Productivity

Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables
Seymour: Maybe I Was Wrong About Legal Wearables 1024 880 Raymond Blijd

 

Maybe I was wrong about wearables because I needed to go beyond my comfort zone to see what’s around the bend. I too easily settled for limits. Seymour is the project name for one of the ideas that took shape during the Innovation Tournament and while it’s a technical challenge, it may not be entirely without merit and here’s why.

Business Intake made Easy 

I once attended an Intellectual Property audit for a niche software company to support their Intellectual Asset Management. We had an extensive paper questionnaire and preparation meeting to ensure our visit would be fruitful. The goal was to get as much of the questions answered without making the client feel like it’s an inquisition. When we arrived, it was a bit chaotic and nobody managed to get all the answers. We left with boxes of documents to help us finalize the form.

Modern day logic would dictate we would need some kind of database for the intake. Even better if it was a mobile app with just a checklist and we could divide the load across the team during our visit. It would help if we already had information pre-populated and we just needed to fill in the blanks. Looks good on ‘paper,’ right?

Well I believe in the last decade, our process thinking has resulted in convoluted systems. We used the wishful add-on: “it should be easy to use and intuitive” like a sprinkle of angel dust to make the core product usable. Assuming the core product, the database, iswhat it is all about. No, it isn’t because nobody can use an empty database or worse – outdated data. So the time of laborious data entries should be in our past.

Seymour, See, Save, Share

I suspect wearables will play a major role in this space. Wearables will be the fastest way to grow any database simply because data entry will be more convenient. Forbes reported this as the first useful Glassware and seeing their video, you might agree:

“Sullivan Solar Power …developed a Google Glass app that gives its field technicians “volumes” of electrical system data in a hands’ free, or close to it, manner—which I would imagine to be a welcome delivery mode for someone wrestling with heavy equipment on a rooftop.”

Being fed real-time contextual information in situations where it’s slightly awkward to break out the laptop and do desktop legal research seems extremely powerful. Only consuming information might not make it ‘killer’ for me but if you can combine it with creation it will be close. A quote from this Glass wearing president and creative director:

“…The thing I use it for the most is taking notes. I tap it and say, “Take a note,” and then a microphone shows up and it will accurately dictate everything I say for about 30 seconds. And then when I stop talking it sends it to Evernote. At the same time, if someone else is using Evernote, they can send the note to me and it will appear in my screen.”

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First Look: Evernote for Google Glass

This maybe farfetched, but the possibilities of having a checklist as Glassware and just ‘nodding’ off the list would be quite cool. Better yet, just tapping your wrist will be even cooler:

Tick off checklists for groceries with the Pebble, which syncs to Evernote, for a hands-free shopping experience. Evernote Reminders are supported, so you’ll always have your notifications and to-dos close to you.

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Evernote on the Go: Introducing Evernote for Pebble

If we just infuse the right legal context into these workflows, we can even make legal research fun again. Shopping for groceries is not that different from shopping for Intellectual Property, it can only be made more pleasant by the tools we use.

Going off the grid

There was one little caveat with wearables, actually any internet connected device: its needs an internet connection. Well maybe not. Let me introduce you to “Wireless Mesh Networking.” This enables device to device communication in a free-form, non-internet dependent way. And that’s almost perfect for having wearables talk to our phone – or each other. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the latest iOS 7 and what Google is betting on to extent wearables and even home automation.

Last year I just had a name and a notion. Now it’s slowly making sense and Seymour is my reminder to keep going beyond the bend.

