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Deadline: February 6, 2015

IBM: Smarter Cities Challenge

The Smarter Cities Challenge contributes the skills and expertise of teams of top-talent IBMers to address the key challenges facing cities around the world. Over the past 4 years, 115 cities have been selected to receive grants, each valued at $500,000. Winning cities have used the recommendations prepared by Smarter Cities Challenge teams to make substantive progress on a diverse array of urban issues. The Smarter Cities Challenge is IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, with contributions to date valued at over $50 million.

Cities apply to the Smarter Cities Challenge by identifying a top strategic challenge that they propose to advance with IBM’s support. Winning cities receive a team of 5-6 IBM experts that deploys to the winning city to work closely with the city leadership for a 3-week period on their proposed challenge. During the project, the IBM team gathers and analyzes all available data, meets with dozens of stakeholders in government, business, not-for-profits and other organizations to gather diverse perspectives about root causes and potential solutions to the challenge at hand, and assesses examples of success implemented by other cities that might be valuable to review. At the end of the engagement, the IBM team delivers strategic recommendations and an implementation plan in a presentation and a written report that draw upon the technical experience and strategic insight of the IBM team, city staff and community members.

Past winners have implemented their Smarter Cities Challenge recommendations to tangibly improve the lives of their citizens, including the following in the past year:

  • Glasgow, United Kingdom announced a new one million pound fuel subsidy to provide affordable warmth to low-income elderly citizens. The city also won a $40 million grant from the Technology Strategy Board.
  • Jacksonville, Florida unveiled JaxScore, a public-facing dashboard that provides information on the city’s performance and progress on its top economic development priorities including building permits issued, jobs created, veterans served, and more.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa has implemented a comprehensive technology solution to address crime, public safety and emergency management.
  • Nanjing, China implemented a multi- platform social media strategy that engaged over 2 million people for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
  • Porto Alegre, Brazil created Digital PoA, a program supporting the city’s new policy of open data and which facilitates two-way dialogue among citizens, city officials, collectives and local organizations.
  • Syracuse, New York announced that the first year of its land bank program, which used IBM insights to identify homes to revitalize, had secured a 69% increase in collection of delinquent property taxes and fees compared to the previous year.
  • Townsville, Australia earned the prestigious National Smart Infrastructure Award for the IBM / Townsville Smart Water Pilot currently underway to reduce water consumption.

Amount: In-kind support from IBM, as a team of IBM experts work with the cities over a three week period.

Eligibility: For the 2015 cycle, the Smarter Cities Challenge is open to local and regional general-purpose governing bodies, including cities, counties, prefectures, boroughs, and districts. Special districts, such as port authorities, school districts or utility districts, are not eligible for the program at this time. For the first time, cities that have previously received a Smarter Cities Challenge grant are eligible to apply for a second grant.

Link: http://smartercitieschallenge.org/index.html

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