BEACHWOOD, OHIO – Kalypso, the world’s premier innovation consulting firm, is celebrating its eighth birthday this month. Reflecting on eight years in business, co-founders George Young and Bill Poston have compiled eight milestones the firm has achieved. The firm has grown from two people sharing ideas on napkins in a hotel room to over 125 employees with clients that include some of the most innovative companies in the world.
“We started off very pragmatically – guided by our values, our mission and paying attention to the market and our clients – and that remains,” said George Young, founding partner, Kalypso. “It is a privilege to work with my partners, Kalypsonians and our clients.”
“The most gratifying aspect of the past eight years has been seeing the professional success of our individual clients and the personal growth of our people. Creating the world’s premier innovation consulting firm is a team sport and we benefit from a respected community of clients, consultants and firm alumni that are delivering on the promise of innovation every day,” said Bill Poston, founding partner, Kalypso. “When we started we believed that innovation combined with action could change the world for the better. It is thrilling to see the firm mature into a magnet for talented and passionate professionals that do amazing work.”
For Young and Poston, building this firm over the past eight years has included innumerable highs. To celebrate this anniversary, they have selected their eight favorite milestones.
Writing the firm’s mission and values
If tech companies get their start in garages, do consulting firms get their start in hotel rooms? For Kalypso, the answer is yes. The concept for Kalypso was born in a St. Regis hotel room in Houston when Young and Poston were attending the retirement party of a close friend and mentor. His retirement sparked the idea of Kalypso. Sketched out on a napkin, Kalypso’s mission – to help clients deliver on the promise of innovation – and six core values were created before the firm was. They haven’t changed since and have served as the foundation of the firm’s culture.
Achieving global reach
Young and Poston didn’t know how to dream small and knew immediately that they wanted a global firm. Months after forming Kalypso, Kalypso’s European headquarters was founded in Amsterdam by Mick Broekhof. In addition to Europe, Kalypso has staff and clients in Australia, India, Taiwan and South Korea. The firm has an aggressive plan to continue to grow its presence globally in the next 4 years.
Kalypso’s first internal partner
There is nothing like something home grown. The same is true for people. When Noel Sobelman became Kalypso’s first senior manager promoted to partner, it was a sign of the firm’s intention to serve as a platform for personal and professional growth. Kalypso was built for future generations of partners, giving each member of the team the opportunity to become an owner and “build the house they want to live in.” Through its Path to Partner program, the firm provides senior managers with the opportunity to make a business case for becoming a partner. This year, 18 people participated. Since 2008, seven Kalypsonians have been promoted to partner.
Breaking 100 employees
Kalypso has had deliberate growth since the early days. After finishing 2004 with 12 employees, the firm has never looked back. Recognizing the value of its services and the needs of the market, the growth strategy has been to keep the pedal pressed to the floor. More specifically, in 2011 the firm put an aggressive plan into place: to grow four times its size in four years, otherwise known as the “4X4Y” plan. Since then, Kalypso has celebrated its first 4X4Y milestone – breaking the 100-employee mark.
Serving 20 percent of the world’s 100 most innovative companies
Each year, Forbes releases a list of the 100 most innovative companies in the world. This year, Kalypso counts 20 of these companies among their clients – one-fifth of the most innovative organizations. As part of its core values, the firm believes that serving clients as the leaders behind the leaders is a privilege, and by doing it well, they are helping to change the way the world innovates.
Winning Consulting Magazine’s 2011 Small Jewel award
In 2011, Kalypso was awarded the Small Jewel award for excellence in consulting. The award recognized Kalypso’s steady growth, its focus on innovation and its values. The firm is dedicated to creating value for its clients every day, and credits the Small Jewel award to the passion, creativity and expertise of its team in doing so.
Winning three Oracle partner awards in two years
Kalypso partners with the best technology solution providers in the world. One of Kalypso’s six core values is to treat these business partners as if they were clients or practitioners. An example of that value in practice is Kalypso’s alliance with Oracle. Between 2009 and 2011, Kalypso was awarded three Oracle partner awards – two awards for product lifecycle management (PLM) implementations, and one for the Global Award for Application Partner of the Year.
Establishing KARMA – the Kalypso annual retreat
For a fast-growing virtual firm, maintaining a culture can be a challenge. To build and grow a strong community at Kalypso, the firm established an annual retreat in 2004 called KARMA. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences like competing in a citywide scavenger hunt in Chicago, or leading a second-line parade down Bourbon Street, are paired with work sessions to build the bonds that sustain the firm throughout the year.