Why I left a big four to work for a small team of innovators

innovation in corporates

After 2 and a half years at a Big Four consultancy (digital, strategy and customer) I decided to make the jump to a small, young consultancy – Board of Innovation. It was a tough call and that’s why I wanted to share a few of the aspects that made me jump. Hint: it’s not the ping pong table.


Why I went looking in the first place


Before digging any deeper I must admit the Big Four Consultancy world was perfect for me as a starter. I didn’t really know what type of job I was actually looking for, so I welcomed the opportunity to work in various environments and look at many topics from the inside out. Next to that, I met a bunch of wonderful people and have learned valuable lessons (professional and private) from each of them.

It took me a while to realise that any type of decision within a Big 4 can take ages (even if you work directly with a partner) and as engagements are typically of a longer duration, you can start feeling stuck. Soon I started to yearn for a  more creative and entrepreneurial, faster-paced environment and so the job search began. Among the companies I contacted was Board of Innovation. Up to that point, I had been following them (and ripping off their online catalogue of knowledge?) for quite a while.


Board of Innovation

Recruitment rounds

The culture shift can best be described by an anecdote of my first interview. I had come straight from work and was wearing my finest suit. I had hesitated, but taken off the tie, just to be sure. I was welcomed by the entire team as I walked in straight to the open space and noticed everyone was wearing 80’s themed jumpers, tracksuits and bandanas. Apparently, they were getting ready to go to a ping pong tournament together and decided to dress up as well. ‘Nough said.

I presented a case I had prepared with 10 new revenue ideas and business models for a global bank and immediately felt like I belonged as I was being challenged on the ideas I presented. I got a call the next day to say I could go to the next round and the rest is history.


What I know now

I love this company

As soon as I started working at Board of Innovation I received my own set of projects. I was given the lead, although I could ask for support whenever I wanted it. I am now in charge of client projects from the moment they come in as leads, all the way through sales and eventual execution and follow up. These are responsibilities I would have only gotten 5 years in at a Big 4!

I have had my share of #fails by now. And they have been applauded (if not joked about every once in a while). “At least we all have things to learn”, they said. I have had the opportunity to travel to Kuwait, US and Mexico among other places, but most importantly I’ve been working on the topics I love across pretty much all industries in a small team that I love.

By the way – there’s still room for more colleagues, so get in touch or visit our job page if you’re interested!


I’m Nick Fransen,  Freelance Innovation Consultant & Entrepreneur, Co-founder & Composer @ Project Echo. Spreading innovation culture is in our DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to our mission by sharing this article.

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