Innovation is in full bloom at Deloitte LLP where the 28th floor of the professional services firm’s offices has been converted into a place for clients to bring critical problems and uncover solutions that will allow them to grow their business.
“Over the last several years, we’ve been looking at how innovation, and particularly how disrupting the market of professional services has been something that we’ve been focused on,” says Byron Spruell, managing principal for the Central region and Chicago office of Deloitte. “We came up with the innovative idea of this greenhouse.”
The Deloitte Greenhouse is “an advanced, immersive environment designed to help Deloitte clients and companies solve complex business issues and accelerate breakthroughs,” a brochure says about the space.
“The Deloitte Greenhouse combines behavioral methods, analytics, technology and expert facilitations to create an experience that can propel companies to extraordinary results.”
It opened in February and has grown quickly. Spruell says about 100 people per week are coming through the 9,000 square-foot space.
As every business leader looks for those one or two moves that can help their company stay ahead of the competition, Spruell says Deloitte wants to be the place where they come to plot their strategy to find those solutions.
“It’s very open, very innovative and a very creative environment that is controlled by music, lighting and partitions where we can carve out different spaces,” Spruell says.
The Greenhouse focuses on three primary elements: The Deloitte Client Experience (DCE), the Deloitte Analytics Highly Immersive Visual Environment (HIVE) and Deloitte Consulting Innovation (DCI).
DCE focuses on what organizations do to solve difficult problems that require an in-depth look at the problem at hand and what needs to be done to solve it.
“You get clients in an open environment, very untraditional from the typical meeting room where people just sit around a table,” Spruell says. “It’s giving people space to breathe and the opportunity to come up with new ideas, fresh ideas that can help their business grow.”
HIVE is all about analytics and big data while DCI is geared to creating an atmosphere of innovation.
Of course, it’s one thing to knock down a few walls, play some music and sit on soft chairs while you meet with your team. In order to make the buzzwords more than that and drive meaningful results, it still has to be about people who are willing to do what it takes to solve problems.
It’s something Deloitte has excelled at for years, Spruell says, and the Greenhouse is simply a great tool to take that service to the next level.
“We’ve always been about client service and providing client service solutions at their office or our office or whatever facility we had,” Spruell says. “This brings a new element. You’re still going to have the traditional meetings about an issue.
“It’s about how do you drive to the best answer and bring the collective minds to bear. This gives us an opportunity to give our clients a new environment to talk about strategy, vision and results.”
Sometimes, a fresh setting is the one missing piece that can help a business reach that elusive solution.
Still driving forward
The Greenhouse in Chicago is only the first step for Deloitte. There are plans to open similar spaces in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, New York City and at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas.
“We look at this from a leading perspective,” Spruell says. “I think we’ll see new clients and we’ll existing relationships grow. We already have existing clients coming in to talk about new issues because we have this environment. We have something really special and meaningful and it’s going to take people a while to catch up.”
The key to stay ahead of the competition takes ability to understand that you can really never rest. Just when you think you’ve pulled ahead, you have to figure out how to widen your lead.
“This is for leading today and maybe for a bit into the future,” Spruell says. “But how do we keep our eyes even further into the future and continue to evolve whether it’s 3-D printing or other new technologies that come into place. How can we build the space to make sure we are actually building for the future?”
Spruell and his team will continue to work hard on tomorrow’s goals. But they sure are enjoying today’s success.
“We do have something special here, but I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Spruell says. “We definitely want to lead from the front on this strategy.”