Accenture Innovation center, creativity on starting-blocks

img_3558What is the Paris Accenture Innovation Center ?  In a nutshell, a dizzying innovation team, acting in a tremendous place for creativity!

Albane Liger Belair, Accenture Paris Innovation Center Director, and her deputy, in charge of the program lead, Mathieu Cambe, kindly walked me through this amazing space.

Identity, and purpose

Paris Accenture Innovation Center opened in April 2016. Other Accenture Innovation Centers had been developed elsewhere: so their experience feeded the Parisian entity. What identity did the Parisian center shaped based on this benchmark?

  • A focus on ideation and bootstrap, giving corporations the possibility to open a creative parenthesis, and leave space for imagination;
  • A flexible and open space, involving bespoke innovation journeys for corporations, based on 4 reference paths (that we will discover below); as a symbol for openness, the Accenture Open Innovation can be found in the Innovation Center: they screen startups for Accenture customers, and initiate joint offerings with companies;
  • Multidisciplinary resources, that can support the whole innovation process from discovery (Sofia Antipolis Accenture Tech Lab providing inspirational insights, and R&D showcase), to design (a team of 20 Fjord Design designers are on-site),  and development (Liquid Studio can complete fast prototyping with 15 developers, and additional resources in Nantes and Bucharest).

The Paris Innovation Center is facilitated by a small team of 4 enthusiastic people, with the help of consultants detached by the core company, who will be trained, and further propagate the innovation spirit, once back in their industrial unit.

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An innovation journey

Let’s get through the different layouts of the Innovation Center that support each step of the innovation process:

  • First is the reception, or as Albane says, the Icebreaker space, a  kind of lounge bar, offering a fantastic view over Paris;

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  • The Demo space mobilizes 3D printing and scanner, to print customized objects for the visitor, initiate discussions based on tangible innovations, sometimes far from the usual footprint of the customer, and demystify technologies like 3D printed prostheses;
  • Telepresence space enables connections with Accenture Tech Labs, and especially Sofia Antipolis, whose skills on future Banking, Energy, and Artificial Intelligence are sharp;
  • Immersion space is where the active process starts, with one group of 7 to 10 people engaging on one of the 4 innovation paths; if the participants number extands, different groups are set, that further positively compete;
  • White room is an invitation to cover all the walls with unlimited creative ideas;

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  • Analytical space makes a special focus on the use of data, and provides different interconnected video screens to help rebuild the data flow, and streamline the process;
  • Finally, the journey ends with a VR immersion, that lets you feel vertiginous, climbing to new heights.

4 reference paths

Accenture suggest 4 different paths, that can be adapted according to clients’ needs:

  1. Explore: half a day to focus on trending topic, demystify it and assess its impact for the company;
  2. Decide: A one day workshop to align on a strategic commitment. Challenging received wisdom, and orthodoxies, and turning them into opportunities. Having a close look at future jobs: data scientist, chief happiness officer, … Based on the breakthrough workshop methodology developed by Accenture Singapore
  3. Create: 2 to 3 days for a Design Thinking Rumble. Observation stage is performed before the workshop, and graphical design can be squeezed in between 2 workshops;
  4. Develop : fast prototyping with Liquid Studio, in the Lean Startup way. This last stage opens to a project management future.

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