Governments, municipalities, businesses and families have been going through strong financial constraints, causing development delays in the so called “intelligent territories” — areas using ICT (information and communications technology) to help drive economic development. But we have capitalized on these circumstances to create opportunities to prepare different solutions that will change the face of Faro in the near term, especially regarding energy efficiency, receptivity and encouragement towards entrepreneurship and our rediscovered vocation – the Economy of the Sea.
As the poet used to say, “a dream dreamed alone is a dream; a dream dreamed together is a reality.” With our new Community Support Framework for 2014 – 2020, it is precisely our overall perspective that we must form partnerships between the public and private sectors to develop our projects and initiatives. This is important not only to reduce individual financial efforts and create economies of scale, but above all to develop truly deep and structural initiatives.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has just bestowed its “Best Corporate Steward” award for large business – the Citizens Award – on IBM. The Chamber Foundation’s Best Corporate Steward award recognizes businesses that serve as powerful forces for good around the world. Companies and chambers of commerce from around the globe compete for Citizens awards in several categories, making them among the most coveted opportunities for recognition in corporate citizenship.
Among this year’s nominees, IBM is not alone in doing excellent work. But what distinguishes IBM in the increasingly crowded and competitive field of corporate citizenship is the breadth and depth of its programs, and the company’s longstanding culture of service that begins with its CEO and radiates through nearly 400,000 employees around the world. It is the high level of engagement and support of IBM’s CEO and top leadership that inspires and encourages contributions of service by employees, partners and clients as an integral part of IBM’s global business model.
In 2012, Early Childhood Development work in Surrey, British Columbia had cross-sectorial collaborative leadership established, a range of programs and services offered, a growing amount of resources invested, and a range of data and plans, yet 32 percent of Surrey’s kindergarten-aged children were assessed as developmentally vulnerable.
This is only one of the many reasons why the City of Surrey prioritized Early Childhood Development as the focus for IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge in 2012. Combining a fresh perspective with our resources, we believed we would be able to shine new light on a critical population health issue in one of Canada’s fastest growing cities.
(Versão em Português do Brasil abaixo)
The city of Porto Alegre is currently experiencing a historic moment with the launch
of the POAdigital Portal, an online environment that integrates developers, startups, entrepreneurs, investors, students and IT professionals in order to accelerate and
stimulate innovation and local economic development, transforming Porto Alegre into
a Digital City. We have reached a milestone with the connection of all these actors that make innovation happen.
Several years ago, this growing trend had been identified inside the City Hall. And, taking advantage of a consolidated partnership with IBM, we proposed the development of a solution that would not only allow us to visualize this ecosystem, but actually to connect all the stakeholders in a functional environment, full of useful information.
IBM’s technology and talent have the power to help transform governments, institutions, communities and the quality of life for people around the world. We work to improve education, revitalize cities, address the challenges of economic growth, respond to disasters, and develop sustainable strategies for energy use and environmental protection. As part of a tradition that dates to the company’s founding more than
100 years ago, IBM and IBMers contribute innovative solutions to the world’s toughest societal challenges.
In our 2014 Corporate Responsibility Report, we detail our efforts to transform communities, support our employees, and engage in responsible corporate governance and practices. Through it all, you’ll see how IBM and IBMers contribute our time, technology and expertise toward making the world a better place.
We were both excited and anxious to greet IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) team. The hectic work schedule lasted three weeks and came to an end on April 23. The SCC grant program is designed to make the planet smarter, by providing cities and regions with recommendations to address their challenges based on analyses and diagnoses made by IBM experts. Since 2011, 114 cities have received the IBM SCC grant. Pyeongchang County applied for the grant with the mission of “Developing strategies for Pyeongchang’s future in preparation for the arrival of the High Speed Railway, with a vision of becoming a city of relaxation, tourism, leisure and sports.” We became the third recipient for the SCC grant, following Cheongju and Jeju.
[Note: The video below is in Korean.]
IBM chose Pyeongchang County for an SCC grant based on our passion and commitment for making Pyeongchang a smarter city. Six IBM experts, each with different areas of expertise, worked in Pyeongchang for three weeks. These experts diagnosed the problems of Pyeongchang and gave us 11 recommendations to address our challenges. Even though they were only in Pyeongchang for three weeks, they reviewed several policies and existing reports, and gathered the opinions of many people throughout the region. Their final presentation demonstrated a thorough review of our challenges and delivered expert recommendations, living up to IBM’s reputation as a global company.
