Change and Innovation at LitSupport
In April 1997, Charles Fishman wrote the following phrase in his article on change in Fast Company Magazine:
“It’s not that the business environment is changing. Change is the business environment. And it’s not that every company is undergoing change. Change has overtaken every company.”
This quote has always resonated with me because LitSupport has been through many changes. Starting as a small, one-person enterprise to becoming part of a large, multinational organisation today. In one sense, the constantly changing business environment can lead to uncertainty and, recent research has shown, quite conservative thinking when it comes to innovation.
Indeed, the practice of law can be quite resistant to the innovation needed to meet this change in a positive, dynamic way. However, there are pioneering firms that are open to new ways of working.
We have a number of different choices in the way we respond to change, including to:
- ignore change;
- acknowledge, identify and manage change; or
- initiate change by recognising the role of innovation to business success.
The approach at LitSupport has always been a combination of the last two options. LitSupport has been an agent for change and continues to critically examine its own response to change.
One thing has, however, always remained a constant. The overriding aim for LitSupport is to ensure that our customers are happy. Everything flows from this one aim.
LitSupport has been able to grow organically, adapting to the changing business environment in a gentle way. At first, there were few competitors and we operated in a forgiving environment – mistakes were made, lessons were learned and we recovered from them.
This gentle environment is now gone. The pace of change has increased and the market has been flooded with a huge number of competitors. This new level of competition means that while our mission to make our customers happy will always remain the same, we have to challenge ourselves to continue to take risks and innovate. It is all too easy to stick with the same, safe way of doing things. Without this competitive environment, perhaps innovation would be non-existent. There exists today, a much more dynamic working environment that meets change with innovation and creativity. LitSupport is an exciting place to work!
This is the way we work now. It might not be the way we work in the future. Businesses need to innovate to be successful initially and in the long-term. My team and I are always looking at our approach critically and analysing whether we should let go of ways of working that are no longer relevant to the changing environment. This can be a painful process at times, but it is never boring! Change is flowing abundantly around us and our leadership is at the forefront of this drive. Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation statement has caused small business people to feel more optimistic about 2016. A $1.1 billion package to fund Australia’s “ideas boom” for the next four years is not a bad start.
We have never before seen innovation at the top of the nation’s agenda. Australia has the opportunity, for the first time in history, to lead the world with creativity in innovation.
Innovation as a response to change can come in many different forms. It can come from commercialising new ideas, recognising the value in old ideas or even just having the courage to continue with an old way of working if it continues to be relevant.