A Peek into the Future from a Trek to the EY Innovation Center
I was lucky to be one of the attendees who got the chance to visit the EY Innovation Center in New York, a company trek organized by Babson’s Graduate Center for Career Development (CCD). We made our way into a typical building in New York and, as we waited in line to get into an elevator that fit no more than five people, we were not sure what to expect at the EY Innovation Center.
The elevator doors opened and it suddenly felt as though we are stepping into a new world. White walls, warm lights and LED screens everywhere. We sat in a space facing 18 LED screens made to look like one giant screen. Rhodri Morgan, a senior consultant from Wales, welcomed us to the “EY wavespaceTM”. “This is Mural” he said, “it helps us collaborate with different client teams across different locations in the world, real time.” From his office in New York, Rhodri could be working with a team in Australia for a client in India and all 3 parties could see and edit the contents on the screen at the same time.
Next Rhodri pulled out a graph from his iPad and converted it into a projections chart, telling us that all three teams could see him do that and any person viewing this could change the numbers and see how the graphs changed. We stared with widened eyes at the huge LED in front of us. “It would be so cool if even the huge LED behind him was touchscreen and he could play around with the content on that,” I thought to myself. Wouldn’t you know it, he went on to do just that. It felt like Robert Downey Jr. was about to don his Iron Man suit next.
The Innovation Center or wavespaceTM is a place where EY teams work with clients to help them digitize and implement new technology for internal as well as external environments. The three main teams that work in the EY wavespaceTM in New York are blockchain and cryptocurrencies, robotics process automation and virtual and augmented reality. We were split into groups and taken to each of the three workstations where we were explained more about the systems.
- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies – Difficult to wrap my head around this one, but this team works on helping clients develop digital ledgers which can be used internally.
- Robotics Process Automation (RPA) – This technology is similar to the Mural technology for collaboration but also involves teams that develop software which helps constantly break data and outputs analysis, findings and results.
- Virutal and Augmented Reality – The coolest one yet, still in its development phase, but from the demo we got, we were able to put on the oculus and see at EY Innovation Centers in different cities like London, Paris, Madird or Berlin.
A panel discussion followed where employees were discussing their journey to the EY wavespaceTM. To our surprise from the panel of four only one was an engineer! The others had a business background but had transitioned to their current role following their interests and talking about it to their respective managers. A common trait that stood out among all the panelists was that they were all intrapreneurs. All of them had a desire to work on a new innovative product within EY. They had no specific technological background, but had a desire to cause disruptive change within an industry they were already part of, putting into practice a lesson we learned in the subject of Entrepreneurship & Opportunity – use your means at hand to create something.
Babson alumni Chris Maher (’96) presented the closing note and ended with the question, “So how many of you would like to work with EY?” Every hand in the room was raised.