Organizing for innovation

Preferring a skateboard over a Porsche

You will understand why an innovation team of a global law firm decided that a skateboard would suit them better than a Porsche after you read the “Winning turned out to be the beginning” case.

This case starts with a few talented lawyers in the eDiscovery group, who were confident that there was a better way to teach other lawyers how to go about e-discovery. They won the pitch competition in their firm, with a video that showed the overall vision for their eDiscovery University and the benefits it could provide to the lawyers of the firm.

The team realized that despite the win, eDiscovery University was still just an idea. To make sure their project would not end there, they signed up for the T4 program.

Their original vision had been to build “a Porsche” -- something flashy and clever. A few weeks into the program, the team realized, more value could be created if they focused on practical utility first. Taking away all the bells and whistles, the eDiscovery university started to take shape, including how the team could deliver a tangible solution within the four months they signed up for the T4 program.

In this process of iterations, the team learned that “a skateboard” would suffice. In a culture that strives to do everything very well and in which the default is to offer white-glove full-service solutions, that was a huge mindset change.

When a skateboard is preferred over a Porsche.

Many firms think about innovation in terms of budgets and not investments. You expect a budget to be spent. You expect an investment to deliver a return.

In terms of a budget – a Porsche may be a good spend.

In terms of an investment – in most cases, a Porsche will be a terrible idea.

Working through the business case, made this team think about their innovation project as an investment. Once they did, they were no longer interested in building something super cool and fancy like a Porsche. It would require them to deliver an unfeasible and unsustainable return.

Clearly, there is much more to this story - for that, I recommend that you read the full case!





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