Inside improvements: Innovation isn't always about technology

A willingness to creatively consider new strategies may be what truly defines innovation in the legal department

Sandy Owen, legal operations director at Intel

The technology options for the legal department run the gamut from the archaic to the space-age, but there is no silver bullet to solving the common woes of running a shop. Rather, innovation and success come from knowing exactly what is wrong and then matching the appropriate solution to that problem. While this frequently means partnering with external vendors to purchase a tool to tackle an established problem, for some legal departments, innovation means the development of in-house applications that go further to solve the unique challenges of the specific organization.

InsideCounsel recently had an opportunity to talk with operations management specialists at technology icons Google and Intel to discuss the challenges they’ve encountered, the solutions they’ve implemented and their advice to smaller operations hoping to fulfill their unique needs.

Sandy Owen, legal operations director at Intel, says that though self-analysis and optimization can pose a challenge, making sure standard practices are thorough ensures that the selected technology will be sufficient if and when it's needed.

“We have been able to pull process engineers in from other parts of Intel to document our processes and help us look for opportunities to optimize,” Owen says. “I always encourage my team to look for ways to optimize the processes first and then automate them. Often, people want to go right for a tool without thinking about what problem they’re really trying to solve. The risk is that you may implement a solution that really doesn't address the issue, and I think that can be a disservice.”

Executive Editor

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Chris DiMarco

Chris DiMarco, Executive Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, has a background in multimedia production with previous involvement in projects in which he developed and created content...

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