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2008.10.31

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Patti Spencer

I think the mindset against innovation and creativity comes fomr the organizational structure, not the economic model. Having worked both in a banking corporation and law firms, I can tell you that those who rock the boat with new ideas, whether for bad or good, are penalized in the hierarchical system. Only organzations that reward creativity will succeed in the new marketplace.

GAL

Patti:

Interesting observation. There's no doubt that large companies are at a huge disadvantage in so many ways. Many large companies (leaving out ones like Google) simply do not creativity or innovation. You are correct that “rocking the boat” is often disfavored within large organizations. Obviously, this tends to diminish the possibility of innovation.

I’d be interested to hear more about your thought that organizational structure is a barrier to innovation. I’ve have been focusing on incentives. Google has incentives in its system for creativity and innovation. Thinking “outside the box” can result in direct rewards by way of compensation and status within the Google culture. But most large companies, and certainly most large law firms, are the antifascist of the Google approach.

Because law firms and lawyer exist in an extremely insulated world which is a mystery to the average person or company, innovation will certainly not come as a result of client demand in most instances. Consumers, both businesses and individuals, often learn about their options within the market as a result of advertising and marketing. While consumers don’t believe everything they read and hear, they do get a sense of what market options exist and what matrix might guide their decision.

Those of you who follow this blog know I am a tremendous proponent of law firm advertising. While there needs to be continued regulation on the personal injury side, it is stupid to believe that companies will somehow be deceived as a result of more aggressive attorney advertising on the web, TV, radio and otherwise.

For instance, what if our firm took out a national radio campaign attacking the hourly billing method and offering our flat fee defined deliverable method as an alternative? Some would say that it’s inappropriate for lawyers to advertise. These are the same people who are billing by the hour and never want consumers to know their options.

Most consumers are not looking for a value-billing law firm. They search for expertise. The ones who find us happen to “stumble into” our flat fee defined deliverable approach. They find us as a result of luck, not consumer demand.

I always say that the moment other law firms start offering flat fee defined deliverable services will be a good day for our firm. Once there are other alternatives in the market, there is more likelihood that consumers will start to realize they do have an option.

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