new products and services” in response to intense disruptions occurring in what firms have
described as a “transformative age.” Maintaining a laser-like focus on customer experience
while collaborating with clients represents a
core quality of the consultant-client interactions
within EY’s wavespace centers, Driggs notes.
Trebino says that one of the underlying objectives of KPMG’s ignition centers is to “bring
together functions from across the entire firm
into one physical location. Somebody on our
digital mobile team could be sitting right next
to somebody on the data analytics team, who
could be sitting right next to somebody from
our Oracle solutions group.” Placing those experts together generates new ideas, solutions
and consulting opportunities, Trebino adds.
PwC Experience Center Leader David
Clarke also emphasizes the value that the di-
verse perspectives of his firms’ user experi-
ence designers, business strategists and indus-
try experts provide to experience center clients
while working with them to “connect the dots
to solve business problems that can’t be tack-
led within any one silo.”
Those silos along with traditional workflows
and organizational hierarchies can bog down
digital transformation and related strides, Clarke
notes. The working sessions that take place in
PwC’s experience centers condense months of
regularly paced traditional work into three-day
exercises. One of those exercises helped the
Make-A-Wish Foundation address a $100 mil-
lion gap between wishes and donations.
By working closely with clients during these
condensed product and solution-development
activities, innovation centers also are helping
clients learn how to develop or strengthen their
own innovation capabilities, according to some
In addition to holding a variety of workshop
events and meeting with clients, Mercer’s in-
novation hub consultants also identify and de-
velop new products and solutions consulting
teams through the firm can use in their work
with external clients, notes Mercer Global In-
novation Leader Barbara Marder.
Mercer and other firms use their innovation
centers as a mechanism to participate and nurture certain “ecosystems,” such as FinTech or
talent management. Mercer also invests in Talent
Tech Labs, and serves on that incubator’s board.
“We spend a lot of time with startups and partners in the external world to really understand
what’s happening and what’s likely to happen,”
says Marder. “Sometimes, we’ll buy a partner to
get to what we think we need to bring to the market to serve clients in a new way.”
The notion of inviting clients to an off-site
location is alluring—perhaps increasingly so,
due to the overwhelming nature of digital-tech-nology changes—but not entirely new.
Simon points to the recent precursors to McKinsey’s digital capability centers. Those model
factories enabled clients to see and touch the latest manufacturing technology and techniques,
obtain a vivid picture of what improvements and
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