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|Type||Privately Held Company|
|Headquarters||San Mateo, California
New York, NY
|Products||Creating New Businesses, Reinventing Existing Categories, and Building Innovation Capabilities|
Jump Associates is a strategy and innovation consulting firm with offices in San Mateo, CA and New York City, NY. Jump specializes in helping companies grow, creating new businesses, and reinventing existing ones.
The company was founded in 1998 by CEO Dev Patnaik, Udaya Patnaik, Neal Moore and Robert Becker. Its first business started with a week-long engagement with the office furniture company Steelcase, which continued to be a client in years to come. Since its founding, Jump has grown from a single-client firm to a 50-person, multi-million dollar company.
Approach and methods
Jump Associates takes what it has termed a “hybrid thinking” approach to strategy, combining the disciplines of social science, design and business strategy for the goal of identifying new markets, developing new sources of revenue and reinventing existing categories. Jump believes that this hybrid approach at the intersection of culture, design and business allows them to see around silos, move beyond barriers and find new opportunities that may otherwise be missed.
Underlying the hybrid thinking approach is an emphasis on using empathy to help companies better understand what’s going on in the world. In the book “Wired to Care,” Patnaik discusses customer empathy and how “the ‘needsfinding’ exercises that industrial designers do that seem so focused on objects and products are really about people and empathy.” Patnaik contends that empathy for customers enable companies to create offerings that are more likely to succeed by aligning directly with people’s needs.
Jump’s work is built on the premise that creativity is an expertise, and it is possible to create conditions for cultivating innovative ideas and be trained to brainstorm. The firm uses a variety of methods including improv-inspired brainstorming, having anthropologists analyze video footage of target users, revenue-generation activities, and mock business pitches. The company also relies on neuroscience and the latest team-building research and methods to improve effectiveness and camaraderie. For example, new employees take learning and skills-assessment tests, which are used and talked about on a regular basis to improve team performance.
Services and offerings
Jump’s services encompass various ways to approach brainstorming and generating ideas to solve what they term “ambiguous problems,” combining elements of management consulting, design, and selling “the art of innovation.” Organizations may hire Jump to “think on [their] behalf,” or hire Jump to teach them how to generate better ideas through a series of training sessions.
Some of the “ambiguous problems” Jump has been tasked with include helping P&G study the future of water, or working with Target to reframe its back-to-school lines by focusing on students’ mindsets and hopes rather than specific product trends.
Jump serves clients across sizes and industries, including but not limited to tech, CPG, Retail, Hospitality, Travel, as well as has specialized practices in Healthcare and Financial services. Jump has done work with companies such as GE, Samsung, Target, FedEx, 3M, Nike, HP, Harley Davidson, General Mills, NBC, Sony, and Stanford Medical Center. Jump’s collaboration with the Stanford School of Medicine on helping its medical staff achieve work-life balance won the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Faculty Career Flexibility. The work involved conducting video ethnographies and interviews of academic doctors and other staff.
Organization and culture
Jump’s organizational culture emphasizes teamwork and “considerate collaboration” in service of creativity. For example, all employees, known as “Jumpsters,” meet every morning for a standing meeting called a “scrum,” a quick get-together encompassing company news and updates, yogalike exercises and brain-stimulating games. Jump employees occasionally do “affinity exercises,” where employees ask each other to say one thing they like about them. There is also a “no zinger” policy banning Jumpsters from making demeaning or hurtful comments about other employees. Jump occasionally uses a coach to help employees with any teamwork issues, such as improving communications or conflict resolution. As part of the collaborative culture, all employees, including senior management, sit in open “neighborhoods” of five or six workers. Jump also emphasizes injecting energy, whether that’s for employees, clients, or any visitors.
The Jump office, or “JumpSpace,” was designed with Michael Fazio of the architecture firm Archideas to foster creativity and encourage employees to bounce ideas off of each other. The office includes various forms of workspaces to account for different working styles and promote informal social interaction, including a café, an open staircase in the middle of the floor, zen room, and a performance space with a garage door. The office has a flexible infrastructure for people to easily move walls, desks and whiteboards as needed.
In 2008, Jump Associates was recognized as one of the Top Small Workplaces by the Wall Street Journal.
- Jump About Us, Jump Associates official website, Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Desmarais, Martin, Indus Business Journal, April 2009.
- Spors, Kelly K., Wall Street Journal Top Small Workplaces, Feb. 22, 2009.
- Jump Fact Sheet, Jump Associates official factsheet, Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Blinn, Robert, Core 77 Book Review, Core 77.
- Segal, David, "In Pursuit Of The Perfect Brainstorm", New York Times, Dec. 16, 2010.
- Duan, Mary, Getting Jump On New Ideas, San Jose Business Journal, Jan. 14, 2007.
- Award honors medical school's work/life flexibility plan, policies, Stanford School Of Medicine News, Sept. 24, 2012.
- Richtel, Matt, Housecleaning, Then Dinner? Silicon Valley Perks Come Home, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2012.
- Hempel, Jessi, Space Matters, BusinessWeek Slideshow, Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Conlin, Michelle, Square Feet, Oh How Square!, Bloomberg BusinessWeek Magazine, July 2, 2006.