Simon Drane

Direction of innovation risks creating a future “authenticity” problem

At the recent Tech & Innovation Leaders summit for professional services something fundamental occurred to me during a session where we were live polling the senior audience of around 100 leaders. The audience was spread across law, accounting, property, consulting and in-house in somewhat of a unique gathering that looks beyond an insular sector approach towards broader emerging themes. The disconnect that started to emerge was around what firms stated as their goals for innovation compared to what they were actually doing. Incidentally, the wider areas that emerged as clear themes from the summit were around the way in which firms were starting to get to grips with the power of data (see related article here), the processes they were using and the cultural challenges. For a summary of the conference themes that emerged see here.

In this article I want to explore what I think is a potential disconnect which could impact on both firms’ clients and employee perceptions creating real financial risk. This article builds on another piece I have written on a recent innovation benchmark study which you can also read here. One of the key findings from that study was that very few firms are driving material revenue increases from their innovation initiatives, driven by a great many factors including many firms not having the right processes, investment or culture and because many are focusing on incremental innovation at a time when clients are expecting more.

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Simon Drane

Simon Drane

earlsferry advisory
Simon has held numerous positions within the professional services sector over the last 25 years, at a FTSE 100 legal information solution provider, a legal technology consultancy, a law firm, an accounting firm, and a legal membership organisation. Simon has qualifications in law and tax, and deep experience in commercial product strategy. Simon has board level experience of both executive and non-executive roles, and as CEO of a technology startup. He has a strong track record in creating innovative product strategies resulting in multiple new multimillion pound high growth lines of business. Simon led the new investments product strategy area at LexisNexis and created and launched many of the next generation content and workflow product offerings for lawyers. At the Law Society Simon ran the commercial arm of the organisation and restructured a set of commercial investments through taking board seats. He also implemented a new commercial strategy including a significant shift in focus to legal technology innovation including the launch of a legal tech focused Barclays EagleLab accelerator. Simon has also held senior knowledge management roles in both law and accounting firms. Simon established earlsferry advisory towards the end of 2018 to help people with their product strategies, whether they are technology businesses, professional services businesses or investors into these spaces.