Idean grows Europe and Asia presence with Backelite addition

10 January 2019 4 min. read
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The newly merged Capgemini Invent has combined its Backelite digital design subsidiary with Idean to create a design agency with over 700 professionals in 22 cities globally. The move is hoped to tap into a design market now worth more than $40 billion world-wide.

Capgemini has been expanding its design capabilities dramatically in recent times, with the purchase of three creative design agencies – Idean, Adaptive Lab and Backelite. London-based Adaptive Lab, a digital design studio with a team of 50 professionals, was picked up in June 2018, while digital technology innovation wing Backelite has been a Capgemini brand for a longer period and has been groomed internally over the past years. Digital strategy and experience design consultancy Idean was purchased in February 2017, in a move that added offices in Palo Alto, Austin, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Helsinki and Berlin.

Founded by Risto Lähdesmäki in Finland in 1999, Idean focuses primarily on digital strategy, digital user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX), helping clients envision strategic opportunities, design and build digital experiences, and change cultures by developing competencies in new ways of working and design thinking. Among its roster of clients are major corporations such as LG, Rabobank, Cisco, SNCF, Air France/KLM, Mercedes-Benz, Crédit Agricole, ING, Indigo, Sony, Volkswagen, Airbus, Ericsson, IBM and Intel.

Idean grows Europe and Asia presence with Backelite addition

Since becoming a part of Capgemini Invent, which formed in September last year after the company merged its consultancy (Capgemini Consulting), digital (LiquidHub, Fahrenheit 212) and creative units (Idean, Adaptive Lab and Backelite), the French consulting and technology giant has been able to make the most of around 160 digital strategists, experience designers and front-end developers from Idean. Building on Capgemini’s fundamentals, meanwhile, Lähdesmäki told the press that in the past two years, Idean has reciprocally enjoyed tremendous growth across its main studios in the US and Europe.

Now, Capgemini Invent has merged its Backelite subsidiary – a digital design agency – into Idean, creating a design agency with over 700 professionals in 22 cities globally. The hope is that with the addition of Backelite’s 250 professionals France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, China and Australia will increase Idean’s potential client base rapidly. Idean’s hubs now number more than 20 globally as a result.

Stating his expectations for 2019, Lähdesmäki enthused, “We have a footprint in North America, Asia and Europe – we’re a powerhouse in the US, France, Scandinavia and the UK… This is an exciting milestone for Idean to start 2019 with. I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our new colleagues and I’m excited to see us serve clients globally with a wide array of strategic and experience design and development services.”

The move comes at a time when demand for design continues to boom on a world-wide basis. Global spending on design services hit $40.7 billion last year, with the market for offerings such as product design, model design, user interface and interaction design forecast to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% between 2017 and 2023. The industry is benefitting from growing awareness that spending on design underpins business objectives – according to one estimate, design-driven firms enjoy above-average increases in revenues and shareholder value.

The growing design market prompted leading MBB strategy consultancy, McKinsey & Company to make its own foray into the industry, launching McKinsey Design, while attracting the interest of both the large consulting firms. On top of this, M&A in the space is increasing too – and PA Consulting Group acquired US-based Essential Design recently, a telling move as it was one of the first purchases the firm had made in three years. Meanwhile, the Big Four are bolstering their digital arms with design skills. Traditional players in the landscape include IDEO, Designworks, RKS, Designaffairs and GK Design Group.