Vicky Ernst, UK Sponsor for Global Shapers: ‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’

18 september 2018

By Mohammed Al-Sharifi

Mohammed Al-Sharifi, Global Shapers Ambassador for the UK, gets an exclusive insight from Vicky Ernst, the UK Sponsor for Global Shapers on issues ranging from innovation, changing the world and advice for young Arcadians!

Just before we get into the discussion, tell us about Vicky Ernst – what do you do inside and outside of work? do you have any particular hobbies/ interests/ passions? 

I have been with Arcadis for almost 4 years now and am transitioning into my new role as Innovation Lead for EMU (Europe Middle East and UK) which was recently announced – this involves driving a programmatic approach to delivery of the innovation agenda. It also means creating an environment which promotes the development and sale of new value propositions for our business driven by the market and our client needs. Outside of work, I enjoy physically challenging myself – I reached the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro last year. Generally doing things that push and test me!

What is the one word that you would use to describe Global Shapers?

Exciting. This is because Global Shapers really represents everything we want to achieve as a business, it supports our strategy and will give all participants the opportunity to really make a difference by being innovative, collaborative in an uncertain environment.

Tell us about your role as UK Sponsor for Global Shapers? Also, does this mean that you get a free invitation to the Global Shapers face-to-face programme every year?

This role is about supporting and providing guidance to Global Shapers, ensuring they are fully equipped to embark on the experience and to help maximise value for all. This includes past, present and future Global Shapers. Sadly, I don’t get a free pass, but I am actively involved in supporting our Global Shapers from the UK, as well as being a nominated ambassador for one of the teams and look forward to hearing all about it!

Do you have any ideas on how the Global Shapers programme or Arcadis in general could better harness the potential of young Arcadians/ millennials? You previously mentioned that you have a view on how to maximise opportunity and create the best environment at Arcadis?

We have an amazing opportunity right in front of us to change the future of Arcadis. Global Shapers are perfectly positioned to help make this impact and take a leading role in influencing our transformation agenda. Coupling this with my innovation role, we will be able to harness the outputs of the #FutureCities theme being addressed in the Global Shapers week in Boston into our Big Urban Cities Programme and beyond. This is the first time we have pro-actively supported the ripple effect before the face to face programme has taken place.

What would your advice be to young passionate Arcadians who want to change the world?

On an individual basis, be brave, be creative, stretch your imagination and push yourself outside of your comfort zones. On a more collaborative basis, co-create with clients, ecosystems or in teams, bring outside-in thinking to the table. These are important because we need to ensure we have a strong digital foundation to survive and are able to reinvent ourselves in solving the challenges of tomorrow.

“Be brave, be creative, stretch your imagination and

push yourself outside of your comfort zones.”

A bit of a random question, but do you have any recommendations for books that have inspired you? Or even a quote, words of advice or an experience that had a profound impact on your life?

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein

I like this quote because I feel there is always opportunity, however, ambiguous or complicated the environment may be. There is always a way of distilling this and getting to the solution.

In terms of book recommendations, there are two books I would like to mention. “Sprint: How to solve big problem and test new ideas in just 5 days” by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky & “The Art of Innovation” by Tom Kelley. We are adopting design thinking as our approach at Arcadis and both these books give a great insight into that.

What would your message be to Global Shapers Generation 2018?

Really be in the room, this is a safe environment to test yourself, be open minded and learn from each other. Embrace every moment.