Taking innovation to the next level

Steve Martin, UK

Innovation Leader, EMEIA Financial Services

Innovation is happening everywhere and the pace of change is staggering. We recognize that what worked well in the past may not work in the future. We sat down with Steve Martin, EMEIA FSO Innovation Leader, to learn more about our approach to innovation at EY. 

Innovation is one of the key EMEIA Financial Services priorities for Vision 2020 and beyond. The combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, robotics, blockchain and big data analytics has the power to transform our market and the way we operate our business in an unprecedented way. We aim to disrupt ourselves before we are disrupted.

Innovation, at its core, is driving change across our entire business - what we provide to our clients, how we deliver and the commercial approach behind this.  This means that we have to focus on the right problems, think laterally and outside-the-box, and come up with the best approaches. Successful innovation for us is not about inventing solutions which search for a problem, but focusing on the problem first, and then finding the right solution. 

Playing to one of our key differentiators, we have adopted a collaborative approach to innovation.  We involve people throughout our business, across service lines and geography, not only to identify the opportunities but also to develop and design them with the broadest audience. This is not about a central team in a dark room, but engaging many people with different insights.

It is also important to recognize that it does not always need to be the grandest idea which uses the latest technology. A simple change to the way we approach a task or issue could add significant value by increasing revenue or freeing up people from routine tasks to allow them to be involved in more value-add services. Innovation also applies to EY internally, enhancing our own internal processes. In short, we need to improve and enhance our current operations, and disrupt ourselves before we are disrupted. 

In my role as the EMEIA Financial Services Innovation Leader, I not only focus on developing and executing an innovation strategy that will make EMEIA Financial Services market leaders in this space, but also aim to develop an innovation culture within EY which allows for everyone to share, collaborate and innovate.