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