Week 2 – Work Work Work

As the great Bad Girl RiRi says, Week 2 was just

We knew Week 2 was going to be a bit hectic, as during Week 1 we were pushing to host a Design Thinking session with as many organizations as possible. Throughout Week 1 both Dr Tanwa and our translator, New, were sending out invitation letters to municipalities, private and public organizations and we began receiving responses. While we weren’t planning on running a full Design Thinking workshop, especially given all the baggage that comes with that type of session, we still wanted to have as many attendees as possible. While the attendees were being confirmed, we held several meetings with some internal IBM groups who have some knowledge in disaster risk reduction (DRR).

This also included a call with an IBM’er who was involved in Project NOAH. This was a key project our sponsor envisioned for Thailand. We met and discussed IBM’s role with Project NOAH, which was to provide supercomputer access to verify their prediction models. Unfortunately the project was stopped by the government and it was then taken over by a university in the Philippines. They continue to support the platform, but its production has slowed quite drastically. The meeting was very informative and we gathered some new contacts regarding DRR in Asia for our customer in Thailand.

As the week progressed we got closer to our August 2nd Design Session and we were happy to hear we had received confirmation of attendance from 15 different groups. These ranged from local municipality, private organizations and public organizations (eg: government agencies). This was great news as the more participants we had the more information we would hopefully receive! Dr Tanwa was also excited about the number of attendees as he will now be able to meet them and get their contact information to pursue our flood management action plan or other future endeavors. In the meantime, the team was getting our materials ready, our action plan for the day as well as requesting New to complete some translations for our materials in to Thai so the attendees would have a better idea of what we were asking them in our 6 questions.

Finally Aug 2 was upon and it was time to get the meeting room setup and ready for the participants in the afternoon. We had a portion of the agenda blocked for Introductions and we thought 15 minutes would be enough. Well we were wrong. We should have known better, as from previous meetings introductions are a lot longer than usual.

There was a bit of a scramble at this point, as we needed to get translations of what they were saying, so I went and say with one of the university admins who helped translate on the fly what the participants were saying so I could take notes, while the other 3 on the team sat with New who provided the same translations. We received a lot of insights during their introductions, so I guess its not a bad thing they were a bit more talkative than we had hoped!

Dr Tanwa speaking with emergency response teams

*35 minutes later* Introductions were completed and we could jump in to the design session action. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to be all that popular or a lot of participation. We had heard from other groups who had done their sessions already that it took some time for the people to warm up and understand the goal of the design session but they eventually started putting up more post-it notes. That’s the cynical side of me showing at this point, but I was proven wrong. The attendees were engaged, genuinely interested in our questions and ideas. We received a lot of great feedback and to add, Dr Tanwa was pleased with the turnout, with the responses and the fact he expanded his network for PSU and specifically the ESSAND department by another 10-15 people/organizations!

Board 1 with Questions 1 & 2

We were going to give a small break to the group after some of the initial questions, but we were recommended to push through, as if we gave them a break some people would just leave and not return. Another new insight to working in a new country. While they were interested in the session, giving a break can sometimes mean its home time. After we were done the session, we sat back and looked at what was accomplished and the level of work that will happen after this. New is going to be busy translating over the next few days.

Back in Ottawa, I had heard about a mobile application that would take a photo of these sticky notes and make a digital copy for us. So after the session I did some investigation and found this mythical app. It’s called Post-it Plus and is available on iOS devices only (groan). Luckily Anu and Ryusuke both had iPhones so we were able to take advantage of this app and it is absolutely fantastic. I shared this app with the rest of the CSC teams and they were quite impressed as it simplified the digital translation of these post-it notes very nicely. cheap nfl jerseys china jerseys re I even tweeted at 3M about this app and got a heart, or a like or whatever the hell they call it on the stupid twitter platform.

Initial capture from the app
Moved in to our grids
Final product with translations

Long day, time for a coffee and cigarette. 

Aug 5 – Community Service Day

On Saturday August 5 we headed to Kamala Beach for the IBM Community service day. Our mission for the day was to give an education session to a local Women’s Community group, specifically around Digital Literacy and also a Project Management fundamentals session for a group of teachers at the school. Before we even went to the school, I organized a meeting with the group of 15 to split the responsibilities of the day. As I normally work in project management, I volunteered for the digital literacy portion. The point of the trip, at least to me, was to get outside my daily job role. We split the group of 15 in to 1 team of 10 and one of 5. The group of 10 would focus on the Digital Literacy/Social Media aspect and the other 5 would focus on Project Management Fundamentals. We began building our presentations, split the work across the various social media options and even created a How-To build a basic WordPress website.

Trying to hide the camera so people act natural

The community group creates their own products, such as all natural shampoo and conditioner as well as some household cleaning products. They wanted new marketing options to showcase their local products and to also get their community group more publicity. We split up the work based on the social media platform, such as Facebook (How to create a FB group page), Instagram and Twitter.

We walked them through getting accounts created as necessary and explaining why these platforms are valuable to them and their community. The group was awesome to work with and they were very attentive and appreciative of our work. Some of the group got their Group page setup, others began creating their WordPress sites and many others were getting their IG and Twitter accounts setup.

Instagram discussion being led by me and one of our fantastic translators, Chula
Post event group photo