IBM and City of Johannesburg collaborate for smarter public safety

IBM’s Executive Service Corps and the City Of Johannesburg (CoJ) have successfully collaborated to develop a five year public safety strategy.

November 18, 2011

Pro bono Project Assists City of Johannesburg with Smarter Cities Vision

IBM’s Executive Service Corps and the City Of Johannesburg (CoJ) have successfully collaborated to develop a five year public safety strategy. The collaboration process is in line with the CoJ’s commitment to becoming a smarter city as part of the GDS 2040 vision.

MMC for Public Safety for CoJ, Councillor Matshido Mfikoe says that as the City of Johannesburg strives to become a smart city – making it a safer city, especially for its more vulnerable residents, is a priority. “It’s a priority that requires creative thinking in order to find effective long-term solutions.”

“In this project, we agreed to define a five year roadmap for smart public safety.  The roadmap consists of the specific public safety actions to be implemented, by area of public safety in specified time frames.  The primary purpose of the roadmap is to establish the key milestones that need be undertaken by CoJ to move toward smart public safety in the next five years.” says Ron Dombroski, Executive Service Corps team member and Director for Global Market Analysis at IBM.

The IBM Executive Service Corps undertook a intensive three week review of existing CoJ project initiatives and public safety operations.Key resource challenges, such as funding, expertise, and inconsistent business community support were identified, along with execution challenges and structural challenges. A “big five” of safety elements were identified together with details of how crime prevention & investigation, asset management & infrastructure safety, crisis & emergency response, community education & engagement, and governance & integrated intelligence would integrate into a single roadmap.

“Community safety and fulfilling our approach towards becoming a smarter city is not just about curbing crime. It is about a multitude of factors as the level of the individual and community that contribute to the well-being of the city’s people – for example: traffic safety; hazards such as fire, weather-related, and environmental factors; crowding and conditions of deprivation; family systems; and community network.” says Mfikoe.

“It’s been remarkable to witness the spirit of collaboration between the CoJ and the Executive Service Corps,” says Oliver Fortuin, General Manager for IBM South Africa. Fortuin also says that the Public Safety Roadmap is a completely pragmatic outcome for the project. “It’s not only providing Johannesburg with key milestones that most need to improved in public safety, but also a disciplined and measured approach.”

The IBM Executive Service Corps is a variant of the company’s acclaimed Corporate Service Corps program, which provides local communities with pro bono consulting expertise of IBM’s top talent, while training them to be 21st century leaders.  Since the launch of the Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 120 team assignments in 24 countries.  

Africa is a special focus for Corporate Service Corps, as the program’s benefits match Africa’s need for highly skilled problem solvers to develop technology infrastructure, as well as civic, business and social institutions.  Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 300 of IBM’s most talented employees on approximately 40 teams to South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt.

The company announced in September 2011 that it will double the number of emerging leaders it sends on pro-bono assignments to Africa during the next three years, and plans to send roughly 600 employees to Africa through 2015.

For the engagement with the City Of Johannesburg, IBM worked with CDC Development Solutions, a nonprofit organisation, for planning and logistical support.