3 minute read 17 Jun 2020
EY wavespace

Collaborating in a virtual world with EY wavespace

By

Helena O’Dwyer

EY Ireland wavespace Leader

Leads wavespace Ireland. Focussed on business transformation and cutting edge innovation for the now, next and beyond.

3 minute read 17 Jun 2020
Related topics COVID-19 Alumni

In February EY wavespace was launched in Dublin. Little did we know that a mere few weeks later, the world as we knew it would be turned upside down. The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on societies, businesses and people. But seeking the few positives of the situation, it has also forced us all to accelerate our own personal digital transformations – a transformation in mindset above all else.

Since March, we’ve seen what can be achieved at scale in very little time. Businesses all over the world and right here in Ireland have mobilised teams and relied on their networks like never before, and leveraged technology to address very immediate problems, at speed.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it yet, EY wavespace, which is physically located in our Harcourt Street building in Dublin, is a place to inspire innovation and co-create solutions with our clients. Clients come to EY wavespace to collaborate with us to address their biggest issues and to overcome the barriers that have been holding them back from growing to their full potential. This collaboration, when done and facilitated in the right way, inspires incredible ingenuity and creativity.

EY wavespace has capabilities to help users explore and test ideas, solutions and products. The essence of wavespace is not just about adapting to and implementing new technology - it’s about empowering an organisation and its people to act and operate at the same pace as the world around us and to overcome their biggest challenges to drive growth. EY wavespace is where and how we bring together the global EY community across business and technology with our clients. Its strength doesn’t lie within its four walls. Its power is in the people, facilitation and methodologies we apply to business problems. The wavespace methodologies, approach and technology capabilities are specifically designed for us to run location-neutral sessions. What this means is that we can (and have done since we began running sessions) collaborate with the leading experts in different fields within EY, regardless of where they are geographically located. Cumbersome travel logistics don’t get in the way of running sessions, and avoiding unnecessary travel means we’re running EY wavespace in a sustainable way, while delivering exceptional results for our clients.

What the last number of months has demonstrated is that no company or organisation is immune to disruption. Even organisations who’ve been wildly successful disruptors over the past 10 years are far less certain about the next. The challenges we face today are different to anything we’ve tackled before. Organisations are having to think differently and more creatively about how to prioritise and tackle challenges.

As the dust settles on the initial crisis phase of the pandemic, some organisations are faced with entirely new problems – the new Government will continue to focus on evaluating and navigating the best route to getting people back to their normal lives. 

Helena O’Dwyer

EY Ireland wavespace Leader

 

Other organisations are still facing the challenges that existed pre-COVID, such as digital transformation projects that have moved from perhaps theoretical yet important future investments, to now being urgent and immediate priorities. 

Before COVID, collaboration was almost exclusively considered an in-person activity. It was a given that the best relationships result from looking someone in the eye, being there to read body language, from having impromptu, informal conversations at the coffee machine. 

But let me ask this:

1. How many of you have developed relationships with global colleagues over the past number of months, through necessity? 

2. How many of us have reached out to global colleagues to understand their experiences and to share knowledge?

3. How many of us have relied heavily on teams in different locations to get a major tech implementation over the line?

When the crisis began in March, I asked myself “Can we do what we do in wavespace just as effectively in a virtual world?” Being honest, I wasn’t 100% sure. We had the technology, the training and the methodologies to do so, and we’d run numerous wavespace sessions with a significant proportion of participants joining virtually. EY had been running wavespace sessions virtually for years, so we had demonstrated experience that this was not actually something new for the wavespace community, it would just now be something we did routinely.

Almost immediately after the crisis began, we ran our first fully virtual wavespace session. The global wavespace network really came together in the early days to share best practice to ensure everyone was fully equipped as we moved full-time into the remote wavespace world. Since then, we’ve hosted deeply immersive sessions with teams of varying sizes, with clients and experts in various locations, both in Ireland and around the world. We’ve had AI experts from India, clients in Cork, sector experts in the Nordics and the wavespace team all from our homes in Dublin collaborating on the same session. And guess what, they’ve worked! And what’s more, they’ve been just as effective and productive as the physical sessions we’ve done.

Aside from having the correct tools and training to run virtual wavespace sessions (which is absolutely essential for success), another major contributor to the success of the sessions we’ve run has been down to the shift in mindset that we’ve witnessed, both within our organisation and with our clients. People and organisations are challenging and overcoming the artificial barriers that existed before by being open and more accustomed to collaboration.

For some clients, the pandemic experience acted as a catalyst and ignited a sense of urgency, and a can-do attitude to tackle problems that have been on the agenda for years. They’ve seen what can be achieved in a matter of weeks, both within their organisations and more broadly, and they’re motivated to harness that energy, and to do what it takes to drive change.

Despite all the hardships that this crisis has created, COVID-19 has forced us to innovate and shown us the art of the possible. What we thought previously was unachievable has been done

Remote collaboration is breaking down borders, creating new relationships and helping people see what’s possible when we have a shared objective and the willingness to get things done. Creativity, innovation, human ingenuity – these are the things that make the job we do worthwhile and inspiring.
Helena O’Dwyer
EY Ireland wavespace Leader
EY Financial Services EMEIA

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Summary

EY wavespace has capabilities to help users explore and test ideas, solutions and products. The essence of wavespace is not just about adapting to and implementing new technology - it’s about empowering an organisation and its people to act and operate at the same pace as the world around us and to overcome their biggest challenges to drive growth. 

At EY we have always placed enormous value on staying connected to our colleagues past and present. Find out more about our Alumni network.

About this article

By

Helena O’Dwyer

EY Ireland wavespace Leader

Leads wavespace Ireland. Focussed on business transformation and cutting edge innovation for the now, next and beyond.

Related topics COVID-19 Alumni