Linking Ideas: Linklaters’ crowdsourced “Ideas Pathway” set to improve work-life and clients service

August 12, 2019

3 min read

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What's going on here?

In January of this year the magic circle law firm Linklaters launched their Ideas Pathway platform. It has seen 38 new ideas be implemented to date and 17 more in the evaluation stage of development which are all sourced from various employees throughout the firm.

What does this mean?

Linklaters’s Idea Pathway is a tech platform that allows any employee at Linklaters share new ideas, no matter where they are working throughout the global law firm. It is designed to function like a social media platform where other employees can like or comment on any proposed ideas. After the initial submission and discussion of any proposed idea, there is a vote on whether it should be taken forward for further evaluation. 

To create employee engagement with the new platform, Linklaters has run many internal “campaigns” to help employees feel comfortable with regularly sharing new ideas. Most notably a campaign in the Singapore office saw a 60% participation rate, with 40 ideas proposed in 5 days and the London-based financial regulation practice’s “Ideas Sprint” raised 62 new ideas in 3 days. 

Some examples of the newly implemented ideas are:

  • The Singapore agile working campaign (use of Jabber platform to show availability and ensuring that employees have adequate tools to work from home)
  • Linklaters’s new virtual internship (see our article on that here)
  • Converting comment ‘bubbles’ on Word into footnotes (“bubbles” on Word do not show up or print automatically and make the text smaller)
  • Agile working signs (sticking labels on your office door that says if you are working remotely, on holiday etc)

What's the big picture effect?

Initiatives like this are a hallmark of Linklaters’s revamped innovation and technology groups who are working hard to ensure that they continue to encourage “collaboration and change from within the organisation” according to Head of Innovation at Linklaters Shilpa Bhandarkar. 

The platform highlights three distinct areas where Linklaters are seeking innovative ideas from employees: people, process and technology. Bhandarkar hopes that this will enhance the magic circle firm to “provide a best in class service to its clients” and create a “fulfilling work environment”, where there is an active dialogue between employees and managers. To this end Christian Stork, Partner and co-head of Innovation at Linklaters commented “too often, great ideas can fall through the cracks of a large global firm.” Not anymore says Linklaters.

What is most striking is the range of ideas that have been successfully implemented. Often large firms consider technology to be the sole focus of innovation. The Ideas Pathway did start with projects that were more focused on new technological solutions, such as a Coding Club for staff that was pitched by an LPC student when the Ideas Pathway was being trialled back in September 2018. But more organisational and people-based changes are also at the heart of the project, as the focus on agile work demonstrates.

The buzzword, “innovation”, is at the centre of every large law firm’s philosophy. Linklaters have chosen to put a greater degree of faith in their people with the new Ideas Pathway. Fostering a genuinely collaborative culture in a firm, where everyone’s ideas are heard, can be difficult. In a reply to Allen & Overy’s innovation successes with the Fuse tech space (see our article on that here), Linklaters’s plan to universally listen to their employees has proved itself already with the idea of a virtual internship leading their magic circle competitors. The question is what idea will come next for Linklaters?

Report written by Will Holmes

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