The Corporate Service Corps has been successful at “doing well by doing good.” The program foments progress for the global community, while simultaneously building leaders with the global experience and cross-cultural skills IBM will need to prosper in the twenty-first century.
“The CSC really marked the beginning of a transformation for IBM. We went from what I would characterize as ‘checkbook philanthropy,’ which is writing checks to solve problems, into a more substantive and meaningful contribution, which is helping people solve their problems.”
“Building a High Performance Culture,” MeetTheBoss TV,2010
“What we as a company get is leaders with a broader range of skills that can function in a global context. What the individual participant gets is a unique set of leadership opportunities and development experiences. And what communities get are IBM’s best problem-solving skills. It’s a triple benefit.”
“Now, many hundreds of IBMers from anywhere in the world can take direct action on the world’s most pressing problems, experiencing the satisfaction [of their CSC project]. Service corps members will take that learning back to their countries and translate it how they do business and how they think about the world. Imagine the cumulative impact, as it ripples through and beyond IBM’s 386,000 people and their work in 170 countries.”
SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good2009
“The cities we target for the Corporate Service Corps often don’t have… [a] pre-existing backbone. We have to start from scratch to create the infrastructure, which has advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes it’s easier to create a new smart water treatment plant than to retrofit an old one to make it smarter.”
“IBM’s Corporate Service Corps Heading to Six Emerging Countries to Spark Socio-Economic Growth While Developing Global Leaders,” IBM press release,March 26, 2008
“Results demonstrate that the CSC experience helped employees gain a number of leadership skills, particularly leading in a globally integrated enterprise. For example, many employees noted in the open-ended questions their increased ability to establish network ties and work with others through language and cultural differences. They also expressed a much greater appreciation for working with a team.… Participants very strongly felt that they had changed as a person as a result of being exposed to the culture of their assignment, as well as from living in close quarters with a diverse group of other IBMers.”
Corporate Service Corps participants overwhelmingly report that their experiences in the program have a lasting influence on their lives. From the cultural and business lessons learned via immersion in the workaday routines of the host countries, to the newfound friendships with clients and IBM colleagues from around the world, to the unique opportunities for personal growth—the fruits of the program are evident in the words of CSC alumni.
“I had a touching lunch with one of my IBM colleagues today and we stumbled onto a topic that brings tears to my eyes as I think about it. I asked him, ‘are there certain things from your experience here that you will take back with you?’ I said, for example, I don’t think I will ever wear my shoes in the house again. And I think I may keep my vegetarian diet when I go home. And then it just dawned on me. It’s not that simple. It is not a matter of what I will bring back and what I won’t... it is my core self that has changed. I look at life differently.”
“It’s always good to be home, but Turkey was a gracious host and provided an unbelievable experience that translates into a life-long memory. … thank you to IBM and its senior leadership team for supporting such an amazing program that develops people and emerging cities and countries, and helps progress us toward a smarter planet.”
“It’s been an incredible month, where we’ve been together 24-7 for the whole 30 days. We have gotten to know each other very well in this short time and have all now have gained new ‘family members’ and have new homes around the world: Japan, Taiwan, India, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Norway, US and Brazil.”
“We finished our projects with presentations at the gala Thursday night. …The presentations were followed by words from all the clients. It was then I really realized that we were here helping to create something special. Each client spoke of the special efforts that the IBM teams had put in, and how they valued that, but more so how they valued the friendships they had built. [The clients] have all made an impression on me with how much they care about making Limpopo a better place to live. I consider them friends and I will work to maintain these relationships.”
“The goodbyes have started… As a mom and wife who cannot wait to get home to her family, this whole experience is emotionally challenging. … I have learned so much from the people of Tanzania – but I will take away a lifetime of memories and lessons from my teammates.”
“June 1st 2010, completed one year since our return from Philippines as CSC participants. It makes me so proud to be an IBMer. IBM’s CSC program has helped me … a lot in further enhancing my leadership skills. The program is unique that it helps break geographical boundaries, encourages you to push yourself in all possible imaginable areas of work and human relationships. It truly makes us ‘Global Citizens.’ Thank you IBM.”