Oct 28th 2010 | NEW YORK
“IT WAS like going back to graduate-student days. We all had nicknames and were hanging out together,” says Guruduth Banavar, a senior executive at IBM. He recently spent time volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as part of a six-person team put together by the IBM Corporate Service Corps, working pro bono with the city government to help develop new strategies in areas ranging from public transport and water supply to food safety and innovation.
Launched in 2007 as a “corporate version of the Peace corps”, the programme is now being scaled up to 500 IBMers a year. Although many companies encourage their employees to do voluntary work, and some (such as Pfizer, a drugs firm) send them overseas to work with local community organizations, the IBM Corps reinvents the idea in several important ways, not least in its scale and its overt goal of doing well by doing good.