Digital meets physical in NY innovation

  • Posted on December 18, 2015

Avanade Ribbon Cutting

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Eoghan Slye.

Beside my computer sits a piece of ribbon recently cut and almost forgotten. The ribbon is from the official opening of the New York office, a stunning new facility in Soho, NY. I worked on the project for almost a year before we moved in. I watched as the space changed from a tired floor of an outgoing tenant to a shining example of what Avanade could and should be. I was on the journey through furniture selection, architect drawings, space management analytics, discussions about AC loads, union laws and fire codes. I am located in Charlotte but for a couple of hours each week would be mentally transported to NY, envisioning how the space could work. I was not leading the project, but that did not lessen the emotional investment.

The project truly stretched me – in some uncomfortable ways - but the 6th floor NY Innovation Center justified the nerves. Work that makes you feel a little nervous is a good thing (in my opinion). It means you are outside your comfort zone learning and growing, rather than repeating the same things over and over. It also means that you really care. So, when Adam Warby, our CEO, cut that ribbon there was a palpable feeling of accomplishment. We are finally there.

During the celebrations I was admiring the team’s work when Adam came up beside me and asked, “What do you think, is it everything you wanted?” I felt everything Avanade is about was crystallized right there in that New York office. This wasn’t about what the CEO wanted; he had empowered a team to deliver on their vision, and wanted to ensure they felt they got it right. I knelt to pick up the ribbon he cut earlier, moved back a foot and said, “yes, it is everything I hoped and more.” And, I truly meant it.

Now, wherever I am working I make sure the ribbon is in sight. Before traveling I check my passport, laptop, chargers and ribbon are in my bag. When I am tired, bloodied (metaphorically of course) and almost beaten by the email barrage, I will actually pick it up, unfurl it a little and just stare until I get to get perseverance. The ribbon acts as my inspiration and north star, I am just short of making a wrist band of it with the words “what would this ribbon do”.

We are on a growth trajectory at Avanade which ensures more projects that daunt yet inspire. I hope to start a collection of mementos, but this tattered ribbon will always be my first. It reminds me that brave choices aren’t always the comfortable ones and great colleagues can make anything possible.

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