Accenture Acquires UK-Based Innovation Firm Happen

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
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Accenture has acquired Happen, a privately owned innovation firm that uses proprietary methods, frameworks and digital tools to help clients generate new ideas, products and services that drive business growth. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Happen is headquartered in London, with additional offices in Amsterdam and New Jersey, and has a team who possess a wide range of innovation skills, including strategy, design, ideation, insight and research.

Since its establishment in 2007, Happen has helped companies primarily across the consumer goods, food and beverage, retail and life science industries. The firm’s key skills include consumer insights where teams identify new opportunities and determine how an organization can commercialize them; and product and service innovation. Happen has developed many technology frameworks, tools and methods — such as StarMaker, F.I.R.E., Asset-Out and Vision-Led — to help organizations grow and transform, including technology that can track and measure consumer emotions at scale.

For instance, the firm helped a healthcare company use insights gleaned from consumers to overhaul a strategy to market cough medicine; the new positioning took the product to the number two spot in the U.K., with one pack sold every 10 seconds. Happen also helped a leading grocery chain map how people move around its stores; making small tweaks to the customer journey that more than doubled revenue from breakfast cereals and increased snack purchases by 40%.

Happen’s employees will join the innovation practice within Accenture’s Products Industry X.0 business, which helps clients use advanced digital technologies to reinvent their products, services and business models to achieve higher efficiency and growth in operations across the enterprise — including design and engineering, manufacturing, supply chain management, logistics and customer support.

“Bringing data-driven intelligence to clients’ decision-making, Happen helps companies tailor innovative products, services and experiences to create customer-centric businesses,” said Eric Schaeffer, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its Products Industry X.0 practice and supply chain & operations consulting practice. “The acquisition further enhances the analytics, design and engineering capabilities we use to help clients deliver relevance at scale to a marketplace of millions of individuals."
Mark Cowan, co-founder of Happen, said, “Joining Accenture will enable us to scale our offerings and capabilities and deliver our services to an even greater range of clients. We’re excited to become part of one of the world’s truly great companies.”
Happen is the latest in a series of acquisitions Accenture has made recently to expand its Industry X.0 product innovation capabilities. These include the acquisition last month of Pragsis Bidoop, a Spanish company with expertise in big data, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, and its acquisition in March of ?What If!, an innovation firm that uses an experimentation-driven approach to help clients incubate new products, services, business models and organizational cultures. Other acquisitions in recent years to drive product innovation capabilities for Industry X.0 include those of hardware engineering firm Mindtribe, strategic design consultancy designaffairs, and product design and innovation firm Altitude.