Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Last Hurrahs

Written 28 March, 2015

It is very, very hard to believe that I’m writing this blog post as the last IBM CSC member left at the hotel in Casablanca.  Four weeks seems like a long time in terms of missed work, missed family and friends, missed time in the comfort of home.  It’s just enough time to get immersed in the life of the project and the needs of the client and make a dozen close friends.  It’s not enough time to get tired of your new friends or to anticipate the end of the project.  

Despite some concerns early in the effort, my team finished up our work at ANAPEC to our own satisfaction early this week and presented on our results in a few different meetings to a few different groups of people.  What we were able to accomplish was well received, but the reception by our clients was muted by the recognition that there is still so much more to do.  We had good discussions about how to use the work we did in the future; the work we did on the organization’s Job Seeker services is a first step that must be followed up on, and which must be repeated for Employers and Entrepreneurs.  Hopefully we gave them a blueprint that will facilitate all of that down the road.

Thursday was spent working with university students at all levels exploring the idea of innovation.  I always enjoy working with large groups of students at universities- I also enjoyed being a student participant in this type of event not so very long ago.  Despite some communication barriers in terms of language, the students were interested and engaging.  We asked them to consider the possibilities in redesigning a shopping cart ( – and their ideas were very good, despite the fact that few of them actually use a shopping cart on a regular basis.  After the challenge, the students wanted to talk about our jobs, our lives at IBM, and of course, internship opportunities none of us really know anything about.  It was an exhausting but also surprisingly fun and refreshing day in the suburbs of Casa.  

Friday morning we all returned to the IBM Morocco offices for the second and final time in our CSC experience here.  We discussed our work with regional executives and collectively considered what we had learned about life, markets, and the nature of the company’s work in the region.  We talked for a little bit with Baba Zoumanigui, who is a VP for sales and distribution in the region and one of the most engaging IBM executives I’ve met.  He talked about a concept of two Africas – the one we outsiders are used to seeing on the news and the one that supports the same types of banking, social, and wireless technology business similar to any global market.  This is something we all found relevant to the work we were doing.  Our projects realistically support that “second” Africa in the hopes that it matters for the markets as a whole.  If we’re doing this CSC thing right, the work we do will have ripple impacts throughout the economy.

But it’s hard to know; four weeks is such a short time.  And four weeks is over for #ibmcsc morocco6.

We’re going back to our families and our day jobs, happy for the time we had to work together and learn together.   I’ll have to write again – at least once – because there’s so much more to say, but now my computer battery is dying and a week with my family along the Moroccan coast is calling my name.

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