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Today starts our week-long coverage of ILTA 12. Though the International Legal Technology Association brings together a variety of legal professionals, the focus of this year’s conference relates to most, if not all of us in the enterprise -- Act, Collaborate to Drive Change (AC2DC).

At the Corner of Diversity & Innovation

This morning’s keynote address, which featured Frans Johansson, author of "The Medici Effect”, laid a foundation for what the next few days are likely to bring, namely innovation at the intersection of disciplines and cultures. Mr. Johansson highlighted the different ways different companies have either embraced or foiled a culture of innovation to make inspired, meaningful changes to the way they work, develop and distribute products and services.

Mr. Johansson says that diversity drives innovation. Whether it is a diversity of culture, generations or experiences, when people of different backgrounds come together, the potential for innovation is at its greatest. Of course, it usually doesn’t start that way, because we usually refuse what we don’t understand. However, if you think about it from the perspective of innovation, consider Mr. Johansson’s facts about innovation:

  • #1 all new ideas are combination of existing ideas.
  • #2 people who change the world try far more ideas
  • #3 Diverse teams can unleash an explosion of new ideas

At the intersection of culture we come up with better ideas, which is the reason why, when you embrace diversity, it can drive innovation.

Become Enabled to Make Things Better

How is this useful to you, the legal professional or enterprise worker? No matter what we do or at what level in our company we operate, we can leverage diversity of our organizations for new insights. We can use technology to drive (not just serve) new business models. We can make it easier to collaborate with everybody. Empowered employee meet diversity.

Find New Ways to Collaborate

How much innovation can you draw from a photo of a Formula One pit stop crew? Johansson asked audience members to stand up and discuss with the person beside us about how we can collaborate better based on information we gleaned from a photo.

In 3 minutes the person next to me and I came up with a few interesting ideas. Imagine if we doubled or even tripled the amount of time -- 12 minutes at most? What if you and your colleagues spent 12 minutes a day or a week trying to figure out solutions to problems -- how far would you get? What ideas could be dreamed up? How many of them can be useful?

Find New Ways to Be Inspired

If you truly want to drive change, find a way to think differently about things. Find a way to work together with new people, with new perspectives and see what can happen. Of course, this is a legal technology conference, so while it's great to start the first day with a sense of discovery and unlimited possibility, it's important to keep it real.

Many firms are still struggling to adapt to new types of new technology, never mind ready to drastically change how they work. Hopefully, however, Mr. Johansson's wisdom will stay alive throughout the week, reminding us that it's not the technology that's broken, it's our culture that needs to be fixed.