By | May 24, 2019

I was privileged to be invited to the grand opening of Accenture’s Industry X.0 Innovation Center in Essen, Germany, this week.

The Innovation Center is a creative space that companies can use to capture and generate ideas to address real-world challenges that their customers are having. Accenture brings its vast industry knowledge, experience, partnerships and more into the discussion.

The center is located in the old powerhouse of the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The coal mine and power generation facility was founded in 1847 and closed in 1993. It is a spectacular plant that gives a real feeling of the heavy industries that dominated that part of Germany and was a critical component of the progress made during the First and Second Industrial Revolutions. It seems fitting that this facility is now going to be highly influential as we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Accenture has created a space that allows customers to discover and be inspired by the wide range of technological solutions that are available in the market today.

However, that is not the primary purpose of the center. It is clear that Accenture’s drive is to support customers in the ideation process, to be creative in their design thinking and to support them in quickly creating prototype solutions for real-life business challenges. The technology is an enabler to provide solutions to challenges successfully, but it’s not the starting point.

All of this is packaged into an agile and iterative approach that allows adjustments in the direction of the solution to be made very quickly. As we took a guided tour of the facility, we could see some real client solutions being worked on by development teams in the “co-create” area.

The evening kicked off with a welcome from Frank Riemensperger, the chairman of Accenture Germany, followed by a set of keynote speeches from the Accenture team of Götz Erhardt and Tracey Countryman and a guest keynote from Andreas Pinkwart, the minister of economic affairs, innovation, digitalization and energy for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. A common message from the evening was the importance of understanding the business problem, bringing people along on the digital transformation journey and getting their buy-in early in the process. The next step is supporting all of that with a technology selection and adoption to help them do their job safely and efficiently. The ability to be agile in design and to iterate quickly to get to the right solution was also highlighted as an important factor in a successful, scalable solution.

After the speeches, a buffet dinner was served with refreshments and live entertainment.

Thank you, Accenture, for the invite to the grand opening of this truly impressive innovation center.

I look forward to seeing Sphera’s Operational Risk Management software as part of this innovation hub and hearing about the successful and innovative projects that will be conceived there.