This week, PwC Canada unveiled its new digital experience centre in downtown Toronto.
The centre is meant to be a place where PwC Canada can work with clients and co-create solutions for their business problems. Leveraging the expertise of people from diverse industries — the firm had ex-ad agency leader Jon Finkelstein join as creative director — PwC hopes to create an environment where using the latest tech is seen as a tool instead of a barrier. PwC Canada works with banks in Canada, different levels of government, and private corporations.
“It’s not just about the space and the technology. It’s really the environment we’re trying to create to drive creative thinking and innovative thinking,” said PwC’s Diane Kazarian, national financial services leader at PwC. “We’ve been seen as a traditional accounting firm, but we’re a business advisory firm. We have competencies that range from technical, industry… but if you look at our talent and the kind of people we’re trying to bring in, they’re people who are not business people necessarily.”
Clients and PwC employees working in the space can test out AI, VR, IoT, and robotics in their solutions. During a press tour yesterday, the firm demoed technologies like AR glasses that help police document crime scenes; fighting robots; and model cars testing out leveraging IoT to control self-driving cars.
“Putting people in an environment to be able to think creatively is very powerful for our people and clients,” said PwC’s Diane Kazarian, who piloted PwC’s co-creation experience a couple of years ago for eight weeks, and helped one of their clients take a product to market.
The firm summarizes its philosophy in three ways: integrating business experience, taking a human-centred approach to design, and using technology from Salesforce, Workday, and SAP, to tech like AR, VR, and IoT.
The firm open a centre in Tokyo opened on November 11, and there are plans to open a New York and London will open theirs in the next few months.
“I feel that Toronto is a very important hub for innovation. There’s a lot of conversation around this, and we have incredible talent here in Toronto,” said Kazarian. “It’s been a place where we’ve had blockchain technology be born, and various founders of new ways of thinking in technology. The opening of this centre is conducive to the fact that Toronto, on a global scale, is a hub for innovation.”
Disclosure: BetaKit is a media partner for PwC’s MoneyTree report