Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Accenture opens innovation studio in Chicago

Steve Rogerson
October 30, 2019

Professional services company Accenture has expanded its Chicago Innovation Hub with an Industry X.0 studio to help its clients accelerate the development of smart connected products and services from months to weeks.
The studio provides an equipped environment that fuses design, software engineering, hardware engineering and industry expertise. It is located in the MHub, said to be the USA’s largest and fastest-growing physical product innovation centre.
“Our clients, who are leaders in virtually every industry, are under tremendous pressure to continuously innovate,” said Pallavi Verma, senior managing director at Dublin-based Accenture. Verma leads its business in the mid-west USA.
“The new Industry X.0 studio, which we call a forge, is part of our ongoing investment in Chicago and our efforts to bring continuous innovation to our clients, helping them reimagine their futures and solve their biggest challenges,” said Verma.
Forges help organisations apply digital technologies to reinvent products, services and business models, from design and engineering, to manufacturing and support, to supply chain management and logistics.
“No organisation today can afford to work 12 to 18 months on an innovation as practiced traditionally,” said Craig McNeil, who leads Accenture’s Industry X.0 practice in North America. “At a forge, we practice speed to value, meaning we can collapse the innovation timeline to five to six weeks. This is because design, software, hardware and industry professionals – many of which came to us through acquisitions, like Nytec, Pillar Technology and Mindtribe – all work at the same table. A forge lets them tap the entire stack of equipment and methods needed to take ideas from sketch to final product.”
Accenture operates Industry X.0 forges in Columbus, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; and Jefferson, Iowa. Additional forges are planned across the USA and in Asia in the coming 12 months.
The opening of the forge builds on the company’s continued growth in Chicago. In July this year, it announced it would increase the footprint of its Chicago Innovation Hub in the 500 West Madison building – which was renamed the Accenture Tower – and add 600 highly-skilled tech jobs and significantly grow its apprentice programme.
“Chicago is a manufacturing powerhouse and at our new forge, we will help our clients create product innovations at speed and at scale,” said Jim Coleman, senior managing director at Accenture, who leads its business in Chicago. “By calling MHub our home, we’re able to tap into their state-of-the-art facilities and vibrant, entrepreneurial mindset, which is critical in today’s business environment.”
MHub CEO and co-founder Haven Allen added: “Accenture’s Industry X.0 is a key partner for us as we continue to build an ecosystem around physical product innovation and leverage the power of entrepreneurship to solve problems in manufacturing. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with them to drive industry 4.0 right here in the mid-west.”
The hub is part of a network of 11 Accenture innovation hubs in North America, with others in Atlanta, Boston, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington DC. These hubs are connected to more than 100 Accenture locations around the globe to bring the company’s global investments and insights to its clients on the ground in North America.