Episode 37 – Harry Gaskell – EY

Harry Gaskell EY Innovation Climb in Consulting Podcast

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Happy New Year!

Today’s Guest is Harry Gaskell, Chief Innovation Officer for EY UK and Ireland.

What is a Chief Innovation Officer? Well that’s something we discuss in today’s show but at it’s most basic, Harry is responsible for identifying emerging technologies to launch new platforms and products to help EY improve its clients’ businesses.

Prior to taking this role Harry was the Managing Partner of EY’s UK & Ireland Advisory business which he grew from zero to £250m during his time at the helm.

In addition to his work with EY Harry is the Chair of the Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion, Chair of the Finance Committee for the University of the Arts, London and an angel investor and mentor to a number of innovative start ups.

Harry was a fantastic guest with a truly unique perspective on the Consulting industry and how it’s going to change over the coming years. If you’re looking to understand how you can future proof your career and get to the top of the industry, or any industry for that matter, then you’re going to love this conversation.

We cover a whole host of topics including:

What the Consultancy of the Future will look like and how the skills needed and the approach to working with clients is going to fundamentally change.

The impacts these changes will have on the traditional Consulting Business model and the real world examples of how EYs use of emerging technology is resulting in them having to look at these questions now.

How to foster a culture of innovation within your organisation and the common mistakes that Consultancies and large corporates make when it comes to innovation.

 And why taking some time out of Consulting could actually be the best thing for your long term Consulting career.

Harry was as open as he was insightful and this episode has a huge amount for everyone. Whether you’re a consultant just starting out or a managing partner running your own firm I know you’re going to get a lot from what Harry has to say.

You can get in touch with Harry through his LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/harry-gaskell-ab94271/

Specific things we discuss in the show:

Christopher Brooker’s theory of the 7 basic plots for all stories – https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-seven-basic-plots-9780826452092/

Kim Paykel – EYX Programme Director – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimpaykel/

EYX – https://www.ey.com/uk/en/services/specialty-services/ey-taking-innovation-to-the-next-level

George Orwell – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

My country Right or Left by George Orwell – https://www.amazon.co.uk/George-Orwell-1940-1943-Collected-Journalism/dp/1567921345

What we talk about:

00:05:26 – How the Consulting career journey is changing and what you should do if you want to set yourself up for success.

00:07:20 – Harry’s contrarian advice on making Partner.

00:11:04 – Harry’s model for the Consulting firm of the future.

00:17:15 – The skills junior Consultants should focus on to ‘future proof’ their careers.

00:20:20 – Why diversity is one of the keys to success in today’s Consulting world and what you should be thinking about internally to ensure you hire the best candidates, regardless of background.

00:23:41 – How to overcome the internal cultural challenges when it comes to diversifying your team.

00:26:40 – The story of how Harry founded his first Consulting business at just 23. How he did it and what he learnt from it.

00:31:48 – What Harry would do differently if he was launching his Consultancy today.

00:33:38 – How to innovate successfully and why a little bit of ‘innovation theatre’ may be necessary for large corporate clients.

00:40:00 – How to diversify your experience and skills to help you respond to the needs of your clients in today’s world.

00:42:56 – Harry’s role as Chief Innovation Officer, what it is and how it came about.

00:49:43 – How EY is trying to ‘disrupt itself’ before being disrupted and the real world examples of how they’re doing it.

00:53:09 – The impact these new technology solutions are having on their team and how EY are having to change their business to respond to them.

00:59:42 – How the Consulting business model is going to change as a result of these technologies and the big questions that Consulting firms will need to ask themselves to remain competitive.

01:02:19 – Why the EY Innovation team is based outside of the corporate head office and the benefits Harry and his team see from this.

01:07:25 – The biggest challenges Harry has found in trying to change EY’s culture to help the firm become more innovative.

01:10:33 – Why it’s so important to focus on broadening your horizons, particularly for senior Consulting leaders.

01:13:02 – Harry’s book recommendations.

01:15:24 – Harry’s closing advice for you whether you’re just starting out in Consulting, In the middle grades or approaching Partner level.

01:17:50 – How to get in touch with Harry.

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