 

CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex
CYOS Divergence: How The Growth of Apps Bolsters The Complex 570 274 Raymond Blijd
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has taken root. In 2012, 38% of CIO’s expected to support personal devices. Now 82% of companies allow it and it’s posing new challenges for IT because along with these devices come a lot of new services in apps. All beguile you into accepting a new habit and immerse you. This has giving rise to the ‘Connect Your Own Service’ (CYOS) trend and its unintended consequences: a world more complex and disconnected which threatens to submerge you. Here’s why:

A Fog of Apps 
A glimpse into my computer life 2007-2013 :

  • I have downloaded over 900 apps in 6 years, a trend likely to accelerate due to the lowering prices of apps. Imagine doing this on a PC without running into a nasty virus and a tremendous bill.
  • I have journeyed through multiple operating systems and migrated from desktop to mobile.
  • I have moved most of my information into the cloud and choose software based on their cloud support and mobile clone.
  • I took approximately 7800 pictures and videos. The only category my wife beats me hands down.
  • Privately I’ve stop emailing anyone under the age of 70 and
  • I have shared more with my inner circle between the ages 14 and 70 than at any moment in our lives.

I have undoubtedly generated more data personally and professionally and…it’s liberating yet suffocating.

Say my name!
Each app or service I use will most likely ask me who I am. I will either have to remember my name(?!) from a previous encounter or make up a new and even sillier name. And then comes the dreaded password requirement which needs to be so strong its impossible to remember. I know there’s an app for that but my parents already gave me a name at birth and happily counted 10 little passwords. One company has smartly recognized this fact and hopefully I’ll try it this Christmas. Even though it isn’t infallible and can be hacked by my 4 year old, it’s far better than remembering 900 passcodes which are unbreakable with brute force attacks by global distributed networks. As beautifully presented in this dynamic visualization I suspect no company will ever be entirely safe from breaches.

A Forest of Data
Now the above doesn’t bother me as much as the disconnect between these services by creating silos. In previous posts I’ve mentioned losing information much to my chagrin. I’m already working on solving the bridge of cut, copy and paste and integrating tasks in a single workflow. But ultimately my aim is to dwindle the number of 900 apps. The disparate manner and ambition each service exhibit to solve my problem while struggling to incorporate my larger environment concerns me. Because I find they mostly ignore the context and intent I might have in harvesting and handling all my data and associated analytics.

If This Then What?
This problem has not gone unnoticed nor unexploited by others as even legal professionals have wandered into the cloud with Dropbox (58%), Google Docs (43%) and Evernote (23%). This is also reflected in their use of popular productivity mobile apps. However, these services only store my information but do not connect to my workflow. Moreover, they most likely ignore the intent of legal professionals. Now in order to get a handle on this divergence I starting mapping out my own information network and how it all connects based on how I use it. And then visualized my intent as a legal professional.

 

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Nowadays most services support some connections while some purposely block each other. I used RSS trickery or just simply emailing the service to connect my information. Lately I’m able to use smarter services that ‘cook up’ better connections. IFTTT is such a service which use “recipes” to help me reconnect. Even notable publishers like the NY Times have been getting in on the action. Its getting better but its less than ideal so my search continues.

 

cyos2As featured in DESH I would imagine creating rules such as: IF I receive news on Copyright Transfers I would

  • THEN save it to Monocle OR
  • THEN add a reminder in Zepp to email my client. OR
  • THEN update documents.

 

cyos3I have spend the first 26 years of my life learning, I’ve noticed spending the rest struggling to keep up with all I have learned. The internet serves to be an engine of convenience by connecting not diverging and we should continue to support that goal.

The Death of Legal Research on Desktop
The Death of Legal Research on Desktop 570 269 Raymond Blijd
I hear them…these voices all around me…whispering: they will never do legal research on a smartphone, the screen is too small! How can lawyers or any knowledge professional do research on a mobile device? These voices weren’t whispers 2 years ago, they were loud and clear and drove me to write about it. Mobile consumes and desktop creates, no if and’s or but’s. Now several events hopefully will exorcise these faint yet persistent notions and help us embrace our enlightened reality.

Extinction
While Health and especially Finance went full throttle in mobile, driven respectively by pure need and speed, other business markets have been slower to adopt. Yet, this anxious stance does not reflect reality: PC shipments will only be 20.6% of the total market of smart connected devices. Tablets are forecast to overtake PC sales entirely this Christmas. By 2017,total traditional PC devices are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. Those that cling towards a PC oriented design strategy will face extinction just as the operating system and software needed to run it.

