Innovation is not about creating something new. It’s about embracing change.
Many business leaders talk about putting people at the heart of their organisation, but how many achieve it?
Everything starts with communication. Understanding ‘the why’ makes it much more achievable to talk about the ‘how’.
When I was appointed Managing Partner of South West legal firm Stephens Scown in 2010, annual turnover was £10.5m and net profit £2.9m. By the time I stepped down in 30 April 2019, turnover had reached £20m and profit £5.9m, with the firm expanding from 150 to 313 employees.
For me, limiting innovation to processes or systems inhibits potential outcomes. Innovation distils down to how you empower people, embrace change and use it to your advantage across a whole organisation.
At Stephens Scown I created a culture of innovation, so everybody could come forward with ideas. Reusable coffee cups for the Love Where You Live campaign were a familiar feature of Stephens Scown’s Exeter, St Austell and Truro offices, years before other brands took similar steps. The Stephens Scown award-winning My Lawyer App was the first outward-facing client App in the whole legal profession.
Today, with a more formal structure, the firm continues to innovate. Teaming up with an external provider, the firm is working to give clients the same level of financial information that employees operate with – client dashboard, financial metrics and workflows.
One of the most innovative changes has been the ownership, or ‘Scownership’, as the scheme is affectionately called. The first large UK law firm to give all eligible members of staff an equal share in profits, Stephens Scown has featured in the prestigious Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, every year for the past six years.
When it comes to innovation it pays to stick to basics every step of the way.
- Don’t be put off by the noise
- Create space to explore properly
- Find what’s right for your business, people, market and clients
- Start with the why