Deloitte buys The Explainers, Australia-based corporate storyteller

07 October 2016

Deloitte has bought Sydney-based storytelling studio The Explainers, to help the firm, among others, explain business strategies, transitions and change management projects to its clients. The deal sees studio founder Matt Taylor and his staff transfer to Deloitte’s headquarters in Sydney.

Getting ones message across in a clear, persuasive and unambiguous manner is good when it matches the needs of clients. By leveraging the ancient art of storytelling and visualisation it becomes possible to weave a more subtle path towards seeing the value of what an organisation does.

In the digital age, storytelling too has, according to corporate storyteller The Explainers, broadened its horizons. The boutique digital communications consultancy leverages a host of mediums, from animations, film and installations to infographics, written stories and graphic novels, to explain change within organisations. The studio was founded in 2013 by career animator Matt Taylor, and has since grown rapidly to a staff of nine and revenues of around $1.4 million.

Deloitte buys The Explainers

Deloitte takes over the studio for an undisclosed sum, with Matt Taylor becoming a Director at Deloitte in Australia, reporting to Shane Currey, a Consulting Partner and National Design lead. The addition is aimed at boosting Deloitte’s change management strategy. As Currey explains, “if you are spending millions of dollars on a technology transformation project, you don’t want it to fail because you didn't effectively explain why you are doing it.”

The Explainers’ Sydney office was shut down as part of the acquisition, with employees transferring to Deloitte’s headquarters in the city. The acquisition represents further moves by professional firms into the creative and design space in a bid to deliver more complete services to changing needs in an increasingly digital landscape.

Currey says, “We really have to stretch our brains explaining this stuff sometimes, so it will be nice to be able to ring down to the 10th floor and have the subject matter expert help us out.”

Taylor says, “We'd hit the ceiling of what we could do as an independent studio, so the time felt right to join forces with a bigger pipeline of potential clients for our skills. Major change has become the new constant for modern business, so explaining any kind of change after it happens is often too late. Today, being successful requires communicating and explaining change as it happens.”


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Royal HaskoningDHV buys UK firm to boost digital flood services

25 April 2019

Royal HaskoningDHV has acquired Ambiental to accelerate its growth of flood-related digital services. The UK-based professional services firm is a provider of actionable intelligence from data, which can be used to help protect people, property and capital from flooding and climate change.

In recent years the UK has been routinely stricken by flooding, with former forests and wetlands across the country having become susceptible to flooding, with few measures to soak up ground-water from heavy rainfall. Notably, 2007 floods along the River Don caused major social and economic damage to Lower Don Valley, while elsewhere in the UK, winter floods in 2013/2014 affected thousands, and killed 17. The following winter also saw considerable flooding across the UK from Storm Desmond, Storm Eva and Storm Frank, among other heavy storms, costing the nation billions of pounds in the process.

With a growing number of other incidences spread across the country, professional services firms are increasingly being tapped to help deal with flooding in the future. Founded three years ago, Ambiental Environmental Assessment was created to support the growing UK development industry with its flood risk assessment needs. Since then, it has worked on over 3,000 projects, including supporting the redevelopment of St Paul’s School, Richmond (EIA project), National Rail developments, gas-fed electricity generator compounds, solar farms, and the housing developments of over 400 properties.

Royal HaskoningDHV buys UK firm to boost digital flood services

In 2018 alone, natural disaster events across the world led to economic damage of $225 billion. With demand for flood risk assessment remaining high, Ambiental quickly attracted the attention of larger consultancies for acquisition. As a result, Royal HaskoningDHV has announced a deal to purchase Ambiental. The deal strengthens the Dutch consultancy's position in the insurance market, providing clients with data-driven software and services that complement its extensive engineering and advisory knowledge. The acquisition also enhances the firm’s flood resilience and environmental consultancy profile in the UK.

Ambiental, meanwhile, will considerably enhance its global presence and footprint with the deal. As a result, Ambiental hopes its combined unique data analytics, human resources and engineering expertise will allow it to improve its product offering and associated customer support. It will also mean the firm can further develop and scale its solutions in data products, software and associated services for improved risk pricing, risk selection, accumulation control, actionable intelligence and portfolio modelling.

Commenting on the deal, Royal HaskoningDHV CEO Erik Oostwegel said, “We are excited to welcome the Ambiental team with their high-precision, productised analytics and data solutions. Together we can help our clients to better understand and reduce risks from flooding and other natural hazards using digital services and market-leading intelligence. Ensuring that money spent on flood risk modelling and management delivers the greatest possible impact on communities, corporates and infrastructure.”

Ambiental CEO, Justin Butler, added, “Ambiental is very pleased to be joining Royal HaskoningDHV. We deliver many complementary solutions, and together with Royal HaskoningDHV and their new partners, we will be able to offer even more compelling value propositions, and broader solutions using predictive analytics, data science, machine learning and computational risk modelling to an expanding global customer base.”