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Man your Stations!

These whispering spirits are often accompanied by the argument: Legal Professionals are different. Legal professionals spend between 40-50 hours on computers. Yet, they spend only 15 hours (30%) on research. Now here’s my question: if 70% on computers is not spent on research, than what are they doing? I presume emailing, drafting,scheduling or reading the news? I haven’t gotten my hands on studies to confirm this. But if so, do you really need a desktop for those “non research” activities?

Read/Write/Research
The answer is No, emailing doesn’t need desktops anymore and drafting is slowly but surely going mobile. This entertaining post asks lawyers to share their iPad home screen. I wasn’t surprised that a word processing app was pinned to their task bar. I can imagine that formatting in MS Word still is a challenge on any screen but its not impossible. Moreover, at the rate of consumer innovation we are just a few swipes away from full-blown word processing on mobile. That leaves us with just those 15 hours chained to desktops (or laptops). Now, why do these voices persist? Because designing legal research is still a challenge on small screens.

Exorcism 
Legacy that goes all the way back to the shift from print to online has left walls we cannot see beyond. While the consumer tech broke down barriers and completely conquered businesses to the point of being unethical in some cases. Signs of changing times have shown the wait is almost over. In all corners of Wolters Kluwer we are rethinking and redesigning research on any screen size and in all environments.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I started drafting this post in Simplenote while waiting for my car to get repaired. I copied it to the WordPress app to add links and formatting*. Links I saved while reading the web on my tablet and smartphone in Pocket. No desktops were harmed during the making of this post. So I hereby say farewell to my ghosts.
*Due some technical difficulties and app design issues formatting was finalized on desktop, but at least I tried 🙂

When Does A Legal Service Add Value? [Infographic]
When Does A Legal Service Add Value? [Infographic] 614 1024 Raymond Blijd
 Last week the esteemed Washington Post was sold for a fraction of what Facebook paidfor Instagram, and also a fraction of what Yahoo paid for Tumblr. A reminder that the value of this prestigious 135 year old institution of journalistic expertise is in stark contrast to current internet-first content aggregators. That content served up by an extensive community is worth more than when it is provided by a set of hand-picked experts.

When numbers do not add up

As one legal blogger stated: “The logic of economic value has changed forever”. So my question is: what is the value of traditional legal services? When does a product provide value to customers? And how to measure it?

To help answer these questions I delved into the meaning of value and specifically what value is for a consumer of legal services. One simple answer I heard during a lively discussion on the subject of new versus old legal business models: Does the product generate more value for the consumer that it cost to acquire it? To find out I took two low-end and two high-end legal service examples which many see as a disruption to the establishment and analyzed their value.

Apples & Oranges

For this exercise I looked at four services which by the very nature of their a product make them different:

Legalzoom & Rocket Lawyer

It’s reported that Legalzoom would be #163 on the AmLaw 200 based on its generated revenue. Similar to Rocket Lawyer, its end product is legal documents, which are supplied by a community of legal professionals. Both provide a platform for the legal community to interact with consumers to provide legal services. You may read more here on both their effects as branded networks.

Axiom Law & Legal Force

Axiom has been characterized as a project , a mysterious animal in the legal market which is pondering its own IPO. With a complex set of services it accommodates both small and large deals. Based on its revenue I assume its ranking would be similar to Legalzoom. LegalForce also seems a fairy tale that doesn’t fit the legal market reality. They claim to have filed more trademarks than any other entity in the world and add clients at a blistering pace. Besides their two impressive legal search engines LegalForce recently designed a unique kind of retail stores to augment their online service.

The Quadrant of Value

Based on the services above I distilled 4 elements which seemed essential to their success and looked at the amount available in each:

  • expertise: the amount of legal knowledge capital captured within the service;

  • discovery: the way the knowledge capital is made available in analog (e.g. books) or digital (search portals, workflow etc) format;

  • technology: dependence of these services on technology such as cloud, algorithms etc to augment the knowledge capital;

  • community: the size of the community engaged to increase the knowledge capital.

