Cognizant acquires Idea Couture, boosts digital design capabilities

03 August 2016

Cognizant has acquired Idea Couture, a creative design and consultancy agency, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition further boosts its Cognizant Digital Works practice, as more and more clients seek to leverage innovative design within new customer and employee user experiences for digital applications.

Idea Couture was founded in 2007 in San Francisco. The company is a new breed of creative consulting firm, which merges creative design with business acumen. The agency markets itself as a place where ‘D-School + B-School’ meet. The agency, which seeks to improve its clients’ user experience, has additional offices in Toronto, London, Mexico, Shanghai and São Paulo. It employs around 170 specialists, including social scientists, strategists, anthropologists, user experience experts, designers, and connected product developers.

In recent years the differentiation between management consulting and marketing and design has been closing. The process of digitalisation within a wide array of industries is increasing the need to create involved customer service experiences as well as internal applications to improve staff engagement and productivity. Consultancy firms, particularly the large players, have been founding standalone entities, such as Deloitte Digital, or acquiring new capabilities within the creative space, including Accenture’s acquisition of Fjord and KPMG’s acquisition of Cynergy Systems.

Cognizant acquires Idea Couture, boosts digital design capabilities

Cognizant too has sought to expand its capabilities within the digital experience and design space, last year launching Cognizant Digital Works. The new business line is aimed at “bringing together human insight, strategy, design, technology, and industry expertise to create innovative solutions at enterprise scale”, to improve its services to clients seeking to leverage new technological capabilities, business models and ways of working.

Cognizant’s acquisition of Idea Couture sees the firm acquire a broad set of additional capabilities which the firm aims to leverage to supports its clients globally deal with current challenges within the digital space. Gajen Kandiah, Executive Vice President, Cognizant Digital Works, remarks “Idea Couture has a track record of success in managed innovation – including rapidly envisioning, designing and prototyping digital solutions – to help companies create connected products, engage customers, and deploy new business models for growth and competitive advantage.”

The addition, builds on the firm’s recent acquisition of Denmark based ReD Associates. Kandiah adds “this acquisition further advances our strategy to bring together world-class capabilities in behavioural insight, strategy, design, and technology to deliver innovative and impactful solutions for our clients in banking, insurance, life sciences, and our other key industries.”

Idris Mootee, CEO at Idea Couture says that the firm is “excited to build on our vision of a new kind of company that can conceive and build new products and experiences and bring transformation to our clients”. He adds, “As part of Cognizant Digital Works, we will be able to do even more exciting things with design and technology. By connecting with Cognizant’s proven technical abilities, global scale, and domain expertise, we can help our clients realise the value of their innovation efforts.”


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”