Arthur Little's European Center
at Heart of Business Model
Corporate real estate strategies are often glaringly out of step with their companies' overall business models.
Just the opposite is true, though, in the recent European location move by global consulting firm Arthur D. Little (ADL at www.adlittle.com). In fact, the decision to center ADL's European technology management business in Cambridge Science Park (www.cambridge-science-park.com) is an integral part of the new business model that's being implemented by Cambridge Consultants Ltd. (CCL at www.camcon.co.uk), which has been ADL's European technology arm since 1972.
That Cambridge Science Park location northeast of London will serve as the base of operations for the coordination, management and implementation of ADL's Technology and Innovation Management (EuroTIM) services. EuroTIM business units assist clients in generating, applying and managing technology.
Centering EuroTIM activities in Cambridge provides the setting necessary in implementing the new business model, according to CCL Managing Director Howard Biddle.
"Our new business model describes our route to becoming the foremost technology innovator in the world," Biddle asserts. "The model facilitates us to forming partnerships [and] gives us the freedom to experiment with innovative ideas and to create new businesses. We can do all this while continuing to offer our clients the security of working with a globally established firm."
As Biddle and other CCL officials explained, the new business model is designed to "increase radically" CCL's rate of creating, incubating and launching new ventures. Business areas already designated under the new plan for business development include e-commerce, drug delivery devices, digital printing and micro-controllers, officials explained.
CCL officials provided some of the details of how the new model will promote spin-offs. Business areas in which company officials see high growth potential will become distinct, specialized business units, they explained. Those units will then self-manage their own day-to-day activities, and they will be free to recruit from within the company's core business or from outside the company.
Those new units, though, will be "coordinated" from the company's core business, which will provide them with systems and support, officials added. Funding for the new business units will come from a Technology Investment Board that new CEO ADL Lorenzo Lamadrid has created.
The Cambridge Science Park has already proved to be fertile turf for one major CCL spin-off, Cambridge Silicon Radio, which was developed last year. More CCL spin-offs will be announced during 2000, company officials explained.
Employee recruitment and retention issues were also part of the location decision.
For one thing, the Cambridge concentration will facilitate what CCL officials called "an increasingly . . . merit-driven career structure."
Employees will be able to choose whether they can best advance their careers from within the core business units or from the new business units, according to CCL officials.
In addition, the Cambridge location also puts the operation in the center of a high-skill labor pool, as well as a large group of high-quality companies with which to cooperate.
Currently, 64 companies employing some 4,000 people are located inside the park. And the city of Cambridge includes operations for some 1,200 companies that employ around 35,000 people.
Increased synergies between CCL and parent ADL are another benefit that company officials are hoping that the new location will facilitate.
Said Steve Bone, leader of ADL's EuroTIM practice "ADL's technology and innovation management businesses are enjoying remarkable success across Europe. We are recruiting aggressively to take advantage of the opportunity for growth that has been provided by our success.
"To focus this growth on Cambridge, one of the most advanced centers for technology in Europe, is a great decision," Bone continued. "In conjunction with the development of the Cambridge campus, it will enable us to raise our services to new levels."
Added Biddle, "I'm delighted that the Cambridge Campus is to be the focus of ADL's technology interests for Europe. Such a close integration of a broad range of technology-related services means that both CCL's technology development services and ADL's consulting practices can accommodate clients' needs with a far greater flexibility than can our competitors.
"It's a perfect illustration," Biddle said, "of how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts."
CCL and ADL officials may be hoping that the success of the European center ultimately mirrors that of Cambridge Science Park. But they're certainly hoping that their success isn't so long in coming.
Located on the northeastern edge of the city of Cambridge, the Cambridge Science Park site has belonged to Trinity College since that educational institution's 1546 founding by King Henry VIII.
But the site was primarily used as farmland well into the 1940s. During World War II, though, it was requisitioned by the U.S. Army, which used it to prepare vehicles and tanks for the D-Day landings in Europe.
For years afterward, the property was largely neglected. Finally, local officials in 1970 set out to develop a science park that echoed the groundbreaking Stanford Park created in the 1960s in the U.S.
At first, few businesses flocked to the site. But by the 1980s more and businesses were beginning to realize that the economy was undergoing a fundamental shift. And that dawning realization was the trigger in Cambridge Science Park's transformation into an R&D hotbed.
We wonder how Henry the VIII would feel about all this. Marriage-minded, we're sure.
©2000 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.