Adrian Slobin, newly promoted CEO of the Nerdery, is leading its evolution as a digital business consultancy that helps enterprises tap technology to inform their strategy in pursuing business results.
Slobin joined the Nerdery last year as chief strategy and operating officer. The move came after Slobin’s 17 years at what is now SapientRazorfish as Midwest region leader and North American head of business transformation services.
At the Nerdery, Slobin launched a reorganization that he said made the firm more client-focused.
The restructuring also has driven efficiency, Slobin said, as the Nerdery, founded in 2003, evolves from designing and building software products to specializing in strategy, innovation and experience design.
While Slobin would like strategy work to account for 15 to 20 percent of the Nerdery’s business, he said the company’s approach would be strategic regardless of the engagement.
“If we are building something for them, our teams take the strategic attitude of interrogating the why, making sure that what we’re building is driving toward particular business outcomes or particular customer experiences,” Slobin said.
The Nerdery has nearly 370 employees and additional locations in Chicago, Kansas City and Phoenix.
Q: What’s driving the Nerdery’s focus?
A: Unless you’re investing in moving technology to the core of your business, you run the risk of going extinct. That creates opportunities for organizations such as ourselves, which are technology-led digital business consultancies that understand the interaction of experience and technology to create great outcomes for our customers and for employees in that space. That’s a happy place to be.
Q: What are your priorities as CEO?
A: The first thing is making sure that both our current and prospective clients are fully aware of the range of services and expertise that we can bring to bear for them. The second is talent. We need to make sure that the Nerdery is a great place to attract and retain the talent that we need. You afford them opportunities to work with great clients and to test their skills in interesting and challenging contexts. Then you offer them a clear growth path, where they can see their craft and their career trajectory expand over time.
Q: What brought you to the Nerdery last year?
A: What excited me about the Nerdery is the tremendous depth and breadth of technology talent and experience talent and delivery talent here at a size and scale that was big enough to have an impact with meaningful and sizable clients but not so big as to get in its own way and be surrounded by the inevitable inertia that larger organizations in some ways necessarily fall prey to. It was a Goldilocks size, a national consultancy with a great client portfolio and some incredibly smart people.