In the ever-evolving landscape of global business, staying ahead requires more than just adapting to change – it demands a commitment to innovation that reshapes industries and defines the future.
We recently announced the acquisition of Silicon Foundry by Kearney, one of the world’s foremost global management consulting firms. By seamlessly merging our collective expertise, we aim to create a powerhouse of knowledge, strategy, and resources that will drive meaningful change, enabling businesses to not only adapt but thrive in an era defined by both evolutionary and revolutionary new technologies, platforms, and business model innovation. The collaboration will increase the scope and pace in which we serve as trusted advisors to support and help empower corporations with the tools and insights they need to navigate an increasingly fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.
In this Q&A with Neal Hansch, CEO of Silicon Foundry, and Evan Gutoff, Partner at Kearney, we dive deeper into the transformative potential of this acquisition, exploring the ways in which the companies will jointly pave the way for corporations to embrace the future, leverage the most impactful emerging innovations, secure their position at the forefront of their industries, and create lasting impact on a global scale.
Tell us a bit of the background behind how this deal came together and history between the deal proponents and firms?
Neal: The history between Kearney and Silicon Foundry is perhaps indicative of the nature of our business. Through the ecosystem and our past roles, we’ve enjoyed a number of long-standing relationships with various members of the senior leadership at Kearney. We reconnected last summer and this set the stage for exploring in earnest the potential power of joining forces. For Silicon Foundry, this signifies the opportunity to accelerate our reach and resources, as well as the path to amplify its impact across Kearney’s global clientele. Conversely, joining forces with Kearney ushers in a new era of expansive possibilities for Foundry as a part of an ‘orders of magnitude’ larger platform. It’s a testament to the influential force of relationships that traverse the ecosystem. This union signifies not just a partnership but the emergence of a shared family, where the alliance extends far beyond the transactional and into the realm of a proactively integrated and lasting collaboration.
What has excited you the most about the opportunities of Silicon Foundry becoming a Kearney company?
Neal: What excited me most was the potential for a significant leap forward in our scalability – an exponential leap that could only be achieved by combining forces with Kearney. This partnership grants us access to an extraordinary brain trust of thousands of Kearney experts spanning the globe. Reciprocally, our collaboration introduces Kearney’s clientele to our forward-looking capabilities. Themes like supply chain and operations, thrust into the spotlight by the pandemic, are areas where our strengths naturally converge. This dynamic exchange empowers both entities with insights into emerging trends, broad and deep networks, and access to frontline intelligence on the unfolding future. It’s a symbiotic relationship – one that epitomizes the essence of a true win-win scenario.
Evan: Kearney aims to be the leading management consulting firm helping corporations transform – and it’s become compellingly clear that to continue to innovate, large companies need to be able to better navigate, partner with, and leverage the external innovation ecosystem. Silicon Foundry provides us a unique capability to be able to help our clients manage this, and I think the impact it can have on our clients will be huge.
Can you tell us a bit more about Kearney, its evolution, key power alleys, and global footprint?
Evan: We are headquartered in Chicago, extending our influence through 60+ offices and over 2,500 consultants worldwide. We are the leading management consultancy on the topics of strategic transformation and strategic operations, with a nearly 100-year track record of delivering results for clients.
At Kearney, we forge partnerships with C-suite leaders to tackle their most critical transformation endeavors. What sets us apart? Our reputation as the industry’s quintessential results-driven firm. We don’t just offer advice; we create outcomes that leave a lasting impact. Our pride lies in our collaborative approach, where we join hands with our clients to navigate the complex terrain of operations and transformation. We pride ourselves on not only providing great strategic advice, but helping our clients get stuff done.
What was it about Silicon Foundry that motivated Kearney to pursue the acquisition?
Evan: Navigating the evolving landscape of innovation within large corporations is hard for a variety of reasons. Our clients have recognized that to achieve genuine transformation and meaningful innovation, forging closer ties with the driving forces of change – the innovators, entrepreneurs, founders, and venture capitalists – is paramount. In this context, the significance of Silicon Foundry’s capabilities cannot be overstated; they encapsulate precisely what our clients need.
There’s also a cultural alignment between the two firms. Within Silicon Foundry’s culture lies a dual harmony – one of innovation and practicality. This fusion is nothing short of a perfect resonance with our own ethos. Their team mirrors our values of being both trailblazers and pragmatists, working shoulder to shoulder with clients to actualize transformative visions. In essence, the culture fit is seamless, further solidifying the foundation of a partnership that is bound to redefine the realm of innovation.
What will this joining of forces mean for current and future Members of Silicon Foundry?
Neal: I used this word before and I use it often in my day-to-day conversations – it’s a term that encapsulates the essence of what propels us forward: “global brain trusts.” This phrase represents the culmination of decades of diverse expertise; a treasure trove of real-time insights from the “frontlines” that now stands poised to be integrated into our work with Members. While the foundation of our work most often focuses on connecting corporates with best-of-breed startups, the possibilities extend well beyond. We also proactively engineer and foster Member-to-Member interactions,where there can be powerful knowledge sharing and impactful collaborations in areas of mutual interest. We also want to connect our corporate Members with corporates who may not be in our immediate network. And, last but not least, we are also looking to curate more immersive experiences for our Members – intimate gatherings and events that foster meaningful connections. As part of the Kearney family, we’ll be augmenting our own repertoire of events with a vast array of experiences orchestrated by seasoned professionals across the globe.
What are the key goals of deepening the work Kearney and Silicon Foundry collaborate on?
Evan: I think the topics and capabilities that Silicon Foundry brings to the table are so critical. As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, corporations recognize the need to stay better connected to the investors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who are driving this change. Silicon Foundry will help our clients participate in this ecosystem efficiently, and when done correctly, will play a key role in helping them continue to transform and evolve. Again, there is a natural synergy between our efforts which will add even more value for our clients and help grow both firms.
Neal: There are a handful of universal topics being discussed in executive team and boardroom meetings the world over. Seemingly at the top of everyone’s list right now and ripped from the daily headlines is artificial intelligence (AI). The same questions continue to emerge in the minds of C-suite leaders. What are the real-world applications? What are the most pressing and tangible use cases? How should we be leveraging AI-driven solutions across the various parts of our business? Similarly, decarbonization solutions and how to achieve sustainability goals are constantly discussed among leaders and change practitioners. Nearly every Fortune 1000 player is establishing, if they haven’t already, their carbon neutral and ESG targets in the years or decades ahead. One of the main questions they’re asking is: What will be the role of emerging companies in terms of providing the tangible and scalable solutions needed to meet these aggressive goals? Aligning with Kearney will help us better answer these questions for our Members and clients by identifying and outlining specific application opportunities.
Is there any Member or client work underway that you can share insight into, such as core themes that may align with trending topics in the innovation ecosystem?
Evan: We are actively working on client engagements together right now, and the topic is often related to helping our clients navigate the long-term future. One example is a mega pharmaceutical company who is struggling to figure out the future of their workplace. They know it will be hybrid, but they also want some people to come into the office. What is the role of the office? How will they inspire employees to return? And what technology is needed to enable this transition? Kearney and Silicon foundry are working on a joint engagement to define a roadmap.
Leveraging Silicon Foundry’s network, we talked to technology companies, venture capitalists, and other industry leaders who are reshaping what the office of the future could look like. We combined this insight with Kearney’s own strength in helping clients navigate uncertainty and translate this into a practical roadmap for the future, which created a solution for our clients that neither firm could have created on their own. It’s easy to imagine all sorts of different forward-looking challenges that we as a collective will be able to help our clients navigate.