Tim Wagner
Tim Wagner
North America Ecosystems lead for Open Innovation
October 16, 2017

Accelerating the Path To Innovation

Brain power + tech innovation = business transformation.

When you combine the in-depth knowledge of the world’s top innovators and the potential of emerging tech from the world’s hottest startups, you drive phenomenal growth for clients. And the Accenture Ventures’ Open Innovation team can help make it happen.

Working closely with Accenture’s Liquid Studios, where leading-edge solutions are built with speed and agility, the Open Innovation team connects clients to enterprise-relevant tech innovators to solve specific problems and advance business transformation goals.

To spark innovation, our Liquid Studio in Redwood, California hosted an event to offer a sample of Accenture’s Innovation Molecule, a process that combines design thinking, innovation matching and piloting into one package. Innovation leaders from Accenture’s Global 2000 clients participated in ideation exercises and “speed dating” sessions with curated startups from Alchemist, the world’s top enterprise accelerator. Projects were focused on blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things technologies, designing and testing solutions that made the most sense for each company’s specific business challenges.

Accelerating the Path to Innovation

Accenture Innovation Molecule Event at our Liquid Studio in Redwood, California

Tim Wagner from Accenture Ventures leads the Open Innovation North America team. Tim shares his thoughts on his career path with Accenture, his work on the Open Innovation team and leading the Innovation Molecule event.

What projects are you involved with in the Accenture Ventures group?
We build relationships with venture capitalists, accelerators and others in the startup ecosystem to identify emerging technology that can power enterprises today. We’re not technology first, however; we work closely with account teams and practice areas to understand our clients’ needs and goals, and then we match them with relevant startups.

The key is to make solutions actionable and propose specific ways our clients can stay ahead of the disruptive curve, and to understand how they can grow while mitigating (or avoiding) threats to their business.

Our team focuses on key areas—blockchain, AI, cybersecurity, new IT and immersives (virtual reality and augmented reality)—in the products, retail, financial services and health and life sciences industries. We also lead a network of Open Innovation colleagues in 23 different countries to distribute that future faster.

How did your career path bring you to Accenture (and to the Liquid Studio)?
Before I joined Accenture, I was working on similar projects, bridging between Silicon Valley and G2000 companies for another consulting firm I helped build. Accenture had a great reputation for being on the forefront of technology and for execution and delivery. I got in the door at Accenture because I knew people on the Open Innovation team, and several people thought the role sounded like a good opportunity for me. This job is a perfect fit; it allows me to use relationships I’ve built in the startup world and it leverages my global experience.

What do you like best about working at Accenture?
I really like Accenture’s multidimensional approach to bridging technology and business. If you want to grow and thrive, you must be good at navigating both the technology and the business side, and Accenture has a long history of doing just that. I value the opportunity to work on global projects within diverse and multidisciplinary teams. Exposure to a variety of clients and markets gives you a nuanced, cross-industry perspective on the world while staying grounded on the business impact.

What did you like best about the Innovation Molecule event? Did anything surprise you?
It was really gratifying to see how much our clients were engaged with and inspired by the startups. They tried to understand the technology and the use cases; they asked themselves, “How can this startup make a difference in my business?” We also worked with startup founders, to help them answer the question, “How do you talk to big companies and make yourself relevant?”

We don’t just match our clients with startups; we focus on helping companies build their innovation muscle, and we make testing new technology a continuous habit. We helped them look at the problems they were trying to solve and then brought in relevant solution options. For this event, we pulled from general design thinking principles. We ran exercises to open our clients’ minds, so when they met those startups, they could think more creatively about how those solutions could apply to their companies.

What skills should candidates develop and/or highlight on their resume when searching for this type of career?
You need to show your passion for technology. Ideally, you are proactive in the startup area, through an internship with a startup, something you started in school—maybe you’ve even had your own startup. Show how you have pursued emerging technology outside your normal job. It’s really easy to say, “I love startups,” but we want to see people who are putting their time behind that. We need people who are good communicators, who can tell a compelling story and can demonstrate to clients how leveraging emerging tech today keeps them competitive tomorrow.

Follow your passion for innovation. Accelerate your career with Accenture.

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