How to stop looking at the horse manure and make innovation happen

How to stop looking at the horse manure and make innovation happen

In Part 1, I looked at why disruptive innovation often comes outside and suggested that those who resist change do so even at their own peril – literally, sometimes, in life and death situations. So it is hardly a surprise that even whilst espousing business transformation, lawyers resist the very changes they aspire to.

Of course, the legal services industry is not life and death. And no, I’m not going to make the Bill Shanklin jest about it being far more serious than that. Except, sometimes it is.  Sometimes human liberty, even life, can be at stake. Sometimes it does not even need to be so dramatic for a matter to have a life changing impact: being removed from accommodation unlawfully or having a judgment entered against you. With the withdrawal of legal aid there is a pressing social need for legal services to be made cheaper and more readily available to the poorest and least able in society.

We know that that’s not likely to happen for a while. The iPod wasn’t made to be cheap – when first launched it cost $399 and the first model T Ford cost $825 (or about $18,000 in today's dollars).  What happened in both cases was:

  • Innovation first
  • Process and price improvement second

First, find a solution that works for the people rich enough to play and pay. Then, move into mass production. The same is true of drugs: first the research and development that creates a cure, then the generic version available

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About the author:
Sally Calverley runs Richmonte Wells, a business consultancy for ambitious SME law firms. Her clients are forward thinking, entrepreneurial and welcome Sally’s fresh approach and no nonsense attitude to legal business. She trained at Norton Rose, was a partner and Head of Commercial Litigation at Capsticks, a management consultant and then Commercial Development Director for Bevan Brittan. Since then Sally has been continuing to help clients build their businesses in a time of change and opportunity.