innovationI was fortunate enough to attend the Legal Futures Innovation Conference in London at the end of last year. This is one event that always manages to draw some of the leading lights in the legal sector to talk and share their experiences, news and views on what the future may hold for the profession, and delivery of legal services.

One such talk was by Tony Kay of Lexis Nexis and he conveyed some useful key principles that they live by, when looking at innovation within their business and product offering. In current times, many of us may find that as well as having to make immediate, short term strategic decisions for our businesses, we have more time to focus on what the future may hold, beyond Covid-19.

The great thing is that you can “borrow“ the same principles, and apply them to your own strategic planning of new services, new departments, new offices, new technology, ways of working etc etc.

1. Desirability – does someone want it, and are they willing to pay for it?

2. Feasibility – are you able to do it… cost effectively?

3. Viability –does it make business sense… (specifically) to your business?

One thing that I would add is that this shouldn’t only relate to client facing innovation. It is always worth looking at internal innovation or initiatives on a constant, or at least regular, basis. Sure, there is value in offering new things to your clients to compete against other firms for new business, but you can also use innovative ways of working to become more efficient and profitable at doing the work you already have.

A very basic example – using double computer screens for staff who regularly have to take information/data from one location e.g. an email, and enter it into another, e.g. your practice management system, or online banking platform. The time saving, and increased accuracy of data entry, multiplied by the amount of times the activity is done on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis, is significant. The cost is as little as about £80 for an extra screen!

Using Tony’s criteria above, and considering it as an opportunity to innovate, it certainly meets the three tests. It is:

  1. Desirable – people (staff) want it because it will make their life easier.
  2. Feasible – easy to introduce, and costs are minimal.

3. Viable – it makes perfect business sense – for a minimal investment, it creates time and accuracy benefits, thereby making work more profitable.

So, think about innovation in a holistic way. You don’t need to be offering a new flashy/’techy’ product that no other law firm is offering, innovation is also about improving things like the way work is communicated, or the way it is done, so there are many small, easy steps you could take on a regular basis that satisfy the principles of desirability, feasibility and viability, and take your business forward.

Gregor Angus, Senior Business Development Manager. 

The Cashroom