We help clients who work in international cultural relations with:

  • Strategy development

  • Strategic transformation design and delivery

  • Stakeholder mapping, engagement and partnerships

  • Advice on operating models and organisation design

  • Change management

  • Incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global

  • Compact into strategies, policies and procedures

Strategy development
We develop powerful narratives that respond to market developments and set a compelling direction for organisations. We establish a clear set of priorities that are customer-centric; incorporate technology, data, and priority markets; and generate profits and value. We define a realistic roadmap to help our clients.

Transformation design
We help clients think about the future of their business in the international context, about how they can deliver well-defined strategic objectives.

Transformation delivery
We help clients build better aligned and more effective organisations able to operate confidently in a range of global and specific international contexts.

Stakeholder mapping, engagement and partnerships
We identify who clients need to work and engage with, and design practical approaches and plans for engagement. We help implement these plans in innovative ways.

Operating model
We build the capabilities that the organisation needs to achieve its strategy.

Organisation design
We align structure, roles and accountabilities to other, interconnected elements of organisations’ operating models, including processes, data, IT, governance, performance measures, and culture.

Change Management
We help prepare organisations to transition to a desired future state. We work within the cultural context and values framework of the organisation to ensure benefits are realised and time and cost impacts are minimised, whilst developing self-sustaining mechanisms for long term success.

We incorporate the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures.

& Learning

ICR provides high quality practical research in the areas of education, culture, global governance, and international relations. We specialise in using digital methods to understand better what is happening in the global digital conversation. We carry out original research using the full range of research techniques including literature reviews (of academic research), original research through surveys, interviews, focus groups, social media analysis etc, including both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

We help clients understand ‘what works’ in international cultural relations through monitoring and evaluation of policy and academic research; data analytics and interpretation and sharing research with policymakers and businesses. We specialise in the analysis and interpretation of influence in the digital world. We bring our research findings to target audiences in policy, business and other organisations involved in international engagement. Through this process we aim to influence future policy, inform debate on issues and help businesses with decision-making.

We specialise in the role of education and skills development in addressing global challenges, and Continuing Professional Development with an emphasis on strategy, planning, evaluation, data and intercultural understanding. Specifically, we offer executive education for global leaders, course modules, courses, bespoke briefings, workshops, and seminars.

Research publications by ICR:

MacDonald S., Vlaeminck E. (2020) A Vision of Europe Through Culture: A Critical Assessment of Cultural Policy in the EU’s External Relations. In: Carta C., Higgott R. (eds) Cultural Diplomacy in Europe. The European Union in International Affairs. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

Digital Globalisation of Knowledge and the Impact on Higher Education in South Asia and Europe, MacDonald, S, Kizlari, D & Vlaeminck, E, British Council, 2019

Brexit, Populism, Nationalism: Challenge of the Future, MacDonald, S, ifa, 2019

Brexit, Kunst und Kultur, Kulturpolitische Mitteilungen, Nr. 163, IV/2018, hrsg. Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft,

Soft Power Today, Measuring the Influences and Effects Singh, J.P, MacDonald, S, & Son, Byungwhan, British Council, 2017.

The Impact of Brexit on International Cultural Relations in the European Union, MacDonald, S, ifa, 2017.

Promoting Scotland, diplomacy and influence through sport, Jarvie, G, Murray, S & MacDonald, S 2017.

Preparatory action. Culture in EU external relations MacDonald, S, Cultural Trends, 2015

G. Simons, M. Kapitonenko, V. Lavrenyuk and E. Vlaeminck (eds.) The Politics and Complexities of Crisis Management in Ukraine: A historical perspective, 2017

Vlaeminck, E, Reconceptualizing Culture in Time of Trouble: Russia-EU cultural relations beyond Maidan, 2017.

Vlaeminck, E, A Call to Reconceptualise International Cultural Relations. Arts Cabinet Research, 2017.

Kizlari D., Fouseki, K., The Mechanics of Cultural Diplomacy: A Comparative Case Study Analysis from the European Context, 2018.

Kizlari, D., Fouseki, K., (Treating resistance as data in qualitative interviews, The Qualitative Report, 2018.


Our projects consist of:

  • Practical ideas we develop for products or services that promote international collaboration, build understanding, and contribute to SDGs, with an emphasis on bridging the gap between traditional and digital methods.

  • Publication of reports, articles, policy and business briefings.