Three days of disruptive innovation

Federico Collarin, Italy

Our EMEIA FSO Advisory Consultant Network Learning Event brought nearly 500 Advisory Consultants together in Rome. Federico Collarin shares his experience. 

While sitting on the train to Milan I was both tired and sad thinking about the past few days at our EACN Learning Event. The event was an amazing experience, three full days of disruptive innovation and technology!

Before taking you through my time in Rome, let me introduce myself in a few words. I was born in the 90s and I grew up in a little town in Veneto (in north-east Italy, near Venice, a city that's a bit more well-known!). I had the opportunity to study and work in various places, including Udine, Leeds, Turin and Madrid. Because of my passion for innovation and technology I collaborated with a start-up developing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies. I later applied to EY because I realized this was the right place for me. It offered an international environment, challenging projects, disruptive technologies, strategic ways of thinking and extraordinary learning opportunities, just a few of the things I had been looking for. 

Now that you know me a bit better, let me share some highlights of my experience.

First of all, everyone was so excited to be meeting new people. It was a rare opportunity to network with other leaders of the future. On the first day of the event, our Partners shared innovation success stories and many other interesting presentations on EY's culture, which I learned a lot from. I particularly enjoyed the presentation on EY's global Wavespace network, a group of flagship centers focused on researching and developing future technologies. It was fascinating to see how we're developing such disruptive projects across the globe.

The second day was a challenging one! An e-mail popped up on our devices launching the Innovation Challenge, a 36-hour hackathon where we were tasked with coming up with disruptive ideas and a working app to bring this to life. From that moment, my team and I needed to identify solutions for an existing problem within our industry.

The first phase was the brainstorming. A lesson I learned here was to be brave in sharing whatever comes into your mind, even the seemingly silly ideas can bring the best solution! The second phase was structuring our idea. The aim here was to give shape to the problem and solution identified by our team in the brainstorming session. This required a bit of work and some fine tuning but we got there in the end - complete with our proposed go-to-market strategy for EY. Perfect!

The third phase was developing our plan. We found ourselves faced with a blank paper, determining a small road map to meet our deadline. We then set roles and responsibilities for everyone ahead of our pitch. The fourth phase was all about the execution. Everyone was focused on their assigned tasks but we also regrouped to ensure we were all on the same page. We made sure to practice the pitch so we were confident on the day. To convince your audience, you definitely need to have conviction in what you're presenting. That took us to the fifth and final phase, the pitch! Going to the stage, opening your slides, and letting the magic happen. We had 10 minutes to summarize all that we had been through over the last three days and in a heartbeat it was over. All that left me to do was reflect over the last 36 hours, the incredible people I had met, the mentors who guided us and all the laughs along the way - because every good story involves some laughter.

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