Thursday, August 14, 2014

India 23 Global Team Locations

The Triple Benefit
  • Communities get their problems solved
  • IBMers receive leadership and development training
  • IBM grows new markets and global leaders


  IBM Corporate Service Corp

The Corporate Service Corp was launched in 2008 to help provide IBMers with high quality leadership development training while delivering high quality problem solving for communities and organizations in emerging markets.  More than 3,000 IBMers from 57 countries have become global citizens with their leadership in over 1000 projects in 37 countries—all developing nations.   In 2014 the program included over 32 locations, with 380 plus team members, and the assistance of the Global Corporate Citizenship support staffs.  Our journey will begin with 11 individuals delivering various professional and technical skills from 8 different countries, all arriving in an emerging market country, ours being India, for a four-week community-based assignment. During the assignment, the team will undertake several community-driven economic development projects.  

This program increases IBM’s understanding and appreciation of emerging markets while creating global leaders who are culturally aware and possess advanced teaching skills.  Teams will work collaboratively with the local government and community counterparts implementing socially responsible business practices while defining measurable results in a global context.

My Assignment

CSC offers employees a unique “once in a career” leadership development experience. Each year CSC applications are reviewed and about 15% of those applicants are selected for the following year assignments.  Many of us checked the program’s web site daily/weekly searching for any new location and team announcements, as we awaited our assigned location.  I was delighted to receive the assignment to Jamshedpur, as India was a high priority country on my list of requested locations.  
Once you are assigned to a team there is a 3 month pre-trip period requiring 40 to 50 hours of educational modules prior to departure.   The weekly conference calls with the Corporate Citizenship teams allowed us to work together on small tasks, increase our cultural awareness, and establish a rapport with our new team members.  Of course all of this is in addition to our current responsibilities.   

The four week Jamshedpur assignment will begin in September, followed by a week of post-trip travel (vacation days).  I will continue to share my photos and experiences with all of you through this blog. 

I want to extend a special “Thank You” to my fiancĂ©e Joan and my daughter Katie for their support of my career aspirations and sense of adventure.     


My journey to Kolkata (Calcutta) included 4 flights covering over 8850 miles.  I departing Wednesday 6PM ET arriving in Kolkata at our Hotel by noon Friday.    There were no flight problems and the Delta/KLM flights were very comfortable.  

I was concerned about the possible flight path considering recent world events as we left Amsterdam toward Moscow before turning south to New Delhi.  I did experience a baggage lesson on the Air India domestic flight; the weight allowance is based on the "total baggage weight", not a per bag weight allowance, so there was an unplanned cost of INR3940.   India's TSA equivalent are much more aggressive in searching carry on baggage. I'll never complain about my local TSA.


 One of my team mates Mark (China) was on the Kolkata flight with me so we were shared transportation to the Hotel.    One of the first things you notice is the is constant  honking of the car/truck/motorcycle horns.  There seems to be a rhythm to the honking; a single short honk must mean that I’m approaching you,  double honk that I plan to pass you, so pull over.  Three longer blasts if you are getting too close.  As you can see from the pictures there are three or four cars spanning the two lane road as everyone maneuvers their path between car, trucks, scooters, bikes, and pedestrians.   It’s truly amazing that there is no exchange of nasty looks, yelling, gestures, or road rage incidents, as everyone shares the roadway.  

 It was great to finally meet the entire CSC India23 team and our host consultants.  In this photo we are enjoying our first team lunch before boarding the train for our trip from Kolkata to Jamshedpur.   

Train to Jamshedpur 

We gathered for a group picture before boarding the train in anxious anticipation of our four hour train ride to Jamshedpur. 

 On the train we exchanged our life stories.  Szandra shared with me that she had been a high school Foreign Exchange Student in Clearwater Fl where I live, so we enjoyed discussing her experience living in Florida for a year.      

Left to right: Jakob (Germany),  Yves (Switzerland), Carol (Brazil), Michelle (Canada), Me (USA), Szandra (Hungary), and Darren (USA).  

If you look closely you can see Sanjay (Local consultant – Kolkata) in the mirror as he takes the photo. 

Arrival in Jamshedpur 

Arriving at the Jamshedpur Train Station seemed as though we just walked on to the film set of Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca, one of my favorite movies.  "The old train slowly came to a final jerking halt beside the dimly lit platform. It was late and the stale smell of the railway station penetrated the fog which distorted the view of the locals as they gathered on the platform.  The lights shed an eerie glow on the group of strangers that were disembarked the train.  It was apparent from their language and dress that this was their first trip to Jamshedpur as the Porters unloaded their baggage. The locals stared as the group wondered through the railroad station, entered their waiting vehicles and sped away into the night. Rumors are that they will return to the train in four weeks." 


