– There’s nothing like immersion to refresh old habits and reimagine new ways of thinking. That’s the spirit behind our Experience Studios, a network of creative spaces where our clients will come to have their assumptions tested and thinking stretched. The first studio opened recently in Toronto, with construction getting started in New York on a second, and further sites planned globally.
The Toronto studio is a 5,500 square-foot open space wired with the latest technology. “The design is intended to foster collaboration and innovative thinking,” says Rohit Bhapkar, a partner based in our Toronto office. The technology makes possible interactive exercises using, for example, virtual reality and apps that let clients experience how their customers will be using digital more and more in their everyday lives. Guests at the Toronto launch event, including Google Canada CEO Sam Sebastian and Canadian tech entrepreneur and TV personality Michele Romanow, got a taste of the digital future via the Muse meditation headband from InteraXon and the virtual/augmented reality headset from Sulon.
“It is about exploring the art of the possible,” says Yael Taqqu, a New York-based senior partner who is leading the Experience Studios worldwide. Also on offer are learning sessions on topics such as rapid prototyping, advanced analytics, machine learning, and robotics.
While the fluid and flexible feel of the space is special, immersive experiences have been part of McKinsey’s client learning programs for some time. Over the last few years we’ve created a network of model factories, where clients ranging from senior executives to shop-floor managers come to get their hands dirty (literally) redesigning processes on the spot. Then there are our Silicon Valley Innovation Boot Camps, during which clients are immersed in the region’s dense ecosystem of start-ups, venture capitalists and big-thinking technologists.
Toronto has more than its fair share of innovators, too, which explains why it was chosen for the first Experience Studio. “Five of the world’s largest banks are located here as well as a thriving start-up community, so there’s a burgeoning scene around FinTech and machine learning,” says Rohit. Networking events and on-site visits will let clients hear direct from the city’s entrepreneurs about some of the leading-edge work in progress.