Friday, November 23, 2007

Innovation: Lessons From Allen & Overy

We've said it once, and we'll say it again...Allen & Overy rocks!

As validation of their management led dedication to the mantra of innovation (by the way, they are one of the only firm's in the world to devote a constantly updated section of their website to discussing the ways in which they
embrace innovation, rather than simply having it as a corporate buzz word in their marketing material), they are constantly experimenting and thus sharing the lead in areas of technology and KM innovation, online services, and information delivery aimed at client services.

Check out news of their experiments with new media and information delivery vehicles
here, and then watch a cracking example of the quality of their productions, and the potential for the diverse use of this media approach (this example is aimed at graduates) here.

It should be noted that Allen & Overy (and possibly one or two of their peers) no doubt have been doing this and/or thinking of this for some time, and that the wider community is only simply finding out about it now.

Clayton Utz in Australia have followed with a pretty interesting (particularly from a content perspective for those interested in a simple outline of legal privilege and also those thinking of the ways in which enterprise search can be applicable to litigation procedures) example

This is not about saying that one firm will or can win more business, or be better lawyers, because of the fact that the press are reporting about their use of this particular type of media. That is a separate debate. We are simply saying that the potential for positive brand recognition and press inches is constantly seized through this very type of approach to innovation.

Not everyone will find this type of information delivery (or indeed the very concept of utilising different media) applicable or of value to their clients, fee earners, or potential recruits - and many will simply see this as a new way of impacting the brand of the firm concerned, or "playing". Either way, (and particularly in our small community of KM, IT and law firm management) the firm's name is out there as a leader in this area.

Another important observation regarding this type of activity - it doesn't need to be a heavy or expensive exercise, nor does it need to take weeks or months to plan and deliver. As a result, firms should stop procrastinating and putting red tape in the way of innovation. Get a good idea, get buy in for innovation and experimentation from management, admit when you should be getting experts who have seen it and done it before to help you rather than stumbling over it because you may want to "play" or be seen as owning the win, and simply get on with it.

One thing does just show how fast and far firms can fall behind the pack in relation to innovation (and even simply what follows innovation - expectation) if the firm simply sits and waits for things to happen.

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