The FINANCIAL — Building on their trailblazing partnership of more than 15 years, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and MIT today launched the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology. The new initiative brings together Accenture’s technology, strategy and industry experts and the best minds from across MIT to explore how the convergence of industry and technology will transform global business, what it means for the future of society, and how organizations can uncover and better capture its opportunities.
The five-year initiative will develop forward-looking thought leadership, research, educational programs and other activities to offer industry fresh insights and practical guidance on realizing the full potential of technology. The project is co-sponsored by Accenture’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Sweet and MIT President L. Rafael Reif.
“As disruptive technologies and ideas continue to blur the boundaries between industries, moving with speed and designing a future that will benefit all requires a different approach,” said Sweet. “Rapid progress will depend on the ability of industries to learn from each other, from technology leaders and from diverse perspectives across business and academia. MIT, with its strengths across science and engineering, the arts, architecture, humanities, social sciences, and management, and its continuing commitment to interdisciplinary programs, is the ideal partner for Accenture to create breakthrough new research, education and thought leadership programs that can help companies and countries seize the opportunity of the convergence of industry, technology and markets and embrace the change it will bring to create more 360-degree value for all.”
“The world is experiencing disruption beyond what any of us have seen in our lifetimes. In that context, it is more important than ever that academia and industry collaborate to address pressing societal challenges and opportunities,” said Reif. “Building on MIT’s long relationship with Accenture, we are eager to join forces again now to demonstrate how the convergence of industries and technologies is powering the next wave of change and innovation, and how we can harness and shape these forces for positive impact.”
The MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology will advance three main pillars:
- Research: The initiative will address industry and technology convergence through a portfolio of near- and long-term joint research projects. Topics will range from the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and reinventing healthcare with robotics, to the role of artificial intelligence in the workforce of the future, to driving value with digital manufacturing and supply chains. Insights from these activities will be developed into reports and presented at global forums.
- Education: New programs combining the unique, leading capabilities of Accenture and MIT will explore areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, bioengineering, 3D printing, robotics, 5G, blockchain, and quantum computing, to better equip industry and business leaders with an understanding of the convergence of forces reshaping business. Programs will be brought to life through novel approaches that allow for digital learning and collaboration at scale targeting business executives, as well as more than 500,000 Accenture people, and will include a C-level executive education program focused on immersing leaders in the foundations and implications of today’s and tomorrow’s technology.
- Fellowships: Innovation is at the heart of this initiative, and innovation is fueled by diversity. To ensure that the initiative enhances diversity across critical disciplines, MIT will designate, and Accenture will provide academic support for, five “Accenture Fellows” each year among its graduate students. These fellowships will be awarded to graduate students working on research in industry and technology convergence who are underrepresented, including by race and ethnicity and by gender.
“Collaborating with MIT on cutting-edge industry research will enhance the value we provide to our clients and elevate our position as a global thought leader on technology and industry convergence,” said Sanjeev Vohra, global lead of Accenture Applied Intelligence and Accenture’s program lead for the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology. “This initiative will also give Accenture professionals and MIT faculty and students unique opportunities to explore, ideate and learn.”
Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and MIT’s lead for the initiative, added: “Our new collaboration with Accenture, which will build upon prior mutual efforts, is an obvious and wonderful step forward. I can’t wait to see the many incredible educational and innovative opportunities launched through this alliance.”