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LTVS2021 Highlight: Sarah Blair - 5 Why’s & Innovation

At the LTVS2021, Sarah Blair from Thorntons shared both the “5 Why’s” innovation technique, and a definition of innovation she uses with her colleagues and clients.

The “5 Why’s” technique is a simple problem-identification technique that is very effective at getting to the route of a given problem. First developed in the 1930s by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries, it works by asking “Why?” five times when a problem arises. For example, a printer isn’t working; “Why?”; it’s because the paper is jammed; “Why?”; because the gears inside are stiff and jerky; “Why?”; because it hasn’t been serviced in two years… and so on. After asking “Why?” 5 times you should be at or near the route of the problem - create a countermeasure for that and you can solve a series of issues up the chain.

Sarah also shared the definition of “innovation” that she uses with her colleagues and clients. Created by Nick Skillicorn after asking 15 industry experts, it states:

“Executing an idea which addresses a specific challenge and achieves value for both the company and customer.”

This is a good definition of innovation as it includes a focus on challenges and opportunities; on the problem and spending time understanding it; on ideas; and on value. Sarah explained value is in the eye of the beholder. What do your clients value? If you start with technology you’re on the highway to nothing, as technology is often a solution looking for a problem.

To learn more about innovation and where to start when creating solutions from a whole host of new and old speakers, join us for The LegalTech Vacation Scheme 2022 - tickets available now!

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