The International Committee of the Red Cross joins IMD business school’s Corporate Learning Network
Humanitarian aid. Help for victims of conflict and armed violence. Joyous moments of relief and reuniting family. These are among the images most have when thinking of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
But with more than 12,000 people working across 80 countries for a common cause, the ICRC shares many of the same challenges in management and talent development that occur in the world of business. Running any large scale organization requires skill and to better refine their leadership efforts, the ICRC has partnered with IMD business school’s Corporate Learning Network (CLN).
"From management to budget, our organization has many similarities with business,” said Claude Voillat, ICRC Economic Advisor. "Although we don’t have shareholders, we have donors and we must be accountable to them.”
In order to ensure the organization is run most efficiently, Voillat believes the ICRC partnership with IMD will make it possible to equip key decision makers with the latest management practices. Further, ICRC leaders will have the opportunity to work with IMD faculty to solve specific challenges, whether they be in implementing a strategy, innovation or human resources.
But for the ICRC, the benefits of IMD’s CLN don’t stop there. They extend much further through online knowledge that can be accessed around the world by ICRC employees. But as Voillat emphasizes, one of the most important benefits is in the network.
"In today’s world we see more and more involvement of business actors in the humanitarian world and, with this trend, we think it is important we understand their positions and interact better with them,” Voillat said. "We have a lot of opportunities to meet peers in humanity, NGOs and government, but the CLN is a good bridge to interact with a new crowd of economic actors as most members are corporate, coming from the private sector.”
Tailoring CLN offerings and events to meet the needs of the ICRC
"We are delighted for the opportunity to work with the ICRC and look forward to addressing the challenges they face,” said Paul Hunter, Director of IMD’s Corporate Learning Network. "At IMD we believe the key to a better future lies in responsible leadership. In bringing together leaders from various sectors, all parties will only become stronger in their understanding and approach in dealing with the business landscape of today.”
"We see this very much as a two-way street,” Hunter said. "ICRC delegates and business executives have much to bring to each other in terms of learning and perspective.”
ICRC’s unconventional move to partner with IMD follows in the footsteps of another pioneer in merging sectors, the WWF. In 2007 the WWF became the first NGO to provide talent development at IMD.
"Indeed, we were intrigued by the WWF’s involvement with IMD and convinced from their experience that the CLN would be a good fit with ICRC,” Voillat said.
"Among peers, it’s clear that there is a belief that organizations like ours should connect more with business. This is a trend that will continue.”