This month, we meet Lisa Morgan, Ecosystem Lead in the Digital Accelerator in ESB’s Chief Information Office (CIO), as part of our People of ESB series. Ecosystem Lead is a new role in ESB which allows Lisa to combine innovation, strategy, and communications. Here, she explains how the role gives her the opportunity to connect with people, regardless of their location or organisation.
What is your role in ESB?
I work in the Digital Accelerator and with the Accelerate Digital programme where we are supporting our business areas to transform into a digital utility. Last year I completed a Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership at UCD (University College Dublin) – my role allows me to use the skills and insights from that course to engage with teams right across ESB.
Since joining ESB I have been developing the ecosystem strategy for CIO, including the strategic relationship management of vendors and external stakeholders.
In June 2021 we launched ESB’s external ecosystem platform. Through this open innovation platform, we seek to connect and engage with businesses, partners, and vendors.
This platform is a key enabler of our digital transformation strategy, bringing together business and digital strategies with IT strategies, while allowing us to stimulate fresh thinking and doing safe innovation at speed.
It is our vehicle to solving challenges in a digital world. By connecting people to those challenges, we aim to identify opportunities to solve business challenges and support ESB’s Brighter Future strategy.
How long have you worked in this role?
I have been in the Ecosystem role in ESB for two years – it aligns with my role prior to working with ESB, where I was Digital and Innovation Lead in Financial Services. In that role, I led a bank-wide innovation programme, delivering agile ways of working to create an external platform of communication that linked our business teams to customers and strategic partnerships.
At the start of my career, I worked in the marketing division in ESB and that gave me the appetite to go on and study marketing. And now I am back in the organisation!
What were your expectations when joining ESB?
ESB’s brand and heritage were drivers for me to join ESB, coupled with its reputation for being a trusted and caring employer. ESB is a company that is forward-thinking in its policies – the Smart Working Charter and the views of leadership to this innovative approach brings that to life.
I also admire how ESB is invested and engaged with community sectors and in 2021, I got the opportunity to become involved in a new corporate initiative 'Alliance for Good Ireland' where companies work with selected charities, through technology, to solve a problem for social good. As part of this initiative, I got the opportunity to give back to the community and support the Parkinson's Association of Ireland.
What has surprised you most about working in ESB?
The diversity of knowledge and experience that my colleagues possess is remarkable and the willingness to extend this information and impart that knowledge. I do not know how many times during the last year I have asked our team for help or assistance and had multiple instant responses. Those responses enabled me to build relationships and get to know my fellow employees in a remote environment.
How has Covid-19 affected your day- to-day?
From a personal perspective, I have been working from home longer than I was ever office-based. Commuting across the M50 seems like a distant memory. My daily commute changed to a daily crèche drop and more quality fun time in the mornings with my son. I have also been able to put in some healthy me time daily.
From a team perspective, we have several rituals in the Digital Accelerator and CIO area. The Digital Accelerator has a daily catch-up that keeps us connected and focused on our own deliverables and that of our wider team.
We also have a weekly CIO coffee which brings the entire team together. This ensures we stay connected and informed, not only in CIO but with what has been happening right across ESB. It is my favourite meeting of the week, getting to hear from people I have never met in person but now feel that I know.
Describe yourself in three words
Innovative, curious, and fun.
What have you learned since Covid and working from home?
I was working from home for a few years before joining ESB and I continued to do so one day a week when I started back in the organisation.
A lot of people have wanted to work from home but could not see how that would work and Covid-has shown that it can and does work. You can be as productive, engaged and deliver impactful results whilst being remote. It does take more time to build your network and develop work relationships. With working from home, you must ensure you have an open door, be available, be yourself and create connections. I think for me I will go “to the opening of an envelope” when it comes to meeting up again.
What are your most looking forward to in 2022, and beyond?
Enjoying time with family and friends, eating out, traveling, and visiting far off places. I am looking forward to that smell of airport tarmac in the sun.
What advice would you give a graduate starting their career in ESB?
Ensure you have a mentor and engage with them. ESB has very experienced professionals who will help navigate your way. They will challenge your thinking and ensure that you are focusing on what is key to your role, giving you the confidence to push yourself and excel in your role.
It’s a unique opportunity when you have a mentor that you can connect with and it is so rewarding when you can build a strong professional relationship with them.
Does your work align with ESB's purpose and values?
Yes. When I look at ESB’s purpose and values, I truly feel that the work that I am doing does align. We need to be able to stand over what we do and to deliver real value for our customers and the work that is taking place in CIO will radically adapt our businesses and transform our employees’ experience.
For people who want to join your field of work, what things should they know?
Enjoy connecting with people, be interested in other people and the skills and experience that they have built up over various careers. They are great sources of knowledge.
Be open to new opportunities to get involved in areas that you might not have before. This, in turn, will build your network for you. Prepare to pivot regularly as an ecosystem is never still. It is always adapting and changing to its environment, and you need to as well.