James Henderson

With Future Friendly acquisition, EY commits to digital design in Australia

As entrepreneurs, Nick Gower and Jon Christensen have a simple but powerful purpose – “our role is to help organisations make their good intentions real”.

Commendable in theory yet likely challenging in practice, the builders of Future Friendly – a Sydney-based digital product and service design studio – are aligned to the belief that “it’s the everyday products that make the biggest difference”.

Such a philosophy has resulted in projects helping veterans access health care entitlements with Defence Health, designing services for inclusion at scale with the ACT Government and team coaching to uplift capabilities within Services Australia.

“The design of everyday products and services has the power to change lives,” Gower added.

Nick Gower and Jon Christensen (Future Friendly)

This is a team which specialises in providing human-centred research, prototyping, design and development services to assist organisations in taking ambitious new services to market.

With more than 17 years of experience, design and development projects run the gamut from innovative and customer-centric websites and apps, through to entirely new business service propositions.

The unique combination of strategic design and product development allows Future Friendly to help customers define new strategies and then “design, build and launch” new services capable of delivering “measurable impact” against agreed business, customer and community outcomes.

“After 17 years dedicated to delivering wellbeing at scale for communities through design, the next step for the Future Friendly team is a big but natural one,” Gower said.

That step is joining EY.

The acquisition will see the company join the consulting giant to lead a new business transformation offering in Australia, with both Gower and Christensen joining the partnership. The team of 41 will be based out of Sydney and Canberra, and will service clients across Oceania.

“Joining EY will give us access to enormous capabilities in strategic and technology consulting, as well as deep industry insights,” Gower outlined. “This puts us at the heart of the business conversations that will decide the future and positions us to design the products and services that will help shape all of our lives for the better.”

Future Friendly has established itself as a leading digital brand in Asia Pacific, having won 27 Good Design Awards, including Good Design Team of the Year.

“The addition of the Future Friendly team to our existing business transformation practice enhances our ability to bring our clients the deep industry knowledge and technical experience they need to address their biggest transformation challenges,” said Grant Peters, Financial Services Managing Partner across Oceania at EY.

“The joining together of our two teams will create a compelling and innovative new offering in the market.”

The acquisition will bring together design-led multi-disciplinary teams across strategy, transformation, compliance, regulation, technology and data to help clients define product strategies and roll-out new services.

To facilitate this, the team will work from a dedicated collaborative studio to develop solutions, aligned to the aim of bridging the gap between strategy and execution. This commitment will start with concept development and design, flowing through into building, testing and real-world implementation.

“This is another great example of our ongoing commitment to providing leading innovation, customer experience and digital design support to our clients, and will significantly enhance our footprint in the region,” added Anthony Robinson, Financial Services Consulting Leader across Oceania at EY.

“Our strategic ambition is to grow the practice across Oceania, and the calibre of the team at Future Friendly will assist us in achieving this ambition, as we work together to build a better working world.”


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