John Sidey and Paul Dearlove launch ConceptSix

02 August 2020 Consultancy.com.au

Launched by two former partners of MXA Consulting, ConceptSix is a consultancy providing business, technology and transformation advice. The firm’s key focus is partnering with government organisations to support their change efforts.

John Sidey and Paul Dearlove have been working together for the best part of a decade. The pair have both worked at EY and Booz & Company, before a spell at MXA Consulting, where they both were a partner. With the global consulting industry facing something of a cross-roads in 2020, however, the pair finally decided to strike out alone, launching their own consultancy.

Commenting on the decision, Dearlove said, “When Covid-19 hit, everyone was madly trying to get to next week, and then the week after that. In the chaos of the pandemic, no one was thinking about a three-to-five-year horizon and shaping their strategy for the future. But that’s exactly the right time to reflect and reassess.”

The two consultants had been talking about “going out on our own” for years, and amid the lull in activity which lockdown brought, they were able to determine that the time was right to found ConceptSix. The firm aims supports its clients with strategy, business transformation and technology, and while it is open to helping any organisation with such work, it primarily aims at aiding government entities with achieving change.

Paul Dearlove and John Sidey - ConceptSix

“With so many organisations asking questions about their business model right now,” Sidey explained, “we thought, ‘What better time is there going to be to start a strategic consulting firm?’ A lot has happened at speed, particularly in government. As a nation, we’ve experienced some challenging lessons about mobilisation and rapid transformation. In spite of the steep learning curve, the world has discovered that change doesn’t need to take 18-24 months.”

Illustrating the opportunity presented to consulting firms specialising in government change, public sector work was already one of the strongest strands of demand in Australia’s consulting market. While it’s difficult to ascertain an exact dollar figure on public sector advisory spending in Australia, conservative estimates suggest it contributes at least one-fifth of the industry’s collective $6 billion revenue.

With Australia’s economy, healthcare system, and public services all having come under strain from the Covid-19 pandemic, public bodies will be keen to find ways to do more with less in the coming years. This means demand for consultants to help with government transformations is likely to be the area of professional services least impacted by the current recession.

In anticipation of this hefty workload in the coming months, ConceptSix has already recruited its first employee. An expert in digital transformation, both in the public and private sector, Shaeyen Mackay joins the firm as an Associate.

Mackay was most recently a Senior Consultant with MXA Consulting – the same firm Sidey and Dearlove spent the last year at – but joined in March, just as the global lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 was ushered in. Prior to her spell there, she spent three years with EY, where she latterly also was a Senior Consultant. Mackay commenced her career with the SAP Institute for Digital Government, having majored in Applied Psychology at the University of Canberra.


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