Specific numbers would in any case still make it arbitrary exploration so I used my honest judgement weighing each element per service based on reviews, comments and articles I could gather.

For example a book on a specific legal subject would be heavy on expertise but light on discovery due to lack of more advance discovery mechanisms that go beyond the table of contents or index. While a workflow tool might hide the expertise with technology and hamper simple browsing of it. In exchange, a workflow or automation tool would deliver a more consistent but maybe less personalized end result.

So the goal of this exercise is to visualize how traditional legal services stack up against technology first legal services (and give me an excuse to dabble with infographics).

My lesson from this exercise is that a lot of expertise without technology (e.g. book) might have less value than a technology first service (workflow tool). Then again, a workflow or automation tool may have too much technology going for it to expose the expertise which is still valuable in solving unique cases. I also suspect that services like Axiom Law use technology to continuously calibrate their elements based on what’s needed to help their clients. Thus making it more valuable. Finally, the size of the engaged community will boost value of a service exponentially as opposed to a limited set of experts (Washington Post effect).

Adrift

Many lawyers find themselves adrift in this market, in search of a purpose: What value do we provide? Legal services shift from lawyer to non-lawyer providers supported by the changing mindsets about the value of legal products. In turn these new legal service providers invest heavily in technology. Their organizational structure is also very different from traditional law firms. Although under regulation these parties are not allowed to dispense formal legal counsel, they seem to grasp a large portion of the work.

Traditional services would benefit greatly by boosting their technology expertise. Not only because it is required by the industry and clients demand it*. Not even because workflow tools and other software aids increase efficiency. Simply because an expertise in technology will boost value for their clients more than the legal expertise. In addition the sale of the Washington Post demonstrated: the value is not always derived from the number of experts on staff or the legacy of the institution but also by leveraging of the crowds with technology.

I believe more models will arise because the industry is still in transition but now is the time to hack instead of attack.

*Note: I read somewhere that a General Counsel requires lawyers to take a technology aptitude test as part of the procurement process. Unfortunately, I lost the article. The fact that I’m losing stuff I will tackle with Monocle.

Value-of-a-Legal-Service

DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense
DESH: Your Personal Legal Assistant with Sense 570 287 Raymond Blijd
Lately, I’ve been intrigue by the sudden urgency from developers to solve the “big” problem of email. A rush to be your personal assistant and to make your lives easier. Moreover to anticipate your every move and predict your need. I thought I might as well take a stab at it and create my own rendition with a legal twist. In the process I learned a couple of things.

 

desh1

First Search, Then Filters, Now Sense
I’ve already delved into the philosophy of filters as opposed to just search. Since then I noticed a shift. First, we started using computers in different environments and under more natural conditions. We no longer are in a seated position behind a desk in a building…and our computers know that. We also interact differently with computers by using less peripherals like a mouse or stylus and more gestures and touch. In some cases the software we use personally is more advanced that what we use professionally. All this has generated an explosion of data about us as human beings being at work or at play. And our computer can sense this also. This presentation illustrate this transition in the devices we use.

Who Am I
I have always wondered: was the information I needed in the places I was looking for it? However, in this new reality I can reverse the question and ask: why hasn’t the information come looking for me? My smartphone changes time automatically when I cross time zones. It can tell me where and what to eat (based on ratings) wherever I am. I figured that if my phone is that smart, surely it can tell me whenever I’m providing sufficient legal counsel for my clients. At the very least it can anticipate if I would commit a legal error. We are not there yet but a small step in that direction is the concept below.

DESH
This concept explores the question what services we can provide with all the data a user has generated. How can we honestly and transparently transform this data into a benefit for the user. Going back to my lawyering days I remembered this: whenever there was a law change or new jurisprudence, I needed to track down each contract or brief I had ever written for each client and update it. Moreover, it was paramount I did not miss the announcement in the first place. Nothing is more embarrassing to a legal professional than when they are being updated by their clients on legal changes.

