The consultancy innovation center trend catches on...
Rising to the challenge of trying to keep up with never ending new technologies, a number of consulting firms have recently launched their own innovation hubs throughout the world. These centers’ specialties include an array of technologies such as fintech, predictive analytics and wearables. Such activities as rapid protoyping, compliance testing and even learning academies can take place at these facilities.
The Consultancy Innovation Center Trend
The multitude of consulting firms that have opened dedicated innovation centers usually have an overarching goal to ignite new thinking that spurs cutting edge products and services. This high interest in innovation centers, however, actually spans across all industries -- even hospitals and waste management companies are building them. In fact, a Capgemini/Altimeter report analyzes this industry wide trend in a report entitled, “The Innovation Game: Why and How Businesses are Investing in Innovation Centers.”
They find that one of the main drivers of the interest in innovation centers is the growing start-up community, which is often taking increasing market share from the more established companies. Many executives of the established firms believe that traditional processes are not inspiring innovative products and services, so they feel that a dedicated innovation facility will offer a fostering environment to spur great ideas. Specifically within the consulting industry, the biggest firms have already initiated creating hubs to help their clients to innovate, and even smaller consultancies are starting to take an interest, as well.
Spotlight on Key Consultancies That Have Built Innovation Centers
Examples of recent openings of consulting firm innovation centers within recent years include:
- Deloitte opened an innovation lab to focus on emerging technologies in 2015. The facility is located in Communitech, which is an innovation center in Waterloo, Canada. Designers and developers work in a 770 square foot building. Rapid prototyping is the goal for this facility, whereby wearable and digital technologies will be developed.
- In 2014, KPMG launched KPMG Insights Labs, which is a virtual research and development center. This facility is meant to assist the firm with creating innovative business solutions for end clients. Basically, the locale is an incubator that enables proof of concept design, demonstration and verification. KPMG plans to have this lab be the hub for analytics, predictive modeling and compliance testing for clients within the financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and retail industries, according to Accounting Today.
- Just recently, Accenture opened their latest innovation center in Paris. The aim for this facility, as reported by Consultancy.uk, is to help clients speed up their digital transformations. This locale is one of the latest innovation hubs opened by Accenture. The firm feels that an immersive environment is an ideal place to spur innovation for their clients.
- In an effort to invest in analytics, Ernst & Young opened their Global Innovation Center in Madrid, Spain in 2015. TheConsultantLounge.com reports that the facility is beginning with a staff of 50 data scientists and plans to expand to a team of at least 200 professionals. The center includes discovery labs, an analytics factory, a business partnership program, a learning network and an analytics academy.
- PwC announced their launch of a global Experience Center in 2015. The firm sees this hub as an innovation ecosystem which will help to drive next-generation levels of experiences for customers. David Clarke, Principal, PwC Advisory, and Chief Experience Officer, stated, “A need to focus on delivering core business results can sometimes hinder getting the next big idea to market. We’re pioneering a new model to help larger organizations build and deliver experiences, products, and services to market faster than they otherwise could.”
- Even small and boutique consultancies are embracing the innovation hub concept. Venia Consulting, a small firm based in Nigeria, opened the Venia Business Hub in late 2015. The goal for this facility is to “…change the face of entrepreneurship in Nigeria,” according to Venia’s CEO. The facility offers training and seminars for businesses as well as offering access to angel investors.
Consulting firms and their clients are likely to overtly report if the innovation centers are achieving successful outcomes. As innovation centers continue to proliferate, it will be interesting to gauge if this model, indeed, spurs more exciting technologies and disruptive inventions compared to traditional methods of innovation.
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