Accenture's move to Detroit supported by innovation hub in suburbs

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
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Accenture’s new metro Detroit innovation hub provides companies resource to help them take advantage of digital resources.

Accenture plc is preparing to add 200 highly skilled tech jobs in downtown Detroit, a move supported by its opening this week of an innovation hub in Livonia.

The 10,000 square-foot lab and demo space at 13600 Otterson Court offers a place for clients of the Ireland-based professional services firm to create and test technologies to support business services. Accenture’s eighth U.S. innovation facility will support its new regional office, which is moving from Southfield to Detroit’s Campus Martius Park in the fall.

“For the automotive and industrial industry, Detroit was the logical choice, with all the innovation being driven in the region today,” Brian Irwin, head of the company’s North American industrial practice, said in an interview. “We designed the hub to really be a space we can work side by side to do three things: to create new digital products services, to reimagine research and development and manufacturing process needs and to help digitize operations.”

Accenture is the latest company to move employees to Detroit from the suburbs, a reversal of the capital and jobs flow that typically has favored the suburbs for the past three decades. Last month, Microsoft moved 400 employees from Southfield to its new downtown location; Tata Technologies announced it was moving 150 people from Novi to Detroit's TechTown; and Google is bolting Birmingham for Detroit.

“We welcome Accenture’s decision to expand its commitments in the Detroit area and appreciate the highly skilled opportunities the company is creating for our talented workforce,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “Accenture’s investment is a testament to Michigan’s history of innovation and our growing talent base.”

Accenture currently employs more than 850 people in metro Detroit and works with companies across industries, including 95 of the Fortune 100 companies.The 200 new jobs will focus on high-growth areas such as digital, cloud, and security services. A majority of jobs will work from the company’s new regional office at 1001 Woodward Ave.

Additionally, the company is doubling its metro Detroit apprenticeship program with Grand Circus, an organization that offers coding and digital skills courses. Accenture currently has seven apprentices.

“The apprenticeship program is a great example of how global industry leaders are tapping into talent from around metro Detroit,” Grand Circus CEO Damien Rocchi said. “We’re excited to be working closely with Accenture to help career changers make the move into one of Detroit’s fastest growing job sectors.”

The Livonia hub combines a design lab with a demonstration center to aid its clients with data security, blockchain, artificial intelligence, predictive analysis, and more. Unlike other U.S. facilities, however, it emphasizes automotive and industrial development, complementing Accenture’s other hubs in Garching, Germany, and Modena, Italy.

“Continuous innovation is an imperative to succeed in today’s digital economy,” Julie Sweet, Accenture’s CEO in North America, said in a statement. “In metro Detroit we are bringing innovation to our clients’ doorsteps to help them achieve tangible, ground-breaking results faster than ever.”

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