Basically DESH is a dashboard for keeping you abreast and updating you on any developments that matter to you based on your data. It senses if changes needed to be made on any of your documents and will make intelligent suggestions – not based on ratings but based on legal premises and personal preferences. The simple UI is simulating 4 basic workflows: messaging, tasks, current awareness, and drafting. The aim is to be straightforward and the goal is to be convenient. Can it be done? Yes, and we are going to do it.

 

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Age of Immersion
Age of Immersion 570 344 Raymond Blijd
We are at the dawn of an age of immersion. We can no longer ignore the fact that our reality will be perpetually augmented with data and information. Computing devices that can beam information directly into your retina are reality. Lets face it, the number of people who drive around without GPS navigation or leave the house without an internet connected smartphone are increasingly dwindling. So let us embrace and prepare to seize the opportunity to power ‘Commander Data‘.

 

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The Focus on Experience

There are two major drivers in this new world to augment our reality. The insistence todesign for experience as opposed to just complete a task and the pervasiveness of computing in every aspect of our lives. Wearable computers loaded with sensors connected to the network and our lives are just a start. The way in which services will model our behaviors and reprogram our habits will be the net effect. Example, for me it has become cognitively impossible to forget my smartphone. This is an inevitable result of meticulously engineered software aimed to immerse us. So after the initial backlash andawkwardness we will adapt and then thrive (or be enslaved ) by this “new reality” of augmentation.

The Blur of Reality
So how will we experience this new reality? We will wander our physical world and see every object and instantly know its properties. Every sound we hear can be traced to itsorigines or we can search the meaning of speech right away. We will become smarter on every subject because we can be fed every aspect in real-time, up close, in context and personalized. You could walk into a forest and “know” the latin names of the vegetation. You will never wander aimlessly in a store looking for an item because you will be ‘navigated’ by advertisements. And you will always be just a single click away from purchasing anything maybe influenced by ‘friends’ that also bought it. You can not lose your keys because you probably wouldn’t need them. You will not pay in cash and it will be harder to get lost or tell a lie. So, while we still can go hungry, the distance between you and the nearest restaurant is always in view.

The Future of Legal
While some already see implications in jury selection with the ability to pull up profiles and do background checks in real-time. You may also be able to access stress levels of witnesses during cross-examination by monitoring their heart rate with a camera. I see a world whereby any word or sentence can be instantly parsed and dissected for meaning and context, based on who speaks them, when and where. So while hearing the opposing counsel making their plea, you will be able to capture their arguments and choose rebuttals immediately. Better yet, you will be able to predict your opponent more accurately.

The legal profession will have to lean on creativity of crafting arguments rather than ability to find them. If all information is distributed evenly your only differentiator will be the ability to conceptualize and articulate alternate versions to benefit your client. You will be able to create your own algorithms, run simulations and predict outcomes.

Heads Up!
Now back to the present. If we rewind from the future depicted above, what are the actions we should take today to ensure we are ready. One may assume that challenges with creating, compiling and retrieving legal information will be solved comprehensively. As a matter of fact, we will be engulfed by it. The actual challenge will lie in the interaction between data and the brain. How can we interact with matter to craft information into a winning case. I belief it will depend on the filters we develop, the focus we can provide and the convenient tools we will deliver to assist our users to conceive something new.

Now this gave me an excuse to doodle a Heads-up display inspired by Mark VIIHUD specifically aimed at legal information. We might not have this in stores tomorrow but aim to make any legal professional feel like Tony Stark. Back to you, Jordi.

 

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Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader
Mission Monocle: Chasing Mona Lisa In An Online Reader 1024 539 Raymond Blijd
Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st. It has been my filter of the internet and a window to the world for over 8 years. It helped me focus in the chaos of content on things that matter to me. I can honestly say it has made me smarter by helping me discover countless artifacts and precious information I would otherwise have never seen. Now my mission is to find a replacement and if I don’t, I will build one. Here’s what I’m looking for.

There are numerous articles deliberating its demise and many more posting alternatives. The decision to stop may be understandable, but it belies the cries of a declining but vocal minority. I must admit that lately Google Reader was just the engine that fed my other apps which have more modern design and features. In a previous post, I explained how to create a personalized newspaper. Now I’m chasing something more ambitious.

