IBM – Project Description

In 2011 IBM instituted a “Smarter Cities” initiative and offered grants to cities who would implement a “Smarter Cities” program. Both Chicago and Milwaukee applied and were chosen to take part in this initiative. The program was comprised of a four week plan whereby a team of six IBM staffers from across the world would live in the city, study their current system and develop a “Smarter City” plan. Housing was a critical component for the team as budgets were tight and the team needed private bedrooms, bathrooms, eat in kitchen and a meeting room where they could spread out all of their work materials and develop the city’s plan from start to finish, sometimes putting in very long days. A large home, as opposed to renting hotel rooms and eating out for an entire month, was the key to this team bonding, working succinctly and presenting a meaningful plan to that respective city.

In each city, PEC developed a plan, researched the viable options and worked with local officials to obtain the best possible options for the team. Each city posed unique challenges. While Chicago is a large and vibrant city, homes of this size available for short-term month lease in the downtown region were far and few between. Milwaukee, while not as vast, had its separate challenges. Homes of that size were only available outside the city limits and finding a home with six bedrooms and six bathrooms was simply not readily available. In each case, PEC was able to locate and negotiate a win-win solution for everyone. In the end, each city was awarded the “Smarter Cities” grant and all the items purchased for each home was donated to a local non-profit organization.

PEC was instrumental in handling every detail prior to each team’s arrival right down to delivering the household items after departure. We were the only meeting planning firm asked to assist with two separate cities.