Jamshedpur is the first planned industrial city of India and is known as “Steel City”. The area is rich with natural resources used in the production of steel products. Several of the TATA conglomerate companies are located in Jamshedpur, i.e. TATA Steel and TATA Motors.  The TATA organization is committed to their social programs within the community and for the benefit of the employees, such as fully paid medical benefits for retirees and subsidized housing for employees.  Two percent of their net profits are allocated to social projects within their communities.   

Jamshedpur is a city with complimentary community values within a strong business infrastructure. The photo includes my Hotel in the background with people commuting to their jobs or school.  The HoteI was a pleasant surprise.  It easily surpasses the majority of the Hotels where I stay while I'm traveling on business.   The three wheel vehicle is a Tuk-Tuk (taxi).

The group finds our Tuk-Tuks for a dinner out at a local restaurant to enjoy the Indian food. Traveling around Jamshedpur is an adventure and I'll share my experiences and photos in this blog.

Kick Off Meeting

We started our kick-off meeting with all of our NGO client teams;  All India Women’s Conference, Kalamandir, School of Hope and Family Planning Association of India.   The four organization representatives explained current status, their thoughts, their visions, as well as the hardships they face.   Szandra, Michelle and I will be working with "Kalamandir, The Celluloid Chapter Art Foundation".

 The CSC team members introduced their work experience, expertise, and personal motivation in joining the CSC project.  Humm... IBM's motivation speaker in the white shirt looks familiar.   


Kalamandir and their rural Tourism project is our team's project.  
Kalamandir working sessions

Here we are in our first project planning session with the Kalamandir project team just prior to afternoon tea.   We enjoyed working with the Kalamandir team through every aspect of the project. They recommended a team outing to the Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre in order to understand the art and culture of the tribe, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.  The trip to the Amadudi Village was a long slow drive due to the poor conditions of the highway.  Perhaps it's the heavy truck traffic which left the road in poor condition or the lack for repair funding.  For our trip we had an experienced driver with a great deal of patience to navigate these roads as shown below.  We concluded that the poor condition of NH33 must be impacting economic growth in the East Singhbhum district. This issue was included in our Executive Summary which was presented to State Officials.     

 While visiting the Amadubi Rural Tourism Center/Village we had a common question, where are we?  There were no road signs which referenced the center or Jamshedpur for the past 45 minutes of driving.  It became apparent that one of our recommendations would be to put Amadubi on the map.   Our team doesn't just make "Recommendations", we implement "Solutions".    We are very proud that the "Amadubit-Panijya Rural Tourism Centre" is now on Google Map/Earth so that tourist can get turn by turn directions to the Village.  A secondary tourism strategy was to define the Center/Village within Trip Advisor as a Rural Tourism Attractive.   There has been consistent increase in inquiries,  reservation and positive feedback on Trip Advisor from local and global tourists. 

The demo of the Google Map/Earth Solution drew applause from the  Kalamandir management team.

 Amadudi Rural Tourism Centre 

What an experience!

Amadubi Art

We enjoyed a traditional meal with other guests at the village prior to the dance and songs.   

Are those IBMers in that dance line?

Meeting with the District Deputy Commissioner

Ricky Surie, Director of INTACH, Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage, scheduled our initial meeting with the Deputy Commissioner, DR. Amitabh Kaushal, IAS.   The Deputy Commissioner is the highest ranking government official in Jamshedpur and the surrounding area.   He was very personable and wanted to make sure our visit to Jamshedpur was a memorable experience.  We reviewed IBM's CSC program, Kalamandir's Rural Tourism program, additionally discussing the different types of Tourism in the district.    

 We should have realized as we were escorted past a waiting room full of people that we were meeting with the District's highest government official.  That fact was made clear after the meeting when we were approached by the local media hence Ricky's interview appeared in the newspaper the following day.  

TATA Steel

The group toured the TATA Center for Excellence and learned about the heritage of the company and the vision of the company’s founder Jamsetji Tata.  The story of TATA Steel is a century old originating in 1900.   TATA Steel was the first employer to introduce the 8-hour working day (1912), free medical aid (1915), workers' provident fund plans (1920) and many other welfare plans even before they were introduced in the West.

We toured the plant and viewed the manufacturing of rolled steel.  Everyone was required to wear safety equipment while on site at the plant, as shown by our team members who were modeling the latest in safety attire.

