First day of work

Our day began at the IBM office in Nairobi, where we visited the new IBM Innovation Center, which opened just two months ago and was very impressive.  There are about 150 IBM staff working in the office here.

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We received a very warm welcome from our colleagues there, and I was able to meet my Kenyan “buddy”, Dorothy.

Our three sub-teams spent the day together, and we had the great opportunity to have a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of ICT (Information, Communications, and Technology), Dr. Ndemo Bitange , who was a brilliant man and so passionate about his work.  He has spent the past 7 years in this cabinet position, but the next day will be his last due to the change in government.  He was a very gracious host to our group, and genuinely interested in our projects, giving us all very solid input and advice.  For our group, he recommended Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks.  One of his comments is that there is no good mechanism in Kenya to identify and nourish talent.

On several instances he mentioned how big data was being used in Kenya, one of which is a project now going on to analyze data samples of those diagnosed with cervical cancer to be able to better predict and prevent the disease.  He gave another example of how how big data had been used to detect a rise in throat cancer due to environmental causes.

We had a delicious typical Kenyan buffet lunch just a short walk from the IBM office which, like many meals, included a goat dish.  I’ve been enjoying the Kenyan food, which generally seems to consist of rice, mashed potatoes mixed with veggies, various types of meats and fish, and greens, served with chapatti bread.  There seems to be quite a bit of Indian influence on the food here in Nairobi.

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#ibmcsc Kenya

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