Innovate: to make changes; to do something in a new way; to introduce as or as if new; to effect change in. According to Merriam-Webster, these are the actions we must take to create innovation. Seems easy. But is it?
Each year, as we publish our annual InsideCounsel 10 story, in which we highlight 10 of the most innovative legal departments of the year, I sit back and assess my own success as an innovator. Sure, I can say I’ve implemented some “best practices” on a small scale in both my personal and professional lives. But if I shook the Magic 8-Ball and asked, “Have I really done what it takes to effect real change for measurable benefit in either?” the answer would likely be “My sources say no.”
What’s great about the IC10 story is that it not only offers up examples of useful best practices, but it also serves as a reminder to all of us that we’re capable of more. Reading through the winners over the years—including our 2012 class—it’s likely we all might say, “That doesn’t sound so hard. I can do that.”
Three things our IC10 winners consistently have in common are a dedication to finding a solution to a new or ongoing problem, the determination to successfully implement the change and a desire to make business (and as a result, life) run smoother. This year’s winners are no different, with innovations that include a comprehensive internship program to help promote diversity and mentorship, the implementation of a complex anti-corruption program, a DIY project to streamline and organize the internal matter intake function and a reorganization of outside counsel management to realize millions of dollars in savings—to name only a few.
My short description of a handful of the winners does them little justice. Read “The 2012 IC10 Winners” for more about these legal leaders who have taken the extra steps to effect change for the betterment of their departments and their companies, and check out our additional exclusive IC10 coverage, including a slideshow of all the winners as well as a few video interviews. And on Sept. 18, please join me for our first-ever IC10 web seminar, where I will give a brief description of each of our 2012 winners and you will hear from a couple of the winners themselves.
These stories are inspirational and will serve as the motivator to turn all of us into innovators.