1. Is it convenient?
Google Reader was a simple app but what made it special for me is the following:

  • It was the first cloud app enabling me to access it on any PC
  • It was my first mobile app which made me use it daily
  • RSS feeds enabled me to aggregate information from across multiple sites, sources and topics
  • By tagging, I was able to group and filter based on my own interests
  • Not just news but it doubled as a personally curated repository for research

In short, it gave me the freedom to be diverse and to balance work and play.

2. Will it make me smart?
There’s still the attraction of one window for all information, but now I crave more. The speed in which you can cycle through content, the clear presentation and sharing features are delightful. However, I’m looking for a service that will help me easily filter or mute the noise and help me schedule consumption. One that can correctly alert me and integrate with other apps and silos of information. It doesn’t need to have an elaborate feature set but must strive to eliminate copy-paste or window switching. It should be able to gauge what I know and most likely what I want to know and, therefore, find, filter and organize that what I need to know.

3. Is it Mona Lisa?
There is a wide variety of services which are capable replacements. I have gone through some established names and encounter a few unusual suspects. Most differentiate on design and presentation, some even have a few neat tricks, but I haven’t found my “Mona Lisa”.

I lifted this quote from a video ( (32 min. mark) of Roger McNamee (Elevation Partners and Facebook investor): “.. content protection would be similar to that of the Mona Lisa …It’s hard to paint something like the Mona Lisa…”. I believe this rule also applies to any product or service that aims for loyalty or retention.

Leonardo Da Vinci drew 750 anatomy sketches, but only one resulted in the Vitruvian Man. Below is my first sketch and according to innovation scholars I have 3000 to go.

Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter?
Skeuomorphism: Will It Make Us Smarter? 1024 653 Raymond Blijd

Recently Apple has been awarded a patent for the virtual book page turn. Now imagine such an event in the age of the printing press. How would we navigate books or other printed materials? The tools and the methods we used in the physical world are slowly coming to live in the digital world. Skeuomorph design has blazed the path to copy from the physical to the virtual world. Yet, without a better understanding of the real world, will it help or hurt?

Not Flipping
I do not despair the page flip patent. To the contrary, I salute the fact that we will one day seize to use remnants from an inexpedient paper past and replace it with more convenient digital methods. Although we measure the power of a vehicle by horses we do not use their techniques to advance engine technology. So while we slowly transition from tangible to digital with clever tricks that ease our reluctance and broaden our acceptance, we will also surely break with tradition at some stage.

Epiphany
This has triggered my venture to seek out those methods that will likely make us smarter in the future. I’ve looked at the techniques we’ve been using to capture, preserve and reuse information, the things that help us remember, navigate and connect the dots. Not only prepackaged tools such as table of contents or book indexes. But also whatever we create ourselves like highlights, annotations, linking and citing to help us (re)organize information and easily consume it. I’ve sought the deeper meaning of why we need to have these techniques and then…I completely abandon them.

Red Highlight or Blue Highlight?
I could not find a viable way to translate the paper methods we are accustom to using in an efficient manner to a digital screen. I will not substitute the hardship of thumbing through indexes references, going back and forth in pages with the ease of simple search boxes or hyperlinks. Or digitally flipping pages and waiting for each page flip animation while a simple swipe with a continuous scroll that ‘rubber-bands‘ naturally seems a lot more appealing. Even the fundamental purpose of highlights seems a bit archaic if your primary goal is to filter out the contextual noise and focus on a phrase. In my humble opinion, the truth does not lie in any particularly fancy visual design but rather designing the animation of the interaction. In short: the presentation of the animation.

Awards and Rewards
I’ve now embarked on a crazy quest to seek out and find or create the perfect animations and interaction designs for seemingly mundane tasks such as highlighting. I’m not aiming for any awards just for real life applications and usefulness. I belief the secret of our intelligence lies not in the amount of information we can access but rather in the manner we interact with it. What makes us smarter is not what we read but how we understand it and remember it.

