I’m writing this blog from Porto Alegre: one of the largest cities in the south of Brazil. Actually, I’m one of the 48 fortunates that have been selected for the SAP Social Sabbatical Program, part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. 48 ‘top talents’ with 30 different nationalities are going to make themselves useful within SME companies in emerging markets to broaden their knowledge of intercultural work and improve their leadership skills.
After many weeks of virtual meetings while preparing I only met the members of my team, twelve enthusiasts, after arriving in Brazil.
We called our team ‘Team Guaiba’ (Our hash tag we use to twitter about the program is teamguaiba), and we’re going to brainstorm about communication challenges for this city. I’m going to put my expertise (‘mobile’) and experience to use for local government.
Getting to work…
This means that we’re going to be deliberating over the optimization of the communication between public service employees and
residents. This could involve ‘green areas’ in the city, water and refuse amenities. The goal is to optimize the current processes for the ‘fala 156’ call center and the POA’s services. The technology necessary for this is central to our project. I am of course involved in the deployment of mobile technologies for optimizing the communication. Working at ‘city hall’ guarantees rubbing shoulders with the mayor (see photo). During the course of this program, I’ll be working closely with two American colleagues Jason Tissera and Marykay Grueneberg.
y team mates when I say that this is a unique opportunity that is not likely to recur very soon!I’ve been to many places for my work, but this is my first time in Brazil. The Brazilians are a relaxed bunch and work at a different pace than we used to in the Netherlands. In general, they have a short-term vision and agenda. If you’ve made an appointment, you have to alwaysare ‘just double-check’ on the day itself. You see, in 90% of all cases the plans have changed. But I’m a quick adapter ;-). I think that I don’t just speak for myself but also for my team mates when I say that this is a unique opportunity that is not likely to recur very soon!
On Children’s Day in Brazil we rolled our sleeves up. We got the opportunity, through a team building trip, to participate in some
volunteer work. We painted the family center ‘Aldeia da fraternidade (Village of Brotherhood) together with a group. In this center, support is offered to about 300 children. It’s just like my colleague says: ‘Celebrating Children’s Day – SAP style!’
This country has 200 million inhabitants and together they own 220 million mobile telephones. The telephones with which we can call and text each other are a little dated. Although you see a lot of smartphones out and about in Brazil, we’re faced with withdrawal symptoms;-). My colleague Sarah Larson shows off her mobile phone, but she can’t get used to it and doesn’t want to return to the pre-smartphone era. Me neither.
Interested in following my Brazilian adventure?
Follow me on twitter (@MartijnTielen)!