The world in which high value professional services firms (HVPS) – accountants, lawyers and consultants – operate is undergoing dramatic change. While technological innovations enable new ways to deliver professional services, more sophisticated clients and a new generation of professionals have altered their expectations from professional firms. Together with other global and local trends this presents a unprecedented competitive challenge to established firms.

We already see many different attempts to meet these challenges by both small entrepreneurial firms and some of the large, international players. Some of these attempts show promising results, others may be less successful. The time has come to look at all these attempts at innovation in a systematic way and to see what works in professional services and what does not.


Research to applicable new insights

Headed by Rotterdam School of Management’s Prof.dr. Henk Volberda, a team with extensive experience in researching and leading professional service firms has embarked on such a study that will shed light on the ways in which professional services will be provided in the 21st century and identify the innovations that bring most benefit to professionals and their clients.


A learning community identifies innovative business models and approach patron analysis

The practical results will be generated by a learning community; a consortium with a selected number of professional firms. The community will find the most promising innovative models as well as the best approach to implementing these models. This will be done by conducting a pattern analysis. (Click on the image at the right side for more details about the analysis approach)

Read here more about the approach and plan of action


The professional services research team

Leadership to the consortium is provided by the Erasmus University. Prof.dr. Henk Volberda is overall leader while day-to-day management is provided by Dr. Martin van der Mandele, Dr. Niels van der Weerdt and Drs. Rob Wagenaar.


Prof.dr. Henk Volberda

HVHenk has been with the department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship as a professor of strategic management and business policy since 1991. He is renowned for highly cited articles in top academic journals and numerous articles and presentations in management media. Recent publications include the award winning books “Re-inventing Business; how firms innovate their businessmodel” and “Innovation 3.0”. He started his career as a management consultant with Twijnstra Gudde and is currently a member of the supervisory boards of In Person and NXP Semiconductors.


Dr. Martijn van der Mandele

MMMartijn has extensive international experience in strategy consulting and leadership of large professional service firms: Booz & Company, Arthur D. Little and RAND Corporation. He is leading the Rosarium Genootschap for alumni of the Harvard Business School programme ‘Leading Professional Service Firms’ with Rob Wagenaar and co-author of “Changing the Leopard’s Spots: Renewal of the Professional Service Firm”. He obtained his PhD at the Rotterdam School of Management with a study on leadership and the inflection point and has served – and still serves – as chairman and member of supervisory boards.


Dr. Niels van der Weerdt

NW (003)Niels is currently the managing director of Inscope Consulting, a knowledge venture of Erasmus University. He has been traveling in his professional career between science and business: as a professor of strategy at the Rotterdam School of Management and as a consultant at a start-up focused on Internet strategy consulting. His love for organizational innovation and adaptation has led him to act as a project leader with the Dutch Centre for Social Innovation and culminated in his PhD study “Organisational Flexibility for Hypercompetitive Markets”.


Drs. Rob Wagenaar CMC

RWRob is educated as business economist and management consultant and founder and managing partner of consultant firms in the Netherlands and abroad (WagenaarHoes, ASI Consulting, CAPA  Prague). He has been a consultant for a wide variety of organizations and companies, working across the world during more than 40 years. Next to his advisory work, he has acted as a program leader, teacher and trainer for consultants in international programs. For more than 12 years he has acted as the chair and member of boards of national and worldwide professional  services associations, amongst which the International Council of Management Consultant Institutes, ICMCI.