Innovation as a Service


As an innovation lab within EY, we worked with people throughout the company, to come up with innovative solutions for challenges they encountered in their work field. We wanted to streamline the process of developing a challenge into an MVP. We also wanted to expand our offering by focussing on the strengthening of the innovative mindset of EY employees. By doing all this we would be able to test many more ideas and increase the impact our lab generated.


Flexibility – Efficiency – Clarity: The service had to be flexible enough to include all types of ideas. It also had to be easy to explain to everyone within EY (from “Partners” to “Juniors”). Because we wanted to test the maximum amount of product ideas, we had to minimize the time between idea and MVP. Therefore we wanted to standardize as much (tools, methods, etc.) as possible.


Part 1: Solutions & Products = A product development service that consists of 5 phases, sequentially Discover, Define, Design, Develop, Deliver. There is a checkpoint after each phase to see if the idea is worth continuing. Part 2: Culture & Mindset = A variety of workshops and presentations to strengthen the innovative mindset of people within EY.

My Role

This project was developed by a team of 4 (me included), each with different skills and backgrounds. Together we created the overall structure. For each of the 5 phases in “Solutions & Products” one person was appointed to be in charge of the detailed elaboration of that specific phase. In the case of phase 3, Design, that person was me. This meant that I was responsible for coming up with the best tools and methods to streamline the process where a project came in as an idea and proceeded to the next phase as an interactive prototype.



Divide the “problem to solution”-process into 5 phases

Research & Brainstorm

After doing research, we gathered our findings and started brainstorming.

  • Competitor Analysis: What we wanted to do wasn’t new, so we started to look at the competition.
  • Cognitive Mapping: We searched for similarities between research findings and looked for parts that would (or wouldn’t) fit our specific situation. We also looked at previous innovative products we developed. This to see how those “came to life” and would fit in possible processes.

Outcome structuring “problem to solution”

The structure we came up with, consisted of 5 consecutive phases where every idea had to go through, in order to be developed into a widely adopted solution. An evaluation would determine after each phase whether the idea was worth moving to the next phase.

1. Discover

People within the company are asked to come up with ideas to solve broad challenges.

2. Define

Most promising ideas are selected to be further shaped and researched on potential impact.

3. Design

Ideas are transformed into tested prototypes for MVPs.

4. Develop

Prototypes are developed into MVPs

5. Deliver

MVPs are being used and improved upon until ready for adoption on a larger scale (e.g. additional service-lines, countries).

Defining each phase

Leading phase 3: Design

When defining this phase I focussed on:

  • Tangible & high-quality outcome: This phase could only become a success if we got and kept the trust of our clients. Words only get you so far.
  • Research (software-)tools: Not only finding the best tools for “now”, but thinking about a tool’s relevance in the future as well.
  • Search the right UX process: Find an optimal process that works for every type of idea.
  • Discover UI/UX resources within EY Global: There wasn’t much to go from within EY Belgium at the time, but on a global level we weren’t alone.

Design Sprint 2.0

I choose to integrate the Design Sprint as a ‘fixed’ value in the Design-phase for these reasons:

  • Align all key stakeholders: A lot of time, effort and disagreement are saved by placing all stakeholders in the same room at the same time.
  • Users are included: Easy to involve users from day 1.
  • Coach innovation mindset: Build confidence among team-members about the impact they can have on the final product themselves.
  • Encourage innovation mindset: Demonstrate techniques team-members can use outside of the project.
  • Huge time saver & fun!
Ezgi (UI-intern I had the pleasure to mentor) & myself after we facilitated a successful “What is a Design Sprint”-workshop to our team.

Prototyping with Framer X

I picked Framer X as our go-to prototype tool for a few reasons:

  • Corporate security guidelines: Export prototypes as a webpage and host it on your own secure servers. No “secret” data will be sent to their Framer’s cloud.
  • Easy to share: Access prototypes without creating an account or download an app.
  • Usertesting: If preferred test-users can use their own device or even their favorite browser.
  • Reusable components: Out of the box interactive components like forms, media players, maps, etc. And lets developers create their own which are then reusable for other projects and even easily integrated into the final product during development (React).
  • Low- & very high fidelity: The high fidelity possibilities were a very big plus for us.

Service Design behind the scene

To optimize the customer experience during phase 3, I created a “back end” that allowed for this:

  • Communication plan: Mail schedule & templates for onboarding, daily summary & next steps and offboarding.
  • Off-the-shelf hardware: Everything was prepared so that a Design Sprint could start within an hour IF necessary.
  • Notion: During my time at EY The Factory I introduced our quite young team to Notion ?. Everything you needed to know, e.g about the Design-phase, could be found there.

Finalising the complete offering

Solutions & Products

All different phases were defined and formed 1 streamlined process to generate innovative solutions and products.

Culture & Mindset

We came up with additional offerings (workshops, events, etc.) aimed to strengthen the innovative mindset of EY employees.