Duff McDonald, author of The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business, said to me: "Few companies spend as much time analyzing their own business model as thoroughly as McKinsey does. One can only assume that they've considered the concept of a 'McKinsey Junior' -- a truly independent entity -- even if they have yet to actually create one."
As The Economist put it:
Mr McDonald points out that whereas McKinsey has led the "financialisation" of basic industries such as oil and gas, it has had little if any role in shaping the giants of the internet economy, such as Apple and Google. The new lords of business are engineers in hoodies, not MBAs in pinstripes.
McKinsey Junior could give McKinsey & Company a chance to attract internet giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Yahoo as clients.
McKinsey Junior is not to be confused with McKinsey's Business Technology Office (BTO).
McKinsey's BTO specific task is to develop McKinsey's competencies in technology and lever them for the firm's clients.
BTO and McKinsey work on the same principles and the consulting work is fully integrated with the other McKinsey offices.
But what McKinsey Junior and McKinsey's BTO have in common is that they both provide independent and objective advice with no conflicts of interest with regard to system manufactures or IT service providers.
An interesting insight regarding the powerful advantage of the independent and objective advice one can find in a quote from the New Yorker article, "The Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in the C.E.O.'s Office" by Duff McDonald from August 1, 2013.
"Because we're not actual venders of technology like most I.T. consultants, we're sitting on the same side of the table as the C.I.O., not the opposite side," said Frank Mattern, the head of McKinsey's German office, in a July, 2011, interview. "That's an enormously powerful and valuable position to be in."
What distinguishes McKinsey Junior from McKinsey BTO's work is McKinsey Junior's true independence from the parent company, the firm philosophy, the corporate culture and the business model.
Although McKinsey Junior is a truly independent entity, the parent company McKinsey would participate in the success through its equity stake in McKinsey Junior.
McKinsey Junior advantages will be similar to the ones of a Junior of a successful father with the same name. With other words, Junior can take advantage of the status, wealth, and influence of his parents -- McKinsey & Company -- but can and will go his own way.
McKinsey Junior talent pool will be different in their mix of expertise, qualifications and professional backgrounds than what you might find -- or will be hired, for that matter -- at traditional consulting firms.
McKinsey Junior will take advantage of McKinsey know-how through McKinsey Solutions, which basically gives McKinsey clients access to the collected data-knowledge of McKinsey but without the consulting team.
Two recent publications have shed some light on the issues McKinsey is facing. It is Duff McDonald's book The Firm and the article published in the Harvard Business Review., "Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption," by Clayton M. Christensen, Dina Wang, and Derek van Bever
Both publications come to the conclusion that the best days of the consulting management industry may have passed.
That is exactly the moment when new previously unthinkable ideas should be thought and executed.
One of the great challenges McKinsey faces is that they have to find new ways for their advice to be relevant for the Internet economy.
Since the biggest consulting companies make their money with the problems of the big companies, one can see the problem McKinsey might have if it doesn't have an essential role within the leading Internet companies.
One of the big issues that management consulting companies face is that technology is moving much faster than management can adjust to it. A fact that is known to McKinsey. However, identifying the problem and solving it are two different things all together.
McKinsey Junior is one of such a solution that should be further evaluated, since it resembles more closely an Internet company than classic consulting company.
McKinsey has to reinvent itself in order to attract those Internet giants as clients.
What is so different with McKinsey Junior and what is the added value for McKinsey and its clients?
That is the million-dollar-question, or better said, the billion-dollar-question.
It is exactly because McKinsey Junior is so different from what McKinsey stands for or at least what people believe it stands for.
McKinsey Junior stands for young, daring, passionate, entrepreneurial, mixed professional backgrounds. Dare to think the unthinkable and execute it and make the impossible possible.
This makes McKinsey Junior more credible in the eyes of the clients, who would never have considered going to a traditional consulting firm for advice but would consider McKinsey Junior's advice.
The young managers and founders of Internet companies can easier identify themselves with a consulting firm which has "Junior" in its company title than with an old established firm which is not known to be the best innovator, as indicated by McDonald in his book The Firm.
For those companies McKinsey Junior would seem like a perfect fit.
McKinsey Junior will represent a new consulting business model and appeal to clients who drive business model innovation.
McKinsey Junior -- The Jump 'Outside the Box' (Part 2) will appear in the coming days.
THE BRAVE STEP McKinsey Junior -- The Jump Outside the Box' (PDF Magazine)