Although new business development is as important for law firms as it is for any manufacturing firm, manufacturing firms have a dedicated unit to develop new products and services, whereas law firms do not.
- On the one hand this is not surprising. — New business development is something every partner and associate in the firm is responsible for, not just a dedicated few.
- On the other hand this is surprising! — After all, is it efficient to have everyone trying to figure out how to develop new business? Or does a platform exist that could serve as an ongoing resource?
How can a law firm go about establishing a center for legal innovation?
Establishing legal innovation: Start with a club
Forming a “club” is the first step towards establishing a center for legal innovation in a law firm. Don’t be daunted by the expectation of needing a fancy brick-and-mortar type of structure dedicated to innovation from the beginning. That is not what a legal innovation center is about. It’s really more like a well-organized and highly functioning club. The primary purpose of a center is to provide a place where those who share an interest in innovation can interact for the purpose of new business development. A place where they can share best practices and discuss challenges with fellow innovators. A club-type format is therefore all that is required to start.
From club to hub
The club begins to become a hub, a resource for how to innovate, when you provide education about how to design experiments, how to generate leads, and how to create a business case. By starting with a club of like-minded individuals who are eager to challenge the status quo, help clients, and have an impact, you provide them with the opportunity to share experiences. The club format is enough if the goal is just to discuss ideas and best practices about how to implement those ideas. However, as soon as there’s a need for more sophisticated knowledge and support, you will be moving to the “hub” stage.
From hub to center
The hub transitions to being a “center” when you need to establish a framework. Once the hub is functioning as it should, questions will arise about the effectiveness of the education provided. Tracking innovation metrics requires a framework which makes the collection and understanding of information possible. An innovation center both facilitates the process and ensures that it runs as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Some suggestions for metrics to track:
- Productivity: Is the productivity of those involved in innovation increasing because they are more motivated? Is it going down because business development is taking time away from other opportunities? Or is it staying the same because these two effects are balancing each other out, or perhaps because there is no effect at all?
- Client satisfaction: Are the clients impacted by the innovation program more satisfied than the other clients of the firm?
- Revenue from new clients: How much revenue is generated from the new business opportunities developed and facilitated by those involved in the legal innovation center’s activities?
Tracking these types of metrics will enable the legal innovation center to prove its value and become a place that has the ability to tackle key strategic issues.
Interested in learning how to establish a legal innovation center, or eager to set up a club or hub, or interested in learning how to convert your club into a hub, and into an innovation center? Please visit our website www.organizing4innovation.com for more information, or send an e-mail to info “at” organizing4innovation “dot” com.