Now if you follow the logic of D670,713, see if you can spot the concealed patent in the video below. First correct answer in the comments will be rewarded.


The video is an announcement of a future of digital research and the departure of paper.LegalComplex’s mission to explore different options and challenge the status quo through a belief that digital tools are here to enhance not facsimile our intelligence…everywhere.The path to profit was never a straight line yet it was a well marked road. Now, it’s more a adventurous journey towards an elusive place I call Convenience, where profit resides in a hi-res glass house.

Phantom Menace: 4 Signs of Disruptions in Legal Technology
Phantom Menace: 4 Signs of Disruptions in Legal Technology 1024 569 Raymond Blijd
I recently discovered HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In it he explains the theory behind disruptions and why they are particularly menacing if you are not prepared. There are companies like IBM that have managed to survive numerous disruptions by shifting models early or like Apple orAmazon by creating disruptions themselves. Nevertheless, timing is crucial to either shift or create but the real challenge lies in where to shift to or how to disrupt. What are the signs?
Phantom Menace

Here is a illustration of how inconspicuously disruptions occur and their menacing effect if you don’t anticipate:

A 17 year old IT student in Suriname explained to me why he likes Twitter more than Facebook. I asked why he stills uses Facebook and his response was: homework assignments. Contrary to Twitter, all his classmates where on Facebook which enabled him to connect and collaborate on their homework. Google – the organizer of the world’s information – wasn’t mentioned during our conversation.

Google is still the omnipresent phantom competitor for all publishers and does that without a single piece of curated content. This was achieved purely on the basis of superior technology. Yet they are now driven into a tough spot by something they were lacking by their own admission and now they are hitting back to overcome this lack of understanding how technology benefits people.

Google understood that the Internet needed a filter, Facebook understands that people just want to connect and Apple bets they will want to do conveniently on stylish devices.

 

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Traits
Here are some traits to identify disruptions:

1. Empathy: Disruptions fly in the face of convention and sometime turn a proven and time-tested business model on its head. But even more precariously, they demonstrate a keen sense of empathy towards users and a knack to invert the value of goods. Example:Wikipedia or Skype

2. Visibility: They are notoriously hard to spot because they sometime hide in plain sight (Flipboard) or slowly grow to prominence through the internet grapevines. Example:Summify

3. Loyalty: Although it might look highly unconventional e.g. typing on a touchscreen, users are converts that adamantly and genuinely buy into the idea and want to change their existing habits.

4. Experience: Most disruptions share the same challenges in debunking the status quo. They sometimes lose these battles despite being superior in some cases. Most often they lose because people base their verdict on similar but not identical past events. Example:Open Source.

Signs
Now how to spot potential disruptions in legal technology:

Mobile: mobile is not a device, app or technology per se. I rather see it as an environment. It is about doing legal research behind a desk or during a meeting, in a court room but also your living room and even your car. One should be able to switch between these environments seamlessly. Key is adjusting a service to recognize, adapt and be simple enough to use in each settings. Example: Yahoo Axis

Social: In no others industry is ‘Partnering’ such a fundamental part of the business as in the legal market. Although the ‘Partners’ concept works a bit different in practice, the principle remains: to connect, exchange and collaborate to achieve a mutual goals more efficiently. Any service that leverages this principle exponentially will be disruptive.

Consumers: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Consumerization are current trends that actually reveal an underlining movement: Companies are forced to think and act more like regular consumers. Especially while pondering IT decisions. This also mimics the cultural shift in work-life division where the job moves outside the office and beyond the business days.

Value: While value was generally ruled by scarcity in the physical world it is now a moving target in the digital space. Business models based on physical rules have gradually made way for another models based on different rules. Now services are able to invert the value of commodities and when that happens they will most likely succeed to disrupt.

Future
Imagining a future disruption in the legal technology space could be as simple as looking at current disruptions in the consumer market. A legal technology disruption might not originate from a existing legal technology player. It may not be based on superior technology or better curated content. It just might be that the very basic problem legal tech is trying to solve is (inadvertently) solved in a different more efficient fashion by someone else.

