Accenture purchases UK-based innovation firm ?What If!

05 March 2019 3 min. read
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Global consultancy Accenture has acquired UK-based innovation firm ?What If! for an undisclosed fee. The move further expands Accenture’s front-end innovation capabilities, and its ability to help clients reinvent themselves with experimentation-led approaches.

With the importance of innovation to the future of modern businesses becoming increasingly important, companies across all sectors are coming under pressure to realise the potential of technological changes, as they look to avoid falling prey to digitally disruptive competitors. A key indicator of this sea change in innovation is the booming digital transformation consulting market, which is now worth more than $44 billion, as clients tap firms for support of their overhauls.

As it looks to further tap into this rich vein of business, Accenture has announced it has reached a deal to acquire ?What If!, a privately owned innovation firm which uses an experimentation-driven approach to help clients incubate new products, services, business models and organisational cultures. Last year, Accenture purchased visual effects firm Mackevision, which boosted the firm’s ability to offer visualisation techniques for transformation efforts of clients, and this latest purchase will further enhance Accenture’s front-end innovation capabilities that help clients rapidly ideate, prototype and scale innovative products and services for the digital economy.

Accenture purchases UK-based innovation firm ?What If!

Headquartered in London, with additional offices in New York and Shanghai, ?What If! serves FTSE 100 and other leading companies across a variety of industries — including healthcare, finance, high tech, industrial, mobility, and consumer goods and services. Its primary areas of focus include brand and customer engagement, product innovation, and enterprise innovation. Since its establishment in 1992, ?What If! has developed many programmes, tools and methods to train and educate people and organizations on building an innovation culture, including proprietary metrics that can measure the commercial viability of a project.

The firm serves as a trusted C-suite advisor, with more than 150 employees possessing a wide range of innovation skills, including strategy, insight and research, ideation, design and commercial analytics. One project the firm recently completed was helping a food and beverage company develop a strategy to bring to market a new type of coffee. Following that work, the new product sold nearly 1 million packs within four weeks and became the company’s most successful coffee launch ever. Meanwhile, in the financial sector, ?What If! leveraged its rapid experimentation-led approach to help a client launch a new card product faster than it had ever done, exceeding customer-acquisition goals in its first year.

Eric Schaeffer, a Senior Managing Director at Accenture, said of the deal, “With digital technologies converging, consumer expectations rising, and businesses under constant pressure to stay ahead of the digital curve, the only path forward is constant innovation to ensure flexibility and agility across every business function. The acquisition of ?What If! is a significant addition to our innovation-engine capabilities.”

Dave Allan, a ?What If! Co-Founder and Board Member, added, “Over the last 26 years we have continued to push and re-invent our innovation process, rooted in human centered design, lean iteration and agile economics, to help companies to embrace innovation and empower transformation from the inside.

“By joining forces with Accenture, we can industrialize and scale our frameworks and methodologies, offering our existing client base a broad range of technology-related capabilities. Together, we’ll be uniquely positioned to enable companies to imagine new futures and turn disruptive ideas into innovative digital solutions that drive business performance.”