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Transforming business, technology and society

No enterprise thrives for a century if it does not do two things supremely well. It must have a clear sense of its enduring purpose and values. And it must continuously transform everything else about itself.

At IBM, of course, we transform technology. We have been a leader in every era of computing in the modern age — from tabulating, to programming, to the new age of cognitive computing, pioneered by IBM’s breakthrough Watson system. We have not waited for others to disrupt us. For 104 years, we have disrupted ourselves.

But it doesn’t stop there. IBM became the iconic modern corporation by innovating everything from equal employment and diversity to environmental stewardship and privacy policy.

Most broadly, we have helped shape modern industry and society. IBM created the information infrastructure for finance, air travel, education, security, energy, and beyond. We enabled Social Security. We helped create the field of computer science. We helped put a man on the moon. Today, with Watson, we are helping transform healthcare.

Purpose-driven transformation is in our DNA. IBMers have always taken this on as a personal goal. It’s why people come here — the chance to reinvent not just technology and business, but the world.

In this report, you will see what this looks like in practice — how we integrate both our citizenship and business strategies, driving systemic societal transformation across every dimension of our engagement with civil society. And you will see it not just in programs, but in the passion and innovation of individuals.

For example:

Transforming school. This June, the first class of students at Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, New York, graduated. P-TECH is not just a new program — it is a new model of education, providing a high school diploma, a cost-free associate degree and a pathway to the jobs of the future. Since its launch in 2011, P-TECH has expanded rapidly, with expectations of reaching nearly 100,000 students in 100 schools in the United States and Australia by 2016. Students in the inaugural P-TECH class started taking college-level courses in 10th grade. Six of them graduated two years ahead of schedule, and three of those are coming to work at IBM. I couldn’t be prouder of these kids, whose stories tell of lives transformed and an initiative that can transform education in America.

Transforming teacher support. In September 2014, IBM unveiled the proof of concept for a new way to improve teaching. Applying IBM's breakthrough cognitive computing system Watson, it provides just-in-time guidance and mentorship to teachers. In much the same way that Watson is helping doctors identify the best medical treatment, we will now help early-grade math teachers unlock their students' passion for math through personalized lessons and learning strategies. Free to all teachers, the pilot begins in New York State this Fall. More grades and subject areas will be added in years to come.

Transforming citizen diplomacy. Through more than a thousand teams across 35 countries, more than 3,000 IBMers have made Corporate Service Corps — IBM’s pioneering program modeled on the Peace Corps — into a new model of citizen diplomacy, leadership development, and public-private collaboration. These high-performing IBMers have tackled issues ranging from the environment, to healthcare, to economic growth. The US State Department said that CSC has reimagined the role of global business in the developing world. It has also given thousands of IBMers a life-changing growth experience.

Transforming cities. Through IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge®, the company’s largest citizenship initiative, more than 700 IBMers have worked with leaders of 116 cities to reimagine their approach to long-standing problems — including neighborhood decline in Syracuse, New York, sustainable growth in Perth, Australia, and economic growth in Zapopan, Mexico. Cities around the world compete for Smarter Cities Challenge grants, with 16 new winners announced in May 2015. And more than 5,000 Impact Grants have enabled thousands of IBM pro bono consultants to help urban not-for-profits in more than 70 countries.

These and many other examples of societal transformation at scale are described in this report. You’ll read about new approaches to disaster recovery, about more than 270,000 IBMers who have engaged in improving their communities through the On Demand Community, and more. These efforts are central to why we are confident about IBM enjoying a second century of success.

We aim to be essential to our clients and to the world. We are able to be so, thanks to a group of people united by a distinctive purpose, by shared values and by daily practices that make their values real. These are IBMers, who are the true authors of this report.

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Virginia M. Rometty

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer