Tag Archives: innovation

Lexis Microsoft Office: Legal Tech Man on the Street

It has been a long four days since I left the Holy Land for New York City to attend Legal Tech.  The big news of the conference for my company was the introduction of Lexis Microsoft Elmo (or “LMO” as we fondly call it while picturing a fuzzy little red monster).  This is an integration of LexisNexis tools to Microsoft programs like Outlook and Word that allows lawyers to search in the context of their documents with the push of a button.  Check out my post from the Martindale Blog that was written the day we announced LMO.

One of the main things I did a Legal Tech was capture the “man on the street” perspective about what we were doing.  Here are some videos posted on our LexisNexis YouTube page with me interviewing conference goers, keynote speakers, and our own CEO:

Interview with Bruce MacEwan, partner at Adam Smith Esq.

Interview with Mike Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis US Legal Markets

Interview with Jonathan Silverman, Service Executive at Microsoft

Interview with Alex Dilessio, Innovation Lead at LexisNexis

Interview with John Alber, Partner at Bryan Cave

Check out the LexisNexis YouTube channel for all of the videos from Legal Tech.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Technology

Where Do They Find the Time?

Clay Shirkey, author of “Here Comes Everybody,” posted this great article in 2008 explaining the phenomenon of social media.  It’s not a primer about Facebook or why people should use Linkedin or how lawyers can benefit from being on Martindale-Hubbell Connected (shameless plug), rather he talks about how traditional media folks still don’t really get it.  Sure, they understand that these tools and being in these spaces can help their projects move forward (I don’t think there is an HBO show out there without a blog), but the question in their minds remains: where do people find the time?

Shirkey goes on to talk about television, the great distraction.  He said if you then take the creation of something as vast as Wikipedia and look at it as a unit as of 2008, all of the content, edits, pages, and comments crowd-sourced on Wikipedia had taken 100 million thought hours to create.  Where do people find the time?  The thought hour surplus from watching television in the United States in a single year: 200 Billion thought hours (“that’s 2000 Wikipedia projects per year”).  Imagine if we could harness the power of those wasted hours, “unwinding” in front of meaningless stories crafted to capture our attention towards a bit of advertising that most people cut out via TIVO (don’t worry – they’ll still get you via product placement and in-show ads – ever wonder why so many people in movies and on TV have Apple computers?).

It reminds me of an R.A. Lafferty short story that I once read called, “Polity and Customs of the Camiroi,” where a board of education visits a distant advanced civilization called “Camiroi.”  In this culture, children are working on advanced nuclear physics and other such topics by the first grade (to any Lafferty devotee who may read this: I’m paraphrasing here, so please don’t roast me if I got the grade level wrong at which kids learn advanced nuclear physics.  As I am comfortably typing this in bed, I am too lazy to dig through the book case for my copy of Lafferty to confirm this – if you wish to do so please leave a comment).  The point is that this fictional society placed such a value on time that they race their young through trivial lessons such as finger painting, making cute little crafts, and teaching them colors so they can get to really useful knowledge like applied sciences and quantum theory at an early age.  They bring to mind what might be possible if we took the 200 billion thought hours in America each year and applied them to problems like solving the energy crisis, space and time travel, and fixing the inability of people to merge properly to avoid unneeded traffic (to solve this last one would mean the true evolution of the human race as a species in the universe).

So how does this apply to community management?  After all, it was on a community management message board that I first got the link to the Shirkey article that started this little post.  Speaking from my experience, one of the primary things I hear from lawyers (my target audience) is that to participate in an online community seems time consuming.  As people who primarily get paid by the hour (and sometimes the minute) they do not know how they can spend time creating content and reacting to other peer created content online.  Let’s look at Shirkey again with a dash of David Allen (author of Getting Things Done).

Where do you spend most of your time as a lawyer?  Is it in research (not if you have a huge team of paralegals), talking on the phone with clients, gathering intelligence, writing, golfing, loafing?  I think how specifically you can answer that question (and if you have something like Time Matters software tracking your every move it should be easy) you can then answer the second question: where is your time not being optimally spent?  If you could find a better way of doing existing tasks that would free up your to do more high value tasks, that would be valuable to you and your clients.  For example, if you needed to find out about a particular issue for something you were writing at the end of the week, putting a key question out there on a message board read by other thought leaders on the issue would enable you to have a conversation about it rather than just looking up the results on a search engine and forming a singular conclusion.

The point is that before something becomes normal to us it seems like a big undertaking.  There is no denying that online communities and social media will change the way we do everything.  Just like email did for communications, this new way of interacting will find its way into the everyday business of doing business.  Just like online legal research enhanced the information presented in law books (some even argue turning them into into glorified paper weights and office decoration), community media will replace solitary search, information gathering, and cold calling.  Time will tell whether as a profession we be innovative with this technology and integrate it to our work flows, or remain cautiously on the sideline, accepting it only after many years have gone by bringing something new to weary of.

Leave a comment

Filed under Legal, Technology, Uncategorized

Real Education in Virtual Worlds that Will Blow Your Mind

When I say “virtual world,” what do you think about?  To me, images of Star Trek’s “Holodeck” or the X-men’s “Danger Room” come to mind; in the “real world” I might point to World of Warcraft or Second Life (“SL”).  Most of us would say those are just “games” and conclude that “virtual world” = video game, but as the videos below will show, there is a whole new pedagogical (strategy of instruction) approach to using virtual words to learn in the real world.  Applications run the gamut of teaching a class about history, art, or science, to training a sales team about a new product.  I want to give a shout out to eLearning blog for posting about these videos in the first place – check ’em out:

Overview of educational use and applications – shows how universities can use SL to teach history, art, psychology, drama, and social science.

