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Building diverse teams of experts through acquisitions



At PA, we believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. And through our work, we’ve repeatedly proven ingenuity sparks when people with diverse views, different experiences and unique perspectives combine and collaborate.

We’ve seen it time and again as we’ve helped clients take innovations from novel concepts, through complex strategies, to market-leading products and services. That’s why, for more than 75 years, we’ve brought together diverse teams of experts to create opportunity from the complexity facing our clients. And it’s why, through our recent acquisitions, we’ve brought innovative minds into our firm, with different views to add to our design, strategy and engineering expertise.

Cooper Perkins enhances technology development and engineering capabilities

Most recently, in November 2020, Cooper Perkins joined PA. The world-class technology development and engineering practice works with some of the world’s best-known brands and is used to delivering ingenious innovations. Recently, they developed a novel drug delivery technology for Genentech that enables physically limited patients to self-administer treatments safely and easily. It also won a spot in Time magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2017 after developing consumer-facing social robots. Co-headquartered in Boston and San Francisco, the Cooper Perkins team will work in partnership with our long-established Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Cambridge, UK and our teams at Essential Design in Boston and Astro Studios in San Francisco. Cooper Perkins’ product engineering strengths will grow and enhance our end-to-end innovation capabilities, helping clients’ unlock opportunity by taking ideas from concept to commercialisation.

Astro Studios expands brand strategy and product design capabilities

In June 2020, Astro Studios joined the team. Astro helps its clients deliver brand communications and user-centred design, and creates new brands, products and experiences. The San Francisco-based firm complements our global capabilities in strategy, innovation, product design and engineering, and manufacturing process improvement. In a world where strategies, technologies and innovation collide, Astro will link up with the wider PA teams to enable organisations to transform the way they bring innovation to market.

4iNNO brings further innovation experience

In June 2019, the team from 4iNNO joined us. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, they’re specialists in innovation. They have a strong history of delivering new product platforms to drive major innovations and top line growth for leading global consumer brands. Their ability to deliver world-class strategy, consumer insights and research and development are vital as our clients face fundamental changes in consumer buying behaviours. Together, our diverse teams of experts are helping clients take innovations from idea through development to commercialisation.

We Are Friday bolsters our digital expertise

We Are Friday, a specialist digital service design and engineering agency based in London, became part of PA in December 2018. Having helped the likes of HSBC, Nuffield Health and the British Red Cross enhance their digital services, their unique experiences and digital-first perspective are bolstering our innovation team. Together, we’re helping global organisations reimagine and redesign their customer experience, improve the technology that powers them and develop the capabilities to better manage that technology themselves.

Essential Design expands the reach of our design services

In October 2018, we also acquired Essential Design, the Boston, Massachusetts, based innovation strategy and product design business. These experienced researchers, designers and engineers inform and translate innovation strategy to create breakthrough physical and digital products, such as designing the Hydrow connected home rowing machine and distilling the visual identity of Woodford Reserve bourbon to build a stronger brand. In a world where strategies, technologies and innovation collide, our combined capabilities are helping clients transform the way they bring new products and experiences to market.

Sparkler enhances our digital insights offering

London-based Sparkler, a leading digital insight and strategy consultancy, also came into the PA fold in 2018, in May. Their customer insight, brand strategy and service design expertise have helped the likes of Microsoft, Diageo and Uber go further, faster. Together, we’re helping clients understand and respond to shifts in their customer and competitive landscapes, and to seize the opportunities of disruptive change.

Nyras makes us the leaders in aviation consultancy

Finally, in December 2017, we brought in Nyras, the international aviation consultancy. They’re the only consultancy in the air transport industry authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to undertake commercial and transactional advisory services in the aviation sector. Combined with our diverse teams of experts, this experienced team of industry professionals is helping our aviation clients with complex strategic and operational change, and business restructuring.

Difference of thought sparks ingenuity

Creating opportunities from complexity requires a wide variety of skills and thought. Organisations must think differently if they’re to find innovative solutions to their problems. Crucial to this process is fostering an environment of creative dissonance – where people with different skills, views and experiences collaborate with common purpose. Through our five recent acquisitions, we’re building diverse teams of experts that can truly bring ingenuity to life for our clients.

Find out more about how we bring ingenuity to life

Find out more

Chief Executive Officer

Jim Barrett

Jim Barrett

Aris Karcanias

Aris Karcanias

Hsiu Mei Wong

Hsiu Mei Wong

George Botsakos

George Botsakos

Shanton Wilcox

Shanton Wilcox


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