The inaugural award was given to 50 professors in 14 countries around the world in recognition of individual achievement and the faculty member’s potential to create course materials that address problems in cities, healthcare, and transportation systems. Banerjee’s selection signifies one of the many ways in which Brandeis International Business School is collaborating with the information technology industry to provide students with new ways learn about and apply cutting-edge technologies.
"If the current drives toward greening and globalization are behind sweeping changes in the business world, then information technology has unquestionably been the catalyst,” says Banerjee. “I am honored to receive this award from IBM – a company that keeps managing to reinvent itself, and is truly changing the way we work and live.”
As a winner, Banerjee will receive $10,000 to develop a faculty guide to CityOne, the world’s first Smarter Planet interactive simulation designed by IBM. CityOne was created to help business and civic leaders discover how to make their cities and industries smarter by solving real-world business, environmental and logistical problems and visualize the consequences of their actions in a visceral way.
“Games teach important strategic thinking skills that will prepare students for the global marketplace,” says Banerjee. “I believe that developing a combination of IT and business skills is critical for our students as they graduate and take on leadership roles at companies and institutions around the globe."
CityOne presents a unique opportunity for business leaders, city planners and government agencies to develop and budget improvements that address the challenges facing today's global cities. Delivered as a simulation game, players have the opportunity to explore more than 100 real-world scenarios to transform cities through technologies that reduce traffic congestion, save water, streamline supply chains and tap alternative energy sources through a series of crisis scenarios.
Banerjee’s faculty guide will help the company launch the game at business schools by teaching professors how to use CityOne in their courses, offering suggestions for classroom discussion, and providing supplemental reading materials.
“In CityOne, players get an up-close look at how, for example, water management systems interact with the energy sector and banking and retail industries,” she says. “This game helps people understand the impact of multiple stakeholders because players make decisions after careful consideration of the community, workers, shareholders, even competitors. It helps them figure out all that’s at stake. Our school is built on the principles of social justice and social responsibility, which is why CityOne is such an obvious fit for Brandeis.”
Banerjee has worked closely with IBM in several ways, including organizing site visits for students at the company’s Lexington, MA-based offices, hosting senior IBM officials on campus for panel discussions and lectures, and giving presentations at Brandeis and IBM on using games in the classroom.
In 2007, with Banerjee's involvement, Brandeis became the first business schools in the world to use Innov8, an interactive 3D video game designed to educate students on real-world business problems by identifying an issue and solving it with technology. Also that year, Brandeis joined IBM's Academic Initiative, a program offering a range of technology education benefits to meet the goals of colleges and universities.