Accenture adds UK firm Happen to innovation offering

21 October 2019 3 min. read
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Professional services giant Accenture has purchased UK based consultancy Happen for an undisclosed fee. Happen specialises in advisory work relating to innovation and helping clients generate new ideas.

As the importance of innovation to the future of modern businesses becomes increasingly apparent, 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. In line with this, demand is booming for consultants who can help their clients develop and execute strategies to survive and thrive in their respective markets.

Looking to tap into the growing need for innovation consulting among clients, Accenture is one of a number of firms rapidly beefing up its offering on the matter, via a series of acquisitions. The firm – which similarly expanded its design and marketing offering with a glut of purchases in recent years – has driven product innovation capabilities for Industry X.0 with the purchase of hardware engineering firm Mindtribe, strategic design consultancy design affairs, and product design and innovation firm Altitude.

Accenture adds UK firm Happen to innovation offering

In the UK, meanwhile, Accenture bought up innovation firm ?What If! for an undisclosed fee in March. The move further boosted Accenture’s front-end innovation capabilities, and its ability to help clients reinvent themselves with experimentation-led approaches. Building on this, October has seen Accenture announce another deal in the UK innovation sphere.

Happen, a privately owned innovation firm that uses proprietary methods, frameworks and digital tools to help clients generate new ideas, products and services that drive business growth, has now also become part of Accenture. Happen’s employees will join the innovation practice within Accenture’s Products Industry X.0 business, which helps clients use advanced digital technologies to reinvent their products, services and business models – including design and engineering, manufacturing, supply chain management, logistics and customer support. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Eric Schaeffer, who leads Accenture’s Products Industry X.0 practice, said, “Bringing data-driven intelligence to clients’ decision-making, Happen helps companies tailor innovative products, services and experiences to create customer-centric businesses. The acquisition further enhances the analytics, design and engineering capabilities we use to help clients deliver relevance at scale.”

US and the Netherlands

Since its establishment in 2007, Happen has grown from its London headquarters to hold additional offices in Amsterdam and New Jersey, and has a team who possess a wide range of innovation skills, including strategy, design, ideation, insight and research. Happen works with clients primarily across the consumer goods, food and beverage, retail and life science industries.

In terms of examples of its previous work, the firm helped a healthcare company use insights gleaned from consumers to overhaul a strategy to market cough medicine; the new positioning took the product to the number two spot in the UK, with one pack sold every 10 seconds. Happen also helped a leading grocery chain map how people move around its stores; making small tweaks to the customer journey more than doubled revenue from breakfast cereals and increased snack purchases by 40%.

Mark Cowan, co-founder of Happen, said, “Joining Accenture will enable us to scale our offerings and capabilities and deliver our services to an even greater range of clients. We’re excited to become part of one of the world’s truly great companies.”