  Beldihi Golf Course

  Sunday Ricky Surie invited the Team to brunch at the Beldihi Golf Course to discuss week 1 status of the project.   

 Ricky hosted our team with a tour of key landmark attractions in the area, i.e. Jubilee Park, Loyola school and XLRI college.   We stopped along the way to view a festival area that was under construction as shown in the photos below.  

  TATA Motors

The team toured the TATA Motor's Jamshedpur plant which produces heavy duty trucks at a rate of one each five minutes.   As you can see from the pictures, safety equipment was required as we rode through the various stages in touring vehicles, and saw their test track.

  TATA's Indian Cultural Center

  TATA's community service programs support numerous tribes in the area.  Twenty eight percent of the local population is of Tribal Heritage.  This population segment is very important to the TATA organization and noted in the Cultural Center.  

 Legend has it that the person whom can blow the Buffalo Horn will be blessed with ten years of good luck and quote relief.  With a mighty blast of the horn I realized that my grade school Trumpet lessons were finally paying off.

Community Volunteer Activity 

The team met, enjoyed snacks, and danced with the students and staff at the Rajkiyakritya Odiya Middle School.  Our time with the students was an inspiring and rewarding experience shared by all of the team members.  The team purchased two white boards, cricket equipment, and soccer balls for the school.  The children enjoyed the treats that we provided during our visit. 


Durga Puja

I can’t begin to describe the week long festival.  Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura.  Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomises the victory of Good over Evil. This is an annual event in which most businesses close for a day or more to enjoy the holiday.  Between scheduled customer meetings, the Puja festival events, and our commitments, it was time to finalize our recommendations and final report.  

 All of us were in the spirit of the celebration in our traditional attire. 

Executive Summary with the Deputy Commissioner, DC

During one of our first days meeting with Kalamandir we were invited to meet with the Deputy Commissioner, DR. Amitabh Kaushal, IAS. who was interested in the CSC project and how IBM could assist the four NGOs in his district.  After our initial discussion he requested that we return and present an overview of our Kalamandir project recommendations.   Three weeks later we returned with our Executive Overview of accomplishments and recommendations ranging from Social Media presence, forecasts, budgeting and a guide to replicate the success to other attractive across the State.    The meeting with the Deputy Commissioner went extremely well and he complimented the team for completed the work in such a short time.  A very important element of the work was the collaboration between Kalamandir and IBM examining key areas of their tourism, business management and social media sites.   

 The following morning there was a front page article in the Jamshedpur Newspaper regarding the partnering of Kalamandir and IBM.   For those of you that don’t read Hindi it roughly translates to; The Amadubit (Rural Tourism Center) is on the Map ( Google Map/Earth).    Market Awareness was a key concern concerned that we addressed through our Social Media recommendations.   We quickly completed several low costs high visibility projects by defining the location of the Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre on Google Map/Earth and provided tourist information on Trip Advisor.    The article compliments the great working relationship between IBM and Kalmandir as it relates to attracting greater tourism project. 

Ranchi Presentations

Since the project teams had accomplished so much, Kalamandir requested that we travel to Ranchi (State Capital)  to meet with the State Officials and again present our  recommendation.  India consists of 29 states and Jamshedpur in located in the state of Jharkhand.   Ranchi is a three hour drive over National Highway 33, a major east west two lane highway known for it’s heavy truck traffic.  

We reviewed the presentation material as we traveled to Ranchi. 


I took this picture while bracing myself for impact.  Yes it was a close call but not nearly as close as a few minutes earlier when a Large Mult Axle TATA truck decided to pass another truck on a curve.  Many thanks to our highly experienced driver for avoiding these accidents.  Six hours of travel that day on a NH33 was stressful for all of us.  

In Ranchi we met/presented to three separate Departments;  the Director of Tourism, Director of IT and the Director of Forestry.  In our discussions we were able to create a mental image of how the Social Media work at Kalamandir/Amadubi could be replicated across the state with little costs and maximum benefit.   

The Director of IT asked us to meet with other managers to discuss how they could benefit from enhancing their Social Media presence.

Our day in Ranchi was a great success so celebration the team wanted a picture on the steps of the State Capital.  The project was over and it was difficult to say goodbye to our friends.   All of us would have extended our stay if that were an option but it was time to say goodbye and return home. 

Oct 11 Train ride back to Kolkato

The train ride back to Kolkata was much quieter than our original trip.  The project reached another milestone when it was time to say goodbye to our global friends as we headed in different directions for vacation or to return home.   

