Thursday, January 23, 2014

Background on the IBM Corporate Service Corps Program

The Corporate Service Corps program was launched in 2008 and by the end of 2013, over 2,400 IBM employees will have participated. The program empowers high achieving IBM employees to perform community-driven economic development projects in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, working at the intersection of business, technology and society. The Corporate Service Corps has had a positive impact of the lives of more the 140000 people through skills transfer and capacity building. Many thousands more have been positively impacted through the services of the organisations the Corporate Service Corps has supported.
IBM selects top management prospects and then trains and dispatches these leaders to emerging markets around the world. Participants spend four weeks in groups of 10 to 15 to help solve economic and social problems of their selected communality. Teams work collaboratively with their government and community counterparts to understand how to implement socially responsible business practices with measurable results in a global context.
A broad array of skills is represented in each team as employees are drawn from across IBM’s business units and geographical locations. Participants are emerging leaders who bring a unique perspective and desire to increase their cultural awareness and knowledge of effective business and service delivery practices. Participants must easily adapt and excel in challenging global environments where they hone their problem solving and teaming skills.
The teams spend three months preparing for their assignments in a robust curriculum that includes education about their host countries, project problem statements, and time for team building via teleconferences and social networking websites. Participants who are not from the consulting practice also immerse themselves in consulting methodology appropriate for working in emerging markets. On location, teams work with local governments, universities, and business groups on a variety of initiatives ranging from upgrading technology for a government agency, increasing international tourism to a government funded poverty alleviation initiative, working with artisans to improving public water quality.
The result is a triple benefit to the IBMers, the community, and to IBM. A global business and service perspective is instilled in program participants and community partners through a dynamic business environment promoting social, business, and economic development. The Corporate Service Corps program enables significant, scalable contributions to global communities while cultivating effective global leaders.

There are also a number of great articles in the press, I have copied a few below for you to check out:

June 12, 2013 Lessons from IBM's skills-based 'service corps'
Through its Corporate Service Corps, IBM has sent more than 2,400 volunteers to lend their skills to organizations in the developing world - and set the standard for corporate volunteerism programs. Devex Impact talked with Gina Tesla, IBM's director of corporate citizenship, and Deirdre White, CEO of CDC Development Solutions, about how the program has become increasingly sophisticated.

July 12, 2013 Gen Y demands: What companies are doing to keep young employees happy and motivated - The Economic Times of India
"Gen Y looks beyond money and the commercial objectives of the company, and aspires to work with an organisation that is associated with a larger purpose," says Sripada Chandrasekhar, VP and head - HR, IBM India & South Asia. IBM has realised that this generation has a social conscience, among other things.
The organisation started Corporate Service Corps, which partners governments and nonprofits in emerging markets around the world. The best performing young employees are made part of this group wherein they offer expertise in technology and management consulting to address pressing problems of the community. "This initiative has proven to add value for all the three stakeholders: communities, IBM employees, especially the millennials and IBM," says Chandrasekhar.

July 25, 2013 Emerging Voices: Public-Private Partners in Development - Council on Foreign Relations
“What would happen if every Fortune 500 company fielded 100 employees per year?” asked Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM Foundation and vice president of IBM’s Corporate Citizenship efforts, speaking about the long-term potential of the initiatives he oversees. “Collectively, we would deploy 50,000 of the most talented leaders around the world to solve some of the most difficult problems facing society.” IBM, which is celebrating the five-year anniversary of its Corporate Service Corps, the largest program of its kind, recently deployed a team of volunteers to Brazil to work with Casa da Criança, a NGO that serves youth centers across the country. Since 1999, the organization has managed over $19 million in donated products and services; mobilized 2,000 architects, interior designers, and artists; and has worked with nearly 30,000 partner companies.

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