In hindsight all evolutions seem self evident yet they are notoriously difficult to predict…or it may be just a matter of looking at it from another angle. So let’s stop looking for disruptions and create them by starting at the end and work our way to the beginning.

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Desktop Optional: 6 Tips To Go Completely Mobile
Desktop Optional: 6 Tips To Go Completely Mobile 640 480 Raymond Blijd
I rarely use my laptop at home. All the major tasks I used to do on my laptop, I now do on either my iPhone or iPad. Yet, I’m still tied to my desktop at the office. However, I’m now slowly migrating these office PC tasks over to my iPad or iPhone and i’ll reveal my secrets. Here is a guide to help you do regular office tasks with apps on your iOS device.
Apple recently launch their push in to offices with their “iPhone in Business” site. Thereby signaling they are serious about business. Here are a few tips they haven’t mentioned:
1. Communication
The standard iOS Mail app can be setup to work with multiple accounts including Microsoft Exchange server. The trick to make it useful is to ask your IT to limit your email storage capacity to e.g. 2 GB. Most servers also limit attachments to 10 mb so 2 GB would roughly translate to 1 year’s worth of emails for a regular user. This will allow you to safely sync all your emails and not max out storage on your device.
2. Search
I also prefer the email search tool in iOS over MS Outlook because it’s just faster in showing results. I do not use an external keyboard on my iPad because I like to travel light and keep things simple and short. The ‘suggest’ and ‘define’ options available by long-pressing on a word anywhere within iOS are sufficient but I do miss using ‘synonyms’ from the context menu in MS Word on my desktop.
3. Scheduling
If your corporate exchange mail is synced you’ll also have the option to add calendar, tasks (called Reminders on iOS) and contacts. I’ve opted for the first two and I’m pleased how the calendar app lets you easily manage and schedule appointments based on Outlook’s Meeting request. When iOS recognizes a date in your email its provides you with the option to quickly schedule it in your Calendar.
I use the “show in calendar” option frequently and it works far better than on a desktop. Proposing a new time is a hidden gem or just bad design by Apple: if you want to propose a new time you can add a comment and decline. Your meeting organizer will receive a notification with your note. See the pink arrows in the Skitch image below.

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4. File Management.
My make-shift corporate file manager is also my Mail app. Most documents have at some point been emailed so I can retrieve them with search from my inbox and view them in Mail or a wide variety of apps. I still haven’t tested Fileboard which claims to let you browse files across corporate and personal email and also supports cloud storage likeDropbox and MS Sharepoint in a single UI. But from what I have seen it looks very promising.
5. Email Attachments
Now the biggest draw back to using email on iOS is attachments. I still haven’t found a way to attached documents to an existing email thread but I do have a few workarounds. You do have the ability to paste several images from the Pictures app in an email so here’s what I do: Evernote Skitch let’s you annotate images so I grab a screenshot of any attachment I receive and annotate the snapshot. Copy and paste the annotated snapshot back in the email thread.
Goodreader is a great PDF annotator and file manager which also works with iCloud and Dropbox. However its often overlooked feature is the various ways it allows you to send attachments. You’re able to zip and unzip files or add multiple files to an email but – again- not to an existing mail thread.
6. Document processing
I’ve resisted doing content creation on mobile except for email, notes and image / video editing. I was waiting for the right apps to come along that actually make it moreconvenient. One such app is Keynote yet its biggest drawback is lack of support for other then iCloud services like Dropbox.
So I sometimes use Cloudon. It does an amazing job of bringing the MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) experience to the iPad. They unfortunately also highlight the shortcomings of non-touch enabled design of MS Office. Nonetheless, you now have a way of viewing and managing track changes in MS Word or adding those SmartArt objects into your deck with PowerPoint right on your iPad.
We are heading mobile and it’s just a matter of developers, designers and publishers catching up with the needs of mobile users. Wolters Kluwer is leading the way with one of the best apps in publishing: Wolters Kluwer Health UpToDate
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