Creating digital twins of physical concepts

Digital working - creativity and innovation at a distance

Unquestionably, the most palpable impact of social distancing was the immediate move to remote teaming and collaboration as workforces transitioned to work from home. Once technology stabilizes and teams become proficient at videoconferencing, file sharing and other core skills, remote working likely presents opportunities to team in modern ways while also revisiting existing overhead costs. Virtual collaboration is about much more than business continuity and ‘working from home’. It is also about the mental state of teams and the motivation for and connection to the organization.

In the other three focus areas, we highlighted that beyond survival, this is a time of change, innovation and experimentation. Creative and highly interactive processes such as brainstorming, sketching and prototyping sessions must now be performed remotely. Businesses and teams that stay connected and are successful at translating these activities to online environments by creating intimate, inspiring settings, can continue their innovation efforts.

Virtual collaboration is about much more than business continuity and working from home

The response to COVID-19 from different industries

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Concept designer utilize digital tools to accelerate innovation

Concept designers in business services are utilizing digital tools and techniques to continue with multidisciplinary design workshops and the acceleration of innovation with customers.

Organizations replicate co-located working via rituals

Across the entire business world, organizations replicate the intimacy of co-located working by encouraging the continuation of rituals, such as daily check-ins and virtual events.


Demand for data science capabilities is booming

Across industries the need for data science capabilities is still booming as it is, now more than ever, often an underrepresented skill within organizations.

Fashion retailers use their websites as virtual showrooms

Premium fashion retailers use their websites as virtual showrooms and encourage customers to schedule timeslots for visits to a strongly reduced set of physical locations.


Having a 1.5 meter dinner

Cafes and restaurants are reshaping their interiors and formulas anticipating to the new normal.  Creating new comfortable athmospheres and feasible business models in the 1,5 metres economy. 

Rethinking physical assets - new remote business models

The current situation forces all of us to immediately shift to remote ways of working and product and service delivery. With almost all offices and shops closed, companies try to find creative ways to continue their business. We cannot predict when recovery will start, but what we do know is that it takes around two months to form a new habit. The longer the crisis takes, the more new habits become a part of our life and the more new virtual business models will arise. That might imply that once we recover, we will have a completely different take on the necessity of physical assets and face-to-face contact.

This demands companies to assess their entire value chain and rethink the future role and value of their physical assets and personnel in a changed society. This is as relevant for retail as it is for the services industry. We might embrace the flexibility of virtual gym classes, prefer mortgage advice from the comfort of the kitchen table, party in our own living room every Friday night and enjoy the new virtual shopping experiences that make fitting room frustrations a thing from the past.

5 tips to thrive in times of a physical divide

Facilitate remote innovation

Invest in getting your virtual innovation process up-to-speed. Rapid innovation in customer experience and propositions is required to respond to the rapidly changing customer needs. Virtual design studios, prototyping and customer validation need to be in place to facilitate the needed innovations.

Boost commercial team effectiveness

By increasing visibility of your organization’s leadership, virtualizing agile team routines, and by transforming essential business events like QBRs into a virtual experience, you maintain the right team spirit and commercial effectiveness. People are the driving force behind every thriving business. Invest time in your workforce, to keep them motivated, connected and productive.

Redefine the ideal skillset for your organization

Transitioning into a predominantly digital business model poses new challenges, which require new competencies. Recalibrate your organization’s composition by asking yourself what skills are currently over- and underrepresented to navigate through and beyond the crisis.

Rethink existing physical elements of your value chain

Assess your entire value chain and rethink the future role and value of your physical assets and personnel in a changed society. Distinguish between legacy of a traditional way of working or whether it truly adds value for your customers.

Challenge yourself: would your business model make sense in a digital-only context?

As a thought experiment, challenge your business model by imagining it in a digital-only society, to maximally stretch your thinking and response to past COVID-19 times. How would you create value without any physical outlets, offices or personnel ‘on the ground’.


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COVID-19 forces businesses to rethink the way they execute innovation and value creation

EY VODW’s methodologies and tools are well suited for remote, virtual projects, while maintaining our customer centric and agile approach.

We help you to explore new areas of opportunity, design and validate possible solutions and launch your product into the market place. Experience remote customer journey mapping, Design studios, customer validations, service blue print design or an entire virtual Design sprint.

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Please contact us to discuss your top COVID-19 response priorities

Looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of your commercial teams while working remotely, to accelerate innovation with virtual creative sessions and prototyping or to design new business models fit for a digital-only society?  1 expert team, 4 weeks, fixed price.

Maton Sonnemans
Eveline de Winne
Sr. Manager Business Strategy
Joost Bockwinkel
Sr. Manager Business Strategy
Maurits Kuijt
Sr. Manager Business Strategy

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