Anton McConville
Digital Designer & Developer
Packing For Brazil

Well, my suitcase is mostly packed for Brazil, for a 5 week stay there.

Four of those weeks will be working on a not for profit assignment. It is surprisingly not for profit, given that my time in Brazil will be paid for by my employer, IBM!

In fact, we have been coached to be independently minded - although we represent IBM, we put ourselves in the shoes of our client, and use whatever solutions make sense, economically, technologically, strategically, from whatever vendor.

For the final week, I’ll be traveling with newfound friends/colleagues who have also traveled to Brasil for the assignment. We’ll visit Rio De Janeiro, and spend a few days in the Amazon Basin - a bucket list dream come true for me.

Traveling for work

The past two years have been an incredible experience for me. I’ve traveled to Europe, the US and South America to share my cloud app concepts, and talk about my approach to apps, at developer conferences. Almost all of those presentations have been through a ‘Call For Paper’ process. They’ve been picked because the apps are interesting.

When I’ve traveled before, I’ve been excited, and curious … but I know that each time, it is a trip that lasts just a few days … I’m usually never away from home for more than a week.

This time, traveling feels different. For one thing it is a longer spell. For another, this matters to me more than sharing my apps does ( and my app concepts certainly matter to me ).

Something definitely feels different in this trip. For me it is a chance to step out of the life I have in Ottawa, and learn about myself in a different setting, ambushed on all sides by a variety of cultures - from countries, roles and life experiences.

Software for good

I’ve shared before, that I’ve made a LOT of software for profit - in telecoms, banks, car companies, aircraft companies, retailers.

But I’ve also worked on lots of side projects thinking about how software can tackle everyday, unprofitable, human problems.

I’ve tried with an app for ShelterBox, helping non profits through Random Hacks of Kindness, Aquahacking and even with Kanata Soccer. In recent years I’ve been digging into natural language - using it to think about humanized interfaces and self expression.

I’m excited to think for only really the second time about government on this assignment … and more deeply about ‘smarter cities.’

For all the talk of ‘smarter cities’ I haven’t seen many compelling app examples. It feels like a great opportunity to learn about this Brasilian city through the services the city offers, while understanding the people within it - through their use of the city portal.

Let’s see what we learn :)