Financial Times and IE Business School join forces for a learning and development partnership

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Good news on the learning and development industry. Two important corporations make stronger their link as a result of rapid expansion and success of a collaboration that set a new standard in the executive development sector.

Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, and IE Business School have announced the launch of Headspring, the new identity of the joint venture formerly known as FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance. The rebrand comes four years after the original launch and is a result of a new approach towards greater client centricity and value creation in the leadership development sector.

The launch

They have officially launched it at an exclusive event held close to Tower bridge in London. Around 150 guests enjoyed the event and the Earth to Mars game that headspring has recently launched and we mentioned in a very recent article.


Headspring was created, as their executives mentioned, to empower organisations to embrace change and inspire a culture of continuous learning as their management express. They mentioned that it achieves transformational results by working in partnership with organisations globally to co-create bespoke, future-focused learning designs that empower people, develop leaders and enhance the strengths of businesses.

It designs and delivers customised education and leadership programmes, taking the business acumen, academic rigour and innovative approach of IE Business School and a global network of expert educators and other business schools accross the globe, adding the perspectives and skills of 60 of the most influential Financial Times journalists, bringing a unique combination of executive development and journalistic substance.

AI Survey

As an example of their academic interest and investigation, Headspring revealed the results of a survey carried out in partnership with YouGov, into how professionals in Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) understand that AI will affect the workplace. The survey’s key findings are:

  • AI is well-known, although in-depth knowledge about it is mixed.
  • Humans still prefer to trust humans, not AI, to make decisions. 
  • AI is well-known, although in-depth knowledge about it is mixed.
  • Humans still prefer to trust humans, not AI, to make decisions.
  • AI may be taking some people’s jobs but it will also help people make ‘better’ decisions.
  • AI is no better than humans at fostering diversity
  • Employees see themselves as better prepared for the effects of AI than are their employers.

What do they say about this new venture?

Gustaf Nordbäck, CEO of Headspring

“We strongly believe that the HR and Learning & Development communities are being under-served by traditional executive education providers. Our own research confirms this: L&D and HR leaders have told us they are increasingly frustrated by business schools and consultants that adopt a self-centred method in programme design and delivery. Headspring Executive Development aims to tackle these issues by offering a unique and fully customised approach: co-creating journeys that will empower people and ultimately create value for businesses” Says Nordbäck.

John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times

‘Since we launched the partnership with IE Business School in 2015 we have seen our approach — deep engagement with customers, a focus on outcomes, and effective deployment of the skills, the knowledge, and sector and global expertise of our journalists — really gain the confidence of clients. With the rapid changes in business, driven by digital technology, AI and other fast-rising capabilities, business leaders need flexible, current and relevant expertise and education. Headspring is uniquely positioned to deliver.’ Explains Ridding

Santiago Iñiguez explains how IE Business School has always taken an entrepreneurial and future-focused approach to executive education. Its network of educators and innovative methodologies have a strong business-related character, which complements the assets the FT brings to our customised executive programmes,

Santiago Iñiguez, President of IE

“In creating our alliance, we introduced a worldwide network of leading and like-minded partner institutions into the mix, together with a global educator network which ties us to no single academic institution or faculty. Headspring builds on this with an even stronger commitment to delivering programmes that are centred around the individual needs of every client”

‘Too often educational providers fail to listen to what businesses need from their executive development,’ says Nordbäck. ‘They prefer to teach what they’ve been teaching for years, offering training on skills development for its own sake, with insufficient understanding of the future business landscape. The speed of change, digital transformation and innovation are having a huge impact. We believe our unique style and brand have a crucial role to play in helping companies cope and succeed in a rapidly changing world.’

To IE Business School that offers a technology-based learning ecosystem for leaders making a difference in the world through innovation, is now one of the top 35 business schools in the world and for sure, this partnership with one of the most recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy media organisations will grant them a higher rank in the coming years.

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