Press release

PA Consulting enhances global innovation and product design capability through acquisition of Essential Design

31 October 2018

PA Consulting (PA), a global innovation and transformation consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, announced today that it has acquired Essential Design (Essential), a Boston-based innovation strategy and product design business. Essential are experts in user-centred design, improving customer experiences and driving innovation to market.

Essential complements PA’s global capabilities in strategy, innovation, product design and engineering and manufacturing process improvement. PA’s team supports world-leading innovations such as Virgin Hyperloop One’s reinvention of transportation, Skipping Rocks Lab’s efforts to create sustainable plastic alternatives, and Monica Healthcare’s quest to save lives of unborn babies through innovative monitoring.

Formed in 2001, Essential has flagship clients in the consumer, life science and healthcare sectors. Its diverse team of researchers, designers and engineers inform and translate innovation strategy, to create breakthrough physical and digital products. Essential’s work has won international recognition and received numerous industry awards for excellence in design research, design strategy and design development.

In a world where strategies, technologies and innovation collide, the combination of PA’s and Essential’s capabilities will enable organisations to transform the way they bring new products and experiences to market. The acquisition provides PA with a new centre of excellence for innovation and product design in the United States, which will work in partnership with PA’s long established Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Cambridge, UK.

Frazer Bennett, PA Consulting’s Chief Innovation Officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome Essential Design to PA Consulting. Their team is passionate about understanding and empowering people; creating design-led visions that inspire change. This fits perfectly with PA Consulting’s Purpose: ‘We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world’. As well as enhancing our US presence, the brilliant Essential team will extend our capabilities at the front-end of design, bringing our clients’ customers a world of ingenious opportunities.”

Essential Design’s founding partners, Scott Stropkay and Richard Watson, said: “We’re very much looking forward to joining PA Consulting. Their range of expertise, commitment to client success and unique ability to deliver innovative physical and digital solutions, building the futures we both imagine, is awesome. Becoming part of PA Consulting allows us to design more comprehensively, affecting more positive change for our clients.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Notes to editors

About PA Consulting

An innovation and transformation consultancy, we believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world.  

As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity.  

Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results.

We are over 2,800 specialists in consumer, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, and transport, travel and logistics. And we operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics and the Gulf.  

PA. Bringing Ingenuity to Life.

About Essential Design

We are a diverse team of researchers, designers, and engineers who inform and translate strategy to create breakthrough physical products, digital products, and service design solutions.  By leveraging our teams’ diverse expertise, we develop a deep understanding of stakeholder needs, uncover compelling opportunities for innovation, and precisely align priorities.

Essential Design has become a leading innovation strategy & design consultancy known for delivering meaningful end-user and business value. Empowering people through design. 

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.