For many young entrepreneurs out in Silicon Valley, the startup path doesn’t lead to fabulous independent success. It leads to acquisition. Today’s news that Accenture, the massive international consulting firm, is acquiring Fjord raises the question: Is that trend creeping into the design world, too?
The need and demand for digital transformation is growing, and for some opportunities Fjord only offers part of the needed solution, not all of it. Since we’re an ambitious team, we want to change the world--we want our design and innovation to touch lots of people. To do this globally and at scale, we needed to look beyond the borders of Fjord.
All 200-or-so employees from Fjord’s various international offices will make the jump, a shot in the arm of design talent that will dramatically expand the services Accenture can offer to clients.
Acquisitions happen all the time, of course--Google, Apple, and other tech giants have long snapped up startups for engineering talent. But lately, it seems, bigger companies have been eager to pad out their in-house design departments too. Google bought husband-and-wife creative studio Mike & Maaike last year, for example. Facebook acquired the user experience firm Hot Studio earlier this year. Mega-VC firm NEA recently announced its own design mentorship program.
These developments shouldn’t be surprising. As user experience and interaction design become ever more important in our increasingly digital world, powerful companies seem to be getting the picture: design means far more than just putting pretty pixels on a screen. It’s something much broader, requiring a diverse and talented team. Small firms have long been on the cutting-edge of this sort of work, figuring out how to marry technologies and engage users in novel ways. It makes sense that the Accentures of the world are starting to see that value and gobble them up.
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