On this episode of The Geek In Review, Marlene Gebauer interviews Ayelette Robinson about her transition from KM Attorney to award-winning actress and voice-over specialist. Ayelette discusses how acting isn’t about “pretending” but rather it’s about showing our real selves and injecting our own unique perspectives.

Marlene discusses the five training modules on security awareness. Technology and security all go hand-in-hand. But it wasn’t all work. Somehow Marlene discusses not one, but two articles regarding technology, ethics, and individuality. Both straight out of fashion magazines.

 

 

Continue Reading Podcast Episode 4: Understanding How to Place the Focus on Others

Marlene Gebauer has been after the writers on 3 Geeks to produce a Podcast. After months… (years?) of talking about it, we finally decided to do it. So, let me be the first to invite you to listen to the new “The Geek In Review” podcast:

The inaugural episode covers Marlene’s attending a law firm management conference and my take on some of the strategies legal information providers are implementing on exiting the book business, and creating a de facto operating system for legal information.

Zena Applebaum and I conducted a phone interview where she talks about her recent post, My Non Life.

We’ll try to do these on a regular basis. If you have any suggestions… just let us know. We are really excited about launching this extension of 3 Geeks!

Continue Reading Introducing “The Geek In Review” Podcast

I saw a post on Knowledge Jolt With Jack, discussing a book called Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow, by Dominica DeGrandis.  DeGrandis identifies five time-theft “thieves:”

  • Too much work-in-process.
  • Unknown dependencies.
  • Unplanned work
  • Conflicting priorities.
  • Neglected work

Continue Reading Time Bandits

I had the opportunity to speak at the CodeX, FutureLaw Conference at Stanford Law School last week.  Its my second time attending, and I continue to be impressed with the diversity of topics, professions and people who participate.  One of the presentations to catch my attention was conducted by Professor Daniel Linna, from Michigan State University.  Professor Linna is the Director of LegalRnD, the Center for Legal Services Innovation, and gave a presentation showcasing an index he has developed to measure legal innovation in law firms and universities.  The measurement of innovation adoption is challenging.  Casey Flaherty established test criteria to grade lawyer’s mastery of technology, and Jeff Ward at Duke Law has spoken at the AALL conference about innovation levels students reach as they progress in law school.  I think even Professor Linna will be the first to say his index is version 1.0, and there is much room for further development (OK, he did say that actually), but the point is all these people are trying to tackle the measurement and data presentation challenge.

Continue Reading Is Measuring Legal Innovation Adoption a Thing Now?

Image [cc] Clive Darra

I started a very robust conversation with some colleagues the other day, including Dan and Jane of this site, who I am certain you will hear from soon, about a decision my team made to opt out of business cards. 

The initial conversation came up because I often get asked for cards.  I don’t carry them.  I haven’t for years.  I prefer not to carry paper around.  See, I have kids, and kids get into handbags.  Consequently, I don’t want to carry anything that is not essential, especially things that can be taken and squirreled away as “treasure”, making me spend hours searching for them to the chorus of “I don’t know where it is,” or items that can be can be used as a Chinese Stars or Mini-Frisbees.

 I tried the chic card holder, the antique card clip, stuffing cards in my wallet or pocket–none of them worked for me (the card-in-pocket idea caused a lot of laundry issues BTW).  My team and I discussed adopting QR codes on the cards and apps that scan cards, among other things, and finally came to the conclusion; why not just use our business contact info on our smart phones?

Through my discussion with colleagues, I uncovered a dizzying amount of opinions and questions.  The Artists loved their cards and expressed that when you give a card, you symbolically give something of yourself to the recipient.  The Technologists used LinkedIn (I use this as well).  The Socially-Minded voiced concern that not everyone has a business phone, much less a smart phone—there was also a side conversation here about use of private phones for business purposes,  The Environmentalists expressed dismay about the waste surrounding business cards.  The Opportunists summed it up by questioning how they would get a free lunch if they didn’t have cards to put in the fishbowl.  All valid points and food for thought, readers.

Ultimately, our team decision is an optional one.  No one is required to use their contacts as a connection mechanism, But we are raising it as a consideration.  It saves money and trees and keeps my lint screen clean.  Every little bit counts.

Image [cc] Vyperx1

We very often hear from bloggers on this site regarding the struggles associated with change and innovation.  Fear of failure, lack of inertia, protecting territories—all seem to be stumbling blocks that many firms face when initiating change.  It seems, however, some organizations have found a way to successfully encourage and nurture new ideas internally. 

I had the pleasure of speaking to Karl Florida, Managing Director of Small Law Firm Business Segments and Innovation Champion, at Thomson Reuters, about a new innovation program the company has instituted.

For many years (as many of us are well aware), the Thomson Reuters model has been to acquire business units and manage their growing portfolio.  More recently, the model has shifted, with a focus on knitting the units together to drive more organic growth between them. 

One way Thomson Reuters is accomplishing this is by establishing a cross-unit Innovation Task Force (ITF) and a Catalyst Fund to support new ideas.  Thomson is looking for great ideas from within and establishing a system that rewards creative thinking to further serve their business goals.  How it works is this:  On a monthly basis, ideas can be informally submitted across the company via a home-grown tracking system (no business plan is required, but there is a template to gather certain information).  There are a small number of administrators who collect the proposals and submit them to the ITF.  The ITF prioritizes the ideas, develops Proof of Concept (POCs) and sends the top 5 to a C-level suite of decision-makers. They, in turn, determine if any will move forward into the funding stage.   The appropriate business units and a business sponsor are chosen, and a prototype is created and tested in-house and in the market.  If successful, the product goes to market based on a timeline.  The entire process is tracked through each stage of the pipeline process. 

While the program is only a few months old, it is already gaining in popularity.  Some of the areas where ideas are being generated are Big Data analytics in relation to law, scientific, tax and financial sectors, data visualization tools, regulatory compliance and (wait for it), wearable tech! 

Karl tells me Thomson Reuters is finding the most opportunity in the space between units.  He compared this to the genius of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  You have chocolate, which is awesome on its own, and you also have peanut butter, equally wonderful.  But put them together, and well, then that is where the magic happens. 

While Thomson Reuter’s program appears mostly devoted to product development, law firms could certainly take advantage of this sort of model to solicit and promote ideas from within regarding client service and delivery, along with development of administrative efficiencies.  The model, along with variations, allows and in fact, encourages a small, but safe space (with funding!) to experiment with new ideas without the associated pressure and demands to be “the right” solution out of the gate.

FYI, if you want to learn more about innovation tournaments, I highly recommend the book, Innovation Tournaments:  Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities, by Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich (hat tip to CCH, for giving me the opportunity to see Karl Ulrich in action).  Because don’t we all need some more peanut butter cups?