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Disruptive Innovation

How about a disruptive innovation model that focuses on the providers rather than technology, product or service? For those of us in the legal profession, how about first focusing on the lawyers, then focusing on how we deliver our service, or who we deliver it to? Or, (for the multi-taskers in our profession) how about focusing on all three, at the same time? It's called walking and chewing gum (and doing something else), at the same time.

A few years ago, the Harvard Business Review published a piece entitled, "What Is Disruptive Innovation?"--it's not a new idea. It continues to be relevant, and here's the latest twist: Focusing on people rather than things (otherwise known as "wellness", or as the ABA's National Task Force for Lawyer Well-Being refers to it, "well-being").

Without question, our technological advances, product advances and service advances are all important. But let's not forget the men and women who fuel those advances--let's not forget about the lawyers. Unless you're someone who is pretty far out there on the AI debate spectrum, none of those advances will amount to a hill of beans, without us.

First and foremost, we need to take care of ourselves. If we're well and functioning at our best, then technology, products and services will absolutely boost our professional performance. But if we're not well and functioning at our best, then all the technology, product or service in the world won't make up for our shortcomings.

Two things technology, product and service can never compensate for, are burnout or breakdown--those are people things. Things that are on us, our law firms, or our legal departments. Extreme case scenario? Thank goodness, yes--at least, for the present. But what about the future?

The descriptions of, "trusted advisor" or "counselor" attach to people, not things, and taking care of the people in our profession is every bit as important as taking care of the bottom line--arguably, even more so.

Let's embrace disruptive innovation by making ourselves a priority--the profession will benefit mightily, and might even thrive!


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