Meet the Press
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We started our Executive Service Corps assignment in earnest this morning in Da Nang, Vietnam. To kick-off the assignment, we were hosted at the Da Nang Software Park to introduce ourselves to the Da Nang city government departments, describe the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, describe IBM Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities initiatives, and congratulate the city of Da Nang on being one of 33 cities across the world to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant.
I delivered the presentation to the audience of local government leaders and members of the local media, both print and television. With the help of the team, I described the IBM Smarter Planet and Smarter Cities vision and formally announced the city of Da Nang as a IBM Smarter Cities Challenge recipient. This was followed by a question and answer session with those in attendance. What a great experience!
With the formalities completed, each our sub-teams separated and met with different government departments in the afternoon:
In our meetings with the Department of Health, we learned many things about the current operations and procedures of the department in the area of health inspections, food preparation, and gathering information pertaining to food-related health incidents across the city of Da Nang. We will use this information as we develop strategies for bringing smarter cities capabilities to the city.
One interesting fact about the City of Da Nang is that the city is divided into seven districts. These districts vary widely in their physical size and make-up. Some of the districts are very urban and densely populated. Three of the districts border on the seafront. And one of the districts, Hoa Vang, is very large extends far to the west into the mountainous region inland from the sea. Each of these districts faces different types of challenges in the area of food safety.
Everyone is very excited to be working with the local government in fact-finding mode this week. We will use this information as input into building recommendations over the course of our assignment.
As a parting note for this blog article – the food in Vietnam just continues to get better and better. I tried, for the first time yesterday, a fruit called Durian. If you can get past the initial smell, it's really not bad. Think ripe mango with the consistency of cooked sweet potatoes.
And tonight, we had cooked giant prawns – bigger than I had ever seen before:
Most of that is head (which you don't eat), with the body section underneath the exo-skeleton which you dig into and enjoy. A dipping sauce of salt/pepper/spices, lime juice, and a bit of mayonnaise was served on the side. Very good!