Today IBM announced the 2015-16 Smarter Cities Challenge winning cities, including unveiling a new partnership with Twitter. We had the honor of participating in SCC Pyeongchang County, South Korea in April, all of us returning home just three weeks ago. The experience is still extremely fresh in our minds as we put the final touches on the report that will be delivered to Mayor JaeKook Sim next month.
Today’s announcement of 16 new projects in cities around the world makes us all excited, and a little jealous of the cities, their mayors and the IBMers who are about to embark on this incredible journey.
IBM is extending the Smarter Cities Challenge global competitive grant program, through which more than 700 of IBM’s top experts have executed pro bono consulting projects to help municipalities and regions improve the quality of life for their residents. Below, IBM Vice President for Global Citizenship Initiatives Jen Crozier reflects on the program’s success and the ongoing challenges facing the world’s cities.
The world’s cities are vital, exciting, often troubled and always unique. Cities house three quarters of us, attract many of the best and brightest of us, and inspire much of our greatest thinking. But urban areas can amplify societal challenges as much as they reinforce cultural benefits. That’s why running a city is never easy.
When IBM launched the Smarter Cities Challenge in 2011, we saw an opportunity to make a difference by using our innovative technologies and cross-industry expertise to help transform the nature of urban life. Smarter cities are the building blocks of a smarter planet, but making a city smarter requires a unique set of collaboration and partnership skills. IBM has those skills, and we believed – and still believe – that their intelligent application has the power to engage and inspire governments, citizens, corporations and others to work together toward a common good.
Anyone looking for inspiration about how the public, private and not-for-profit sectors can collaborate need not look much further than a new book authored by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Titled A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, this remarkable book describes how individuals and organizations can make a difference in the lives of others. Two of the many examples cited by the authors include IBM’s Corporate Service Corps and Smarter Cities Challenge. These programs deploy pro bono teams of problem-solving IBM consultants who work with community stakeholders around the world, while improving their own skills and cultural literacy. Here is how the authors put it:
In their desire to showcase corporate social responsibility, companies are giving more leeway to employees to give back – just as law firms have regularly done pro bono work. IBM developed a Corporate Service Corps, modeled on the Peace Corps, and has sent more than 2,400 people to provide consulting advice in more than thirty countries. In 2010, IBM also began a three-year, 100-city grant initiative in which employees donate their time to help cities launch large projects and resolve tough issues. IBM dispatched teams of five to six people for three weeks to formulate a master plan and strategies for execution. In
St. Louis, IBM helped devise a citywide information technology system that tracked everyone who entered the criminal justice system and allowed different agencies access to that electronic information. That system contributed to a 50 percent decline in crime in some neighborhoods, IBM says. Toyota has taken its sophisticated production expertise and helped hospitals, schools, and other non- profits improve efficiencies. In Harlem, for example, it trimmed the wait at a soup kitchen run by an organization called Food Bank for New York City from one and a half hours to eighteen minutes.
We would like to see more companies step into this arena, allowing employees to use their skills to take on pro bono projects. The nonprofit world is in desperate need of the corporate skill set, and our guess is that companies would be rewarded with increased morale and greater success in recruitment and retention. In the same vein, it would be good to see more corporations take on social joint ventures from time to time, in echoes of what Danone did with Grameen to make yogurt. If we insist on nonprofits and corporations being kept in separate silos, we all lose. If you work in a company, think about how it could help, or what a pro bono policy might look like, and see if there is interest among executives.
The best programs tackle a social problem that the company has the right toolbox for. That’s why Danone’s new yogurt with micro-nutrients and IBM’s information technology systems make sense. In finance, one of the most interesting initiatives to tap private funding has been Social Impact Bonds, launched in the United Kingdom in 2010 with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, and two years later in the United States. ‘There simply wasn’t enough money in philanthropy, even with the explosion of philanthropy, and not enough money in government aid to really solve all the social ills,’ said Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. ‘Not that money can solve everything, but that for those things that required money and big money at times, that unleashing private capital to do social good was going to be critical.’
Excerpted from A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Copyright © 2014 by Nicholas D. Kristof. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.