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Client success stories

Consultancy meets changing business demands with complete staffing flexibility

Virtual Gurus Reviews & Success Stories

Client profile

IDEO is a leading global design consultancy with over 700 employees worldwide. They create positive impact through design by taking a human-centered approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate, grow, and bring to market new ideas. Some examples of IDEO’s past projects and products include Apple’s first mouse, Barbie’s Dream Camper, and Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket.

Having Virtual Gurus on board has been beneficial for both the internal team and leadership guidance. The internal team appreciates the extra help managing calendars, scheduling and cleaning inboxes. And since then, the team has been able to take on more productive leadership roles, which has helped streamline operations in a huge way.


Margo C.
Studio Coordinator, IDEO

The opportunity

In the midst of a transition to a more fully remote work model, IDEO was also undergoing a major restructure, creating virtual communities of discipline to connect team members from offices in various cities. They identified a need to for more administrative support to help coordinate those communities so that the IDEO leaders could focus on their core areas of expertise.

The objectives

  • Provide IDEO leaders with fractional administrative assistants to support a rapidly changing organization
  • Create more leadership opportunities for IDEO team members by reducing their administrative workload

The solution

The Virtual Gurus team matched IDEO with a team of virtual executive assistants (“gurus”), with each guru supporting three to four leaders. One lead assistant acts as the key point of contact for IDEO to monitor service delivery and identify if changes or additional support are required.

Based on the success of the arrangement, IDEO leaders soon started to request additional special project help, over and above their ongoing virtual EA needs. Virtual Gurus quickly provided additional gurus with the skills needed for each project, for whatever duration is required. Additional assistants are being added to the team regularly, with eight gurus currently supporting various IDEO leaders.

Leaders and their teams can submit additional task requests through a Slack channel, and the gurus pick them up for completion. This has provided a forum for leaders and technical team members to delegate tasks efficiently, so they can focus on more strategic initiatives.‍

The impact

The IDEO team is now well positioned to operate at peak performance, even in the midst of shifting internal and external dynamics. Virtual Gurus’ flexible subscription-based model has enabled them to meet changing business demands with complete staffing flexibility and a favourable cost structure compared to internal hiring. It also frees up capacity for IDEO team members to take on greater leadership roles.

The cost structure for the Virtual Gurus support model is incredibly favourable for IDEO compared to full time in-house staffing. Virtual Gurus VAs have provided support for up to 29 leaders, at a cost equivalent to the salary of two FTE in-house admins who would have supported just six leaders.

Having faced multiple rounds of workforce reduction, IDEO can fill many resulting resource gaps with Virtual Gurus assistants. This is empowering sustainable growth while supporting a leaner organizational structure.

IDEO’s team of gurus has been helpful in even more ways than originally anticipated:
  • Virtual Gurus VAs provide a level of continuity when there is attrition on the IDEO team.
  • Gurus have supported a greater variety of tasks beyond initial EA needs, including data entry, bookkeeping and more.
  • The lead VA is able to handle onboarding and training for new incoming assistants.
  • Freed from administrative burdens, IDEO’s leaders feel more connected to their colleagues, are seizing more leadership opportunities, and have elevated their profiles as strategic thought partners.

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