Thank You

I want to start by thanking the Kalamandir Staff for their years of dedication to the Tribal Support projects, as well as, the Amadubi Center.  The new slogan of “Authentic, Rare and Amazing” certainly applies to these dedicated men and women.  Thank You for allowing us into your family for those four weeks.  It was sad to say goodbye but I know that there will always be a connection between each of us. 

To the CSC Program Management Team,  Thank You “So Very Much” for allowing this forty one year IBM veteran to join this young group of Global Leaders on such a worthwhile project. 

New Delhi

Four of us Micheal, Carol, Jakob and I headed off to New Delhi Saturday.    Sunday we were off to Agra for a tour of the Taj Mahal, Red Fort, lunch and a little shopping before returning to New Delhi.   Agra was a three hour drive each way but the Taj Mahal and Red Fort tours were well worth the long drive.
Kim Cox, Carol, Michelle and Jakob

  Monday was my sightseeing and shopping day in New Delhi.   I should have limited myself to sightseeing and saved my budget but it was a fun/relaxing day.   Everyone on my Christmas list will be getting a gift from India this year.   When the clock struck midnight I was off to the airport to catch my flights back home knowing that I have completed another chapter in my Book of Life.      

Thinking of all of you,           

Kim Cox
Summary of the Four Team's activities;

1. All India Womens Conference Kalyan Niketan, an affiliate of AIWC New Delhi, is internationally recognized and is one of the oldest nongovernmental organizations in India. AIWC is managed by women for women. The organization provides opportunities for economic independence to women who are poor or widowed and to enable physically handicapped persons to lead dignified lives. The ask from the organization was for the IBM team to deliver a growth strategy with marketing, financial, operational insights/recommendations to:
  • Address lack of market identity/ branding
  • Improve profitability of existing product lines
  • Mitigate sole customer/product dependence on Tata Steel
Within the constraints of a short time to address the challenges, IBM team was successful in recommending a blue print to build a long term strategy for AIWC Kalyan Niketan, to keep it true to the cause of empowering women.
This blue print included 15-18 month roadmaps for addressing the short term challenges and building a sustainable strategy towards 1) Building their brand, 2) Building the finances, 3) Building the organization and finally 4) Building the governing board. The blue print was supplemented by Financial, Branding and Leadership workshops and the team enabled the client with financial tools to build budgets, forecasts, calculate IRR of investments and leadership tools for brainstorming - all to turn around the cultural and financial challenges that AIWC was under.

2. School of Hope runs a day school for children with developmental disabilities. The school currently has 172 students enrolled in it ranging between the ages of 5 to 34 years. The children admitted to the school have a range of disabilities including mental retardation (mild, moderate, severe), autism, loco-motor disabilities, and Downs syndrome.
Our goal was to provide a long term plan that will allow the School of Hope to become a Pool of excellence for students and professionals to provide the best environment for mainstreaming the mentally challenged people.
Tata who is the major sponsor has a unique opportunity to help those children to be part of the society. The following areas will be directly impacted:
  • Expand researches for mentally disabled students by partnership with Tata Hospital and medical universities
  • Increase the awareness of needs and rights for people mentally disabled decreasing stigma
  • Grow SOH to be a reference center as a pool of inclusion for students
  • Master this subject area and raise an institute to train the teachers across India
  • Change the way parents handle and face their children increasing chances of improvement by training
  • Promote early intervention to detect any kind of children disabilities

3. Family Planning Association of India - Medical and Diagnostic Center (MDC), Singhbhum, utilizes a paper process to manage patient health records which restricts the growth of the hospital while negatively affecting patient trust and limiting the efficiency of patient care. IBM recommended an open source Hospital Information System (HIS) that will be easily searchable and accessible while satisfying the hospital’s medical and financial process requirements. Once fully implemented, this system is estimated to save the staff 4,700 working hours per year while reducing the rate of data entry errors by 90%.

4. Kalamandir is an organization dedicated to promoted, preserving and sharing tribal arts, cultures, and traditions. The project objectives were to recommend:
  • an integrated marketing and communications strategy for rural tourism at Kalamandir’s Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre, and
  • principles for replicating and scaling the existing Amadubi rural tourism program to other areas in the state of Jharkhand.
Kalamandir started implementing many of the key recommendations related to branding and social media while IBM was on site, and has continued to follow the recommendations since. By implementing IBM’s recommendations, Kalamandir will increase revenues and visitors to the Amadubi Rural Tourism Centre by over 350% by the end of 2015; 93% of the revenue generated through tourism will remain within the village.

Kim Cox Clearwater FL