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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Innovation Insights

How to help the innovation ecosystem – and its players – grow?

For many organisations, innovative services are often considered a value-add and compete against their core service offering. Is it possible to build and grow a true innovation ecosystem within this setting?

Currently, in the legal sector, there is a distinct difference between organisations that struggle to move on from their traditional approach, those that are still debating digital transformation, and those that have already implemented change management strategies. Despite the different categories, they all agree that being an innovator in the legal sector is the way forward.

In this article, we explore different ways that can help foster an innovation ecosystem, namely a change of mindset, sharing insights within, and collaborating with like-minded organisations.

Embedding innovation into day-to-day activities

A true transformation in the delivery of services requires a mindset change across the organisation. There's no magic recipe. It's not about large companies having more resources to buy the latest technology. It's about empowering everyone within the organisation to think differently, with leadership from the top. Changing the mindset and encouraging people to move away from a less efficient approach will lead to service delivery that is more cost-effective, more streamlined, and more robust.

Another way to embed innovation across day-to-day activities is to have a team of specialists focused on improving your delivery to clients. For many, new ways of working implies increased risk, so many users want reassurance that experts advise them before using it themselves. Even though it will take time, once understood, it can then be offered as part of the skillset of each member of the organisation.

Sharing - and receiving – insights, best practices and expert advice

There's often a sense of competition around innovation in the legal sector. When attending conferences, you hear about significant achievements others are making, but rarely about the failures they have overcome en route. Why not better understand it as "coopetition"?

Process improvement is vital to any business transformation; however, there's considerable reluctance to put it into practice outside the walls of each organisation. The underlying principle of this methodology is to identify inefficiencies and find a better way, so here's a pretty simple example of how you can implement it:

  • share inefficiencies - as well as successes
  • seek out and embrace advice - copy with pride!
  • adopt best practices from the market instead of reinventing the wheel, and
  • rinse and repeat.

Collaborating with like-minded organisations

You might remember this piece from almost a year ago on our commitment to "open law" and our intent to collaborate with other organisations with the same vision. Being part of the same ecosystem is not only about sharing data, but about staying in touch with other relevant players in the industry and contributing to efforts that will enable us all to grow. "A rising tide lifts all boats" (John F Kennedy attrib).

Earlier this year, with collaboration and communication as key drivers, we joined the Global Legaltech Hub (GLTH) to help us stay at the forefront of innovation alongside other innovators. The GLTH was conceived in Barcelona but with a global ambition to facilitate the connection between law firms, corporate counsels, legaltech providers, startups and other hubs, as well as creating a safe space for sharing insights and promoting what we are achieving together.

We are proud to be the first international law firm to partner with GLTH as a demonstration of our commitment to open law, innovation and outstanding client experience.

There's no rocket science behind this, but nor are we saying that it's easy to achieve. It requires daily effort to understand how innovation benefits the individual, the organisation, and the industry as a whole. At the same time, substantive results might not be seen in the short, or even the medium, term.

We are really looking forward to generating a positive impact on the ecosystem thanks to a variety of initiatives already in development and with the GLTHub – stay tuned!

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