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Icons of Progress

Corporate Service Corps


By the end of 2011, close to 1500 IBMers from around the world will have served in the Corporate Service Corps (CSC), touching communities in more than 20 developing countries since the 2008 launch of this international service and leadership-training program. The scope of CSC projects is sweeping, intersecting business, technology and society. Participants have worked on projects that range from building a strategy for Danang City, Vietnam, to attract small and midsize businesses; to developing new technologies that support a burgeoning tourism market in the East African country of Tanzania; to helping prevent violence and promote digital entrepreneurship in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Whether targeting disaster recovery, basic infrastructure, economic development, business processes, information and communication technologies, or one of the many other issues vital to healthy businesses and communities, CSC volunteers are joining together to improve the lives of the world’s citizens.

Building a smarter city in Katowice

The city of Katowice in southern Poland has struggled through the loss of tens of thousands of coal mining and other heavy industry jobs over the past 20 years in the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Katowice’s forward-looking mayor, Piotr Uszok, hopes to bring high-tech and service industry jobs to his city. In 2010, he enlisted the help of an executive CSC team to develop an economic renewal plan to rejuvenate Katowice. Among the team’s recommendations were updated architecture and the addition of pedestrian zones.

Bringing positive change to Sao Paulo

The first CSC team in Brazil traveled to the capital city, Sao Paulo, in 2009, working with six area non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The team worked to help prevent violence, shore up community education in underserved areas, and promote scientific education, digital inclusion, digital entrepreneurship and diversity in entrepreneurship. Each CSC team is composed of IBMers from all over the world, preparing to be leaders in a globally integrated enterprise.

Supporting fair pricing for Gulbarga’s small farmers

In Gulbarga, India, IBMers teamed with Myrada, a non-governmental organization that supports small farmers. When tur dal (yellow lentils) crop prices rose sharply in 2009, Myrada helped create a local exchange to protect the area’s small farmers. IBMers provided a third-party assessment of the initiative, as well as recommendations that helped map out a clear role for each of its stakeholders. The Gulbarga project was completed by a team from IBM’s Corporate Service Corps Executive (CSCE) program, a component of the CSC program that sends teams composed exclusively of executive-level IBMers to work on three-week projects.

Strengthening processes in organizations throughout India

CSC volunteers have completed a wide range of projects in India since the first team traveled there in 2009. Projects have included helping the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India track its assets and inventory; assisting Bangalore-based Parikrama Humanity Foundation—a non-profit organization providing educational services to the country’s underserved urban children—to reach a broader donor base; and creating a web-based teacher evaluation system for government schools in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Powering HIV/AIDS education in Tanzania

IBMers Nitish Kumar (India) and Colleen Inches (US) were part of a CSC team that worked with the African Wildlife Foundation in the Arusha region, near Mount Kilimanjaro, in March 2009. Using their Internet and software expertise, the team helped integrate HIV/AIDS education into the Foundation’s natural-resource management program, and also taught at a local school.