During the 1960s, when BCG was founded, the firm focused on building its competitive strategy, spreading new ideas, and creating a collaborative culture.
Bruce Henderson founded the Boston Consulting Group in 1963, when most consulting firms focused on benchmarking and spreading best practices. Henderson had a different vision. He set out to help companies differentiate themselves so they could thrive in an increasingly competitive world. The timing was perfect, as European and Japanese companies had recovered from wartime devastation and were entering markets worldwide.
From the start, Henderson was interested in spreading new ideas and challenging conventional wisdom, not just winning business. He began publishing hard-hitting, provocative essays called Perspectives on thorny management challenges. That wider focus helped to distinguish the firm in another area, integrity, as clients learned that BCG cared about more than just revenue.
In addition to high-level strategic insights, the firm offered data-driven analysis and powerful models such as the experience curve.
Henderson was a veteran consultant with strong opinions, yet he believed in collaboration more than hierarchy. From the start, he made a point of hiring talented graduates from the most selective business schools. Henderson’s main investor suggested calling the new firm Henderson & Company, but he wanted to make the best use of this talent, so he dubbed it the Boston Consulting Group.