EY buys 100-strong Swedish design consultancy Doberman

07 April 2020 Consultancy.eu 4 min. read

Two weeks after buying Avalanche Consulting in the US, EY has acquired Doberman, a design and innovation firm with more than 100 employees in Stockholm and New York. 

The move bolsters EY’s design consulting offering, and further demonstrates the consulting industry’s love affair with the rapidly growing design thinking segment. In the past years, a cohort of design and innovation firms have been acquired by consultancies, including AllofUs by Boston Consulting Group, Brandfirst by Deloitte, and Veryday by McKinsey & Company.

Joining the M&A spree in the design consulting landscape, EY absorbed among others Citizen in the US (2018) and Seren in the UK. The industry’s interest comes amid growing recognition of the importance of design to business propositions and consumer attractiveness, with one study finding that design-driven firms outperform their peers both in terms of revenue and profit, as well as shareholder returns.Leaders of EY and Doberman“Creativity is increasingly important for today’s businesses,” acknowledged Jesper Almström, who is EY’s Regional Managing Partner for the Nordics (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway). “Adding Doberman’s resources and capabilities to the existing EY skillset will strengthen our way of helping clients rethink their businesses through a customer experience mindset.” 

Echoing Almström’s words, the CEO and founder of Doberman Lisa Lindström said, “Design has never been more imperative for how to truly change things. This is a big, but natural leap in Doberman’s quest to unleash our ambition and achieve monumental impact. As part of EY, we can radically scale our capability with access to a wealth of deep industry insights, world class consulting capacity and an opportunity to leverage EY extensive global technology alliances.” 

Founded in 1998, Doberman helps companies innovate and design new and better services, and customer experiences. In Sweden, the firm has for instance helped Google launch its voice recognition service and Ikea with the launch of new products, while in the US the firm was part of the design team of LinkNYC, the largest free Wi-Fi network in New York. 

An integrated offering

Doberman’s offerings will be blended across several EY offering to provide for a more integral approach to increasingly complex problems, across sectors, as “customer experience and innovation are key ingredients for successful business transformation,” said Almström. 

The addition of the 100 employees – including leaders Lisa Lindström, Tove Blomgren, Elin Ankerblad, Henrik Karlsson and Olof Ålenius – lift EY’s consulting team in the Nordics to over 1,000. They work alongside 6,000 other colleagues specialised in accounting, audit, tax, financial advisory and merger & acquisition services.

As part of the joining of forces, EY and Doberman will team up to form a center of excellence for strategy, customer experience and digital design and innovation, aimed at providing cutting-edge insights to clients in the Nordics, as well as support EY teams across Europe with thought leadership and project delivery.

Two years ago in the Nordics, EY acquired BOX Associates, which is now part of EY-Parthenon, its strategy consulting arm which formed globally in the summer of 2014 when the Big Four firm bought US-headquartered The Parthenon Group.

In more recent deals in Sweden’s consulting industry, Swedish data science consultancy Advectas joined Capgemini in February this year, while late in 2019 Sweden and Denmark-based strategy consultancy Qvartz joined Bain & Company.