The following is an excerpt from ATD Research’s latest case study, Accenture: Delivering High Touch Learning With High Tech Tools.
In the Spring of 2016, 500 Accenture executives gathered at the company’s North American learning campus, the Q Center of St. Charles, Illinois, for the annual Managing Director School. The pinnacle event was a fireside chat that opened the floor to questions from participants. Sitting casually next to one another on stage in white swivel chairs, listening and responding to the questions were Accenture’s Chairman and CEO Pierre Nanterme and Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer Ellyn Shook.
Or were they?
Actually, Nanterme never left Paris that day, and Shook stayed in New York. The assembly of leaders peppering them with questions in the outskirts of Chicago were talking to a pair of holograms. Nanterme and Shook were beamed from two Accenture studios where they could also hear and see their audience at the Q Center.
They just weren’t there.
To celebrate their technological feat—the double-hologram meeting was apparently a first in corporate America—the two even managed a virtual fist bump.
Accenture has much more to celebrate. The company has completely transformed its business over the past 15 years, from a 75,000-person consulting house focused on North America to the world’s largest comprehensive professional services firm, with 380,000 employees around the globe. Since the company went public, annual revenues have jumped from $11 billion (in fiscal year 2001) to $31 billion (in fiscal year 2015). Accenture’s share price has quadrupled in a decade.
And in the past three years, Accenture learning and talent development has responded to this global growth by executing an equally dramatic revolution in learning. The double hologram was a perfect metaphor for the new approach. At today’s Accenture, talent development marries cutting-edge technology to intimate human interaction.