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1

How much actual innovation can I expect to face in strategy consulting?

HI everyone,

I have already done an internship in a strategy consulting firm (Roland Berger). Currently, I am approaching the end of my studies and I am wondering how much actual innovation consultants do face. In my experience (also confirmed by friends in MBB consultancies), the work is a lot about the adaption of pas use cases on specific new problems. i.e. less about coming up with really new BMs with a radical or disruptive nature. Is this a subjective experience or can this be generalized? Is this linked to the fact that strategy consulting firms have reached a significant size and might be more corporate today than they used to be in the past?
Would be happy to get some senior insights on this topic.

Best regards.

HI everyone,

I have already done an internship in a strategy consulting firm (Roland Berger). Currently, I am approaching the end of my studies and I am wondering how much actual innovation consultants do face. In my experience (also confirmed by friends in MBB consultancies), the work is a lot about the adaption of pas use cases on specific new problems. i.e. less about coming up with really new BMs with a radical or disruptive nature. Is this a subjective experience or can this be generalized? Is this linked to the fact that strategy consulting firms have reached a significant size and might be more corporate today than they used to be in the past?
Would be happy to get some senior insights on this topic.

Best regards.

1 answer

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Best Answer

OK, this is an almost philosophical discussion about what innovation is, where and how it happens, and so on.

My personal impression after more than 10 years in consulting:

  • Disruptive innovation certainly doesn't happen in consulting firms. For a number of reasons: a) it destroys their client base and disruptors are not filling the revenue gap the disrupted are leaving. b) The search for disruptive innovation inevitably means risk and failure, which both are not really well regarded in consulting and by their clients. You hire McKinsey to get a solution that works, not a moonshot
  • Incremental innovation: Consulting firms are quite good, however, at quickly picking up innovative things (either created in-house or in universities or other countries etc.) in established fields and bringing those to market, thus driving innovation within their client base. This is certainly true for processes and methods, but also in other fields.

Hope this helps

Elias

OK, this is an almost philosophical discussion about what innovation is, where and how it happens, and so on.

My personal impression after more than 10 years in consulting:

  • Disruptive innovation certainly doesn't happen in consulting firms. For a number of reasons: a) it destroys their client base and disruptors are not filling the revenue gap the disrupted are leaving. b) The search for disruptive innovation inevitably means risk and failure, which both are not really well regarded in consulting and by their clients. You hire McKinsey to get a solution that works, not a moonshot
  • Incremental innovation: Consulting firms are quite good, however, at quickly picking up innovative things (either created in-house or in universities or other countries etc.) in established fields and bringing those to market, thus driving innovation within their client base. This is certainly true for processes and methods, but also in other fields.

Hope this helps

Elias