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We've come a long way delivering innovative solutions. But our next chapter is still being written.
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As a company, Booz Allen is more than 100 years old. But since the brightest future belongs to those who adapt and change, we’re redefining “business as usual.”
One way we’re doing that is with our Innovation Center in DC.
It’s all part of our push to constantly cultivate a culture of innovation at the firm. This spirit of “entrepreneurship and innovation has been at our core since the beginning,” says Senior Associate Chris Holmes, who is helping foster creativity at the firm. “As we looked ahead to the next 100 years, we had an opportunity to freshly infuse innovation in how we approach the market and solve client problems. The greatest pool of innovators are our employees, who understand their clients’ missions better than anyone.”
“This spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation has been at our core since the beginning.”
- Chris Holmes, Senior Associate
And so our Innovation Center, located on the first floor of our offices at the corner of 15th & I in Northwest DC—also known as 15th and Ideas—is a place where our great thinkers can come together.
"My team wrote ideas and algorithms on a writeable wall there, something we were working on for a client in the health market,” says Associate Julian Van Giessen. “Later, I had an impromptu conversation with a principal visiting the center that day, who saw how our ideas could provide a possible solution for his defense client. It was a tangible example of how our open work environment can drive new ideas and the transfer of innovation across the firm."
To build upon our culture of innovation, we’ve created a set of tools and programs to go with our Innovation Center. They include:
The Garage: A crowdsourcing platform where employees post ideas and problems, get feedback, and pose and respond to “challenges.” Since launching in 2014, the Garage has crowdsourced nearly 1,000 ideas, and 19,000 votes have been cast by employees to posted challenges.
The Combustion Chamber: A live, "Shark Tank"-like event where employees get 5 minutes to pitch ideas to a panel of senior partners—no decks, just their pitch and the qualities that make it stand out.
Annual Ideas Festival: A celebration of our innovation efforts that enables us to give back to our community. The day’s events—which take place simultaneously in several Booz Allen offices—bring together junior employees and senior leaders for sharing, networking, and workshops where solutions are brainstormed for issues faced by a local nonprofit. In 2015, employees across the firm took part in the festival via a custom app that connected users through photos, comments, and real-time feedback. More than 87,000 interactions and impressions were generated.
The Millennial Project: An effort to attract the sharpest young talent in the market. It includes a winter engagement program to expose junior technical talent to consulting earlier in their career-seeking process; a 10-week competitive Summer Games internship; a Student Incubator to source, capture, and prototype brilliant new ideas; and a means to invest in the STEM talent pipeline by working on social good endeavors.
With the right tools, the sky’s the limit when it comes to advancing innovation. Like recent media coverage has illustrated, this is “not your grandfather’s Booz Allen.”