Professional Services

Innovation challenges in the professional services

Why new service development is challenging for lawyers, clinicians, engineers and other professionals

Lawyers, clinicians, engineers and other professionals have a few things in common. They are all smart, busy, and have super specialized jobs. 

Due to technologies like big data, block chain, artificial intelligence, etc, there are many opportunities for new service concepts and new business models in the professional services. However, developing such innovative new service concepts is challenging in this context. Complex concepts, demanding clients, and limited scalability make bringing an idea to practice even more challenging than it is already for any other organization. 

Ideas are not the problem

There are plenty of opportunities and ideas for new services. Everybody is just so busy, making it challenging to transform ideas into practical solutions that clients value.

Project selection?

With many specialties represented, it is difficult to recognize a project's potential and prioritize projects. Too many projects in the pipeline means everything is underfunded, making new service development a frustrating process for all involved.


Business case proposals are used to select and prioritize projects. What data and information should be covered in such a proposal? Most professionals lack the time and skills to create a substantiated proposal for their new service development project.


Teams are the key to success in new service development. However, it can be stressful to find suitable teammates, challenging to find common ground, and difficult to make all members pull their weight. 

Train, Team, Develop, Deliver

To address these challenges, professional service organizations need to approach innovation in a unique manner. It does not work to expect a dedicated innovation unit to innovate on behalf of the organization. We have learned - and have the research evidence to back it up - that it works much better to:

  • Engage professional in the new service development process through training programs that are aligned with their interests and abilities
  • Enable those who are most dedicated and engaged in the process to form teams. Provide these teams the opportunity to do the work needed to bring their ideas to practice - in short burst, if that fits their busy schedules better
  • Develop the new service with the team that will deliver the new service. Provide support where and when necessary
  • Deliver and share successful concepts with the rest of the organization and the profession if appropriate

It then is the task of the innovation unit to orchestrate these activities and to maintain and optimize the innovation infrastructure.  

Without a structured approach to new service development, the above is difficult to achieve. Let alone that it will be feasible to turn new service development in a generator for new revenue streams. 

At Organizing for Innovation we build innovation capabilities and accelerate new service development through a team-led, discovery-driven, and milestone-based approach build on the principles explained above. If you are interested in making new service development a revenue generator for your organization, please feel free to contact us.