Booz Allen sees tech return on innovation investments

Booz Allen Hamilton has made major investments to introduce new levels of innovation throughout the company, including opening its Innovation Center in downtown Washington, D.C. last May.

Michael Isman, vice president and Strategic Innovation Group executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, said the company sees innovation as “integral in paving a path to the future, and a way for us to enable our people and our clients to truly do things that will change the world.”

The innovation center is a place where “project teams come together and work in an open and collaborative environment.”

“What we’ve noticed: not only do we get the benefit of people feeling and acting innovative,” he said. “But we actually get value proposition from project team to project team.” In other words, project teams are able to build off each other, even if they’re working on different problems.

The greater Washington region is a perfect place for innovation to be fostered, specifically because of the ability for the area’s entrepreneurs to work with the federal government, Isman said.

Understanding that working with the government can be a maze, Booz Allen works “to be a conduit for new entrepreneurs and new ideas to bring into the government,” said Isman. “We understand the missions that are going on, we understand the contract mechanisms, we understand the challenges that they’re facing, and we actually have access in meaningful ways.”

Various technologies are expected to boom over the next few years, and entrepreneurs are being taught how to use them.

“One [technology] is the future of cyber, and where it’s headed, another is the future of how digital solutions become a driver in business and the federal government,” he said.

Booz Allen has opened innovation hubs all over the nation. “We’re actually co-locating,” Isman said, instead of simply opening Booz Allen offices in these locations. Through this, the company is able to work directly with startups and entrepreneurs.

“We get smarter about the things that they’re doing, they get smarter about the things that we’re doing,” and a cooperative relationship is fostered, he said.

Booz Allen also works directly with resident entrepreneurs and goes to market partnering with these startups and entrepreneurs, said Isman.

“We’re putting skin in the game working with them, and then they can take advantage of the fact that not only are we able to invest in their infrastructure, in their capabilities, in the joint possibilities for us, but we’re also able to bring the potential of actual business,” he said.

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