CHICAGO – West Monroe Partners, a national business and technology consultancy, today announced that it has elevated innovation to a strategic initiative in 2019 and is doubling its investment in incubating new technology-based products and business solutions that bring value to its clients and the market. To kick off its new innovation strategy, West Monroe will celebrate a “week of innovation” ahead of National Innovation Day on February 16.
“Practical innovation has been a core value from our firm’s inception and has always been a key part of the value that we bring to our clients and the market. Given both our rapid growth and the accelerating pace of technology evolution, this is the right time to shift our innovation engine to the next gear,” said President and CEO Kevin McCarty. “Personally, I am inspired by the opportunities we have to work with companies willing to embrace innovation, which is key to growing and thriving in a disrupted business environment.”
The firm’s reinvigoration around innovation comes on the heels of three C-level promotions, including the elevation of Tom Bolger to chief strategy officer, whose primary area of focus will include innovation. In January the firm hired Tyson Hartman to fill a newly created position, senior director of innovation and partnerships; Hartman will report to Bolger within West Monroe’s Strategic Growth function. Hartman will lead research into technology trends, refine innovation and alliance strategies, and source innovative concepts and external partnerships that leverage both internal and external expertise. He will be based out of the firm’s second-largest office in Seattle. Previously, Hartman was the executive vice president of innovation and incubation with Avanade, Inc.
“Tyson has a proven track record for launching high-profit entrepreneurial ventures inside of enterprise-level corporations. I am thrilled for him to apply this experience at West Monroe and accelerate the innovative ideas coming from our people,” said Chief Strategy Officer Tom Bolger.
In addition to hiring Hartman, the firm introduced a new career path for its technologist work force centered around innovation. The new role, called an Innovation Fellow, will allow employees to progress within West Monroe by focusing on product and service innovation, where success and incentives are tied to innovation instead of client delivery. Creating a career path where innovation isn’t an added responsibility, but the primary focus is a direct response to employee feedback and market needs.
West Monroe introduced a formal innovation strategy in 2014 centered around developing world-class capabilities. Since then, it has continued to refine its approach for encouraging employees to propose and develop new product and service ideas that create value.
In 2017, the firm launched a “Shark Tank” program (patterned after the ABC television series) that evaluates and funds employee ideas with time and money. Since then, it has allocated the firm’s resources to eight teams to develop ideas such as a Health Cloud Accelerator, a Rapid Analytics Platform, and robotic process automation (RPA) tools for dental plans and financial services organizations. During 2018, West Monroe teams logged more than 10,000 hours to develop those and other ideas. The firm has realized a return on investment in excess of 200 percent to date across the investment portfolio.
West Monroe recently funded its first $1 million innovation team, which is refining the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions engagement and delivery model to create value through proprietary data and other enhancements.
In 2019, West Monroe is increasing the funding available to develop employee-generated ideas and refining its processes for reviewing and investing in those ideas. Later this year, the firm will introduce an enterprise-wide idea management platform to manage virtual innovation challenges.
“One of the advantages of working in a talent-rich consulting organization is the wealth of great ideas. This allows us to continuously build new innovations that turn our consulting experience into proven tools and accelerators that we can tailor quickly to help our clients speed up their path to change, realize value faster, and achieve competitive advantage,” Bolger said.
In 2019, West Monroe will evolve innovation investment to a venture capital style approach that includes three levels of funding: seed funding through annual planning process, funding approved by a Concept Advisory Board to build and test ideas, and ultimately the “Shark Tank” to provide more significant levels of capital required for market readiness.
About West Monroe Partners
West Monroe is a national business and technology consulting firm that partners with dynamic organizations to reimagine, build, and operate their businesses at peak performance. Our team of more than 1,100 professionals is comprised of an uncommon blend of business consultants and deep technologists. This unique combination of expertise enables us to design, develop, implement, and run strategic business and technology solutions that yield a dramatic commercial impact on our clients’ profitability and performance. For more information, visit www.wmp.com.
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