Collaboration will unlock innovation and new growth but is culturally challenging

Collaboration is perhaps not a term that sits well with professional advisors who have historically built their entire business model and reputations around being the expert and getting it right first time. While many truly customer-facing organisations have long seen the value of collaboration, both internally, and externally with partners and customers, it is perhaps one of many areas where professional services are playing catch up. In this article I will explore some of the thoughts from a range of contributors across the different sectors and seek to draw out some practical steps.

As I said in an earlier piece, perhaps the biggest challenge in adopting a more collaborative approach is that the majority of firms, when asked about their innovation goals, say that they are around delivering better client outputs, and yet at the same time most acknowledge that the majority of their innovation activity is around internal efficiency. As I wrote about in my earlier article for Alternative Insights, this disconnect in goals and actions risks leading to an “authenticity” challenge for firms. One reason I pose for this disconnect is the related statistic that 85% of people surveyed felt that not enough focus is currently on the client and transforming the outcome they receive.

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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.