Accenture has become the latest company — joining almost 20 others — to announce the opening of an innovation center in Midtown Atlanta’s Tech Square, on the fringes of the Georgia Tech campus. With intentions to employ 800 by 2020, Accenture’s Innovation Hub stands to be one of the largest of these centers.
So what will those 800 employees be working on?
This center, set to open next summer, is one of 10 planned additional Innovation Hubs the strategy, consulting, and digital company will open around the country over the next few years as part of a technology innovation commitment and job push announced earlier this year. By 2020, Accenture will invest $1.4 billion in training and increase their total workforce by 30 percent, adding 15,000 new jobs.
The first new Hub opened earlier this year in Houston. In these Hubs, Accenture employees work closely and collaboratively with clients — Accenture counts more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers — to rapidly prototype technology-based solutions to problems. The goal is to explore and bring expertise in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, drones, computer vision, and virtual and augmented reality to solve business challenges.
“Our clients look to us to help them grow, compete and transform in the digital economy,” says Jimmy Etheredge, Accenture’s senior managing director of the U.S. Southeast and a Georgia Tech graduate. “We are bringing innovation to their doorsteps with a new destination in Atlanta where we can co-create solutions to their biggest challenges and deliver ground-breaking, tangible results faster than ever.”
One feature of the Houston Hub, which will also be present in Atlanta, is a Liquid Studio, a place where software is rapidly ideated, prototyped, and built.
“Accenture Liquid Studios help companies become built for change through new technologies, skills and ways of working,” says Etheredge. He says that Accenture employees working in the Studio will enable clients to experiment with blockchain, robotics, AI, and VR.
This type of studio can help Accenture’s large enterprise clients work in an agile manner, developing and releasing software products at the speed of a startup.
Another feature of the Atlanta Innovation Hub is a Fjord Design Studio, an arm of Accenture Digital that employs design thinking methodology to solve problems for clients. These Studios operate in two capacities: service design, or how to architect a service in an innovative way to best serve users; and digital product creation, where design and development teams collaborate to deliver a tangible product. Accenture operates more than 20 of these Studios around the world.
To provide this agile, forward-thinking work, Accenture is on the hunt for highly-skilled technical talent.
“The 800 jobs that we will be adding to our Atlanta business over the next 3 years are highly-skilled technology jobs, tied to the growth, and expansion of our business,” says Etheredge. “Fifty percent of our business is tied to new technology areas like digital, cloud and security, and many of the jobs are in these areas.”