When Microsoft wanted to introduce a program that combined leadership development with corporate responsibility, they turned to Emerging World for help. Front Lines is an award-winning experience, co-created by Microsoft and Emerging World, and Sage Ways. It was designed to not only inspire and stretch Microsoft leaders, but also support their partners and customers working in international development to address important strategic challenges.

To date, around 80 Microsoft leaders have travelled to Africa, Southeast Asia and South America to learn new perspectives on emerging markets, corporate responsibility and national competitiveness. Using a facilitated Action Learning group approach, the participants worked in teams to support a range of NGOs, small businesses and multi-lateral agencies – exploring real business problems and sharing the skills and knowledge that have contributed to making Microsoft so successful over the years.

Emerging World helped design the program, organize the curriculum, engage the partners involved, support delivery, and manage the impact assessment. The result is an excellent example of the far reaching impact that can be achieved.

  • 100% – Microsoft leaders believe they’ve become more effective leaders as a result
  • 100% – Microsoft leaders taking part now feel more loyal
  • 100% – Partners involved believe that the knowledge they’ve gained will improve their leadership skills and competencies
  •  100% – Partners feel they now understand more about Microsoft’s role in society


Front Lines is a unique program where business leaders rally to ensure that rising leaders truly get to experience emerging market challenges and opportunities first-hand. One senior leader at Microsoft said “Getting our top talent to think how our technology and people can make a tangible difference in people’s lives is just incredible. I leave feeling even stronger about our prospects to make a tangible difference …and grow Microsoft’s business”.

In 2011, Emerging World and Microsoft were awarded the Excellence in Practice award from the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) for their work on Front Lines.

Emerging World is a provider of international development experiences, inclusive business strategies and corporate volunteering programs. Sage Ways is a partner for Emerging World.