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The challenge for business leaders is to ride ahead of the curve, to create game changing solutions through innovation
“Innovation in services and service delivery will become a key differentiating factor.”
That’s one of the conclusions of a new Law Society report which looks at how legal services have changed and may continue to change over the next five years.
The report identifies five key drivers including technological and process innovation, new entrants into the marketplace and a change in the way in which both people and corporates commission legal services. The impact of regulation and globalisation are also seen as key drivers with the increasing globalisation both of organisations and of legal practices requiring a greater understanding of cross-border law.
In fact, the report makes interesting reading not just for the legal profession, but for all those who are looking for a basis on which to define the trends, threats and opportunities which may affect their business sector over the next few years. For example, the report’s authors comment that “The diverse range of demands and impacts on the profession is forcing a rethink of everything from training and development through to the type of people being recruited.” Furthermore, the report says that “If a business is not reinventing itself to adapt to changing market conditions then it is highly likely it will go into decline or be taken over by those that are better adapted to the new environment.”
These remarks could equally be applied to organisations right across the business spectrum. Technology, changing consumer expectations and increasing globalisation are forcing organisations to change business strategy, and to reshape organisational culture to embrace innovation. As the report highlights “Any discussion around opportunities for solicitors will inevitably settle on the word innovation” adding that it is a mistake to think about innovation purely in relation to use of technology to deliver legal services. With regulation acting both as a barrier to and a driver of innovation, the report highlights a variety of innovation approaches available to the legal profession including service, strategic and organisational innovation.
Transforming the culture of any organisation, legal or otherwise, is not something which can be undertaken lightly. Scoping or introducing change in a manner which is too short, too sharp or too shallow will only lead to change fatigue as the proposed transformation falters in the face of misunderstandings and multiple barriers to change. Once the decision has been made to reset the culture it is tempting to rush ahead; but unless an organisation takes time to understand its current situation, scopes change and builds a transformation pathway then it has little chance of success.
Legal practice or not, the next few years will bring tremendous opportunity for change. The challenge for business leaders is to ride ahead of the curve, to create game changing solutions through innovation which will not only deliver benefits for the organisation, but also for its customers and for society as a whole. The changing technological, political and societal landscape may introduce uncertainties, but what is certain is that organisations which attempt to march on unchanged, to deliver business as usual, are likely to be overwhelmed by the changing tide.