Science learning – shows an exercise where students can enter a cell, explore, and then find the exacitic vesticle to exit the cell.  It also shows an interactive tour through an anatomic model with a real beating heart (wonder what they could do with the brain after the brain map project is complete in 2011?).

Sales Rep Training – shows how a company can train sales reps on the intricacies of a product, in this case a drill.  Best feature of all?  You can tell when participants aren’t engaging in the learning activities of the demo or following the speaker b/c their avatar will “fall asleep” – what a useful thing for law school classes!

Edtech.Boisestate.edu – shows a training ground for educators who want to get started in virtual pedagogy, (I definitely want to check out learning a new language – here they show French).

There is so much potential here, especially as worlds like Second Life become easier to build in and more accepted as a medium for communication.  What can publishers, educators, students, and others do to make this a meaningful tool and not just some gimmick?

Leave a comment

Filed under Technology, Uncategorized

Innovation: How Does Your Team Use Share Point

Since becoming a manager for my company in mid-2007 our team has gone through a Share Point revolution.  Early on, we saw the potential for this under-used tool, but had little experience using it.  We found the following uses to be helpful to us as a Content Development Team

Wiki – MS Share Point wiki capabilities pale in comparison to Telligent’s, but still provide a great platform for info sharing.  Here are some examples of what we have done in this space:

  • Team Status Sheets – employees keep a running tally of the projects and releases on their plate, using brief descriptions which can be shared/edited at any time by members of the wiki.  As the manager, I set alerts to tell me when an editor changes something, cutting down on the amount of email that gets generated.  The quick nature of the updates and tools allows us to cut down on chatter that can confuse projects.  And best of all – it is entirely searchable.
  • Team Meeting Agendas – rather than sending an attachment via email, which will need to be revised before the meeting, we found posting these as wiki pages allowed team members to add items at anytime prior to the meeting.  It then serves as the template for notetaking during the meeting (whether live on Live Meeting or posted later), and helps archive our meeting discussions, follow up items, and useful info, which can be turned into a best practice wiki page and linked to directly from the agenda.
  • Evolving Best Practice Pages – we use the wiki to keep a living journal of our best practices rather than keeping this information stored in emails or documentation.  This provides flexibility to edit as we learn better ways of doing things, more robust linking, and a collaborative approach on the team to deciding the best way to work.  By using the Wiki, rather than a shared document, people are less hesitant to make a change b/c they know how easy it is to go back to a prior version if a mistake or practice that the group doesn’t agree with gets entered.  On a shared document, track changes can serve this function, but there is margin for error if the person making the change doesn’t choose track changes or uploads a different version.  Wiki just makes this a simpler task
  •  Projects – we use the wiki as a collaborative space to do project work in.  Rather than have a version on everyone’s desktop, project proposals get entered on the wiki, worked on and tracked in that space, and discussed via email (unfortunately MS Share Point doesn’t support commenting/tagging like Telligent). 

Interdepartmental Document Library Allows Coordination of Tracking Sheets & Info – in Academic publishing we deal with partners in Production, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales, Fulfillment, and Acquisitions.  While much email is still generated, we have found that tracking sheets and shared information works best when kept in a document library.  To that end, we created separate document libraries on a single share point for each of these departments.  Rather than sending large files via email, we point each other to links in the libraries.  Also, things like Sales Rep Reports and Marketing Intelligence get stored here as well.

What are some of the innovative ways others are using Share Point?

1 Comment

Filed under Technology

Creating a Closer Organization Through Social Networking?

Everybody seems to be social networking online these days, and many businesses have responded by implementing this technology into everyday culture.  The benefits in making social networking an effective tool for business development rather than a distraction are highlighted in an article by Rheingold Associates, among which they mention:

  1. Provide an ongoing context for knowledge exchange that can be far more effective than memoranda.
  2. Attune everyone in the organization to each other’s needs – more people will know who knows who knows what, and will know it faster.
  3. Multiply intellectual capital by the power of social capital, reducing social friction and encouraging social cohesion.
  4. Create an ongoing, shared social space for people who are geographically dispersed.
  5. Amplify innovation – when groups get turned on by what they can do online, they go beyond problem-solving and start inventing together.
  6. Create a community memory for group deliberation and brainstorming that stimulates the capture of ideas and facilitates finding information when it is needed.

But can a social networks make a large organization feel closer?  It is my belief that they can.  In looking through my LN collegues on M-HC, I saw CEOs, VPs, and other senior staffers whose names I know, but who might not know mine.  While I did not just reach right out and invite them to connect (doing so didn’t seem prudent without a present context), I did find that seeing them listed as potential contacts, especially when their profile included a picture, made me feel closer to them regardless.

I then got to thinking: social networks pose an opportunity for senior leadership to connect with their organization in new ways that feel more intimate than an email, all-employee call, or posting on an intranet.  For example, the senior leader might find that posting a daily blog, a tidbit of information from lessons learned that day or an inspirational thought, connects them regularly to the workforce.  Having discussion board topics, where all employees are encouraged to comment on the topic (and start their own), fosters innovation and creativity among the group.  What if a senior leader reached out to an employee to invite them to connect b/c they saw an innovative blog post or discussion answer?  This could be a new way to reward and recognize that feels personal and focused.

In short, online social networking is here to stay, we have only begun to tap it’s potential, and I’m sure there are many effective ways to use this tool that we haven’t even thought of.  So what are your ideas?

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized