HedsUP! From Hedley Consulting

Welcome to the Summer 2011
issue of HedsUP!

Blue Sky
not Required

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
Steve Jobs
Summer 11

Blue Sky not Required
A dictionary would support the proposition that innovation is simply introducing something new - nothing more, nothing less. It follows that innovation can take many forms. It can be internal or external and “new” can mean new to a particular use, sector or situation rather than new to the world.

Indeed, many firms regarded as being innovative within our sector are characterised by their ability to translate well-trodden techniques and approaches from other industries and apply them to the professional environment. This knowledge transfer is possible because most of the innovation that we see is focused on the service wrapper and delivery approach rather than the core professional skill. This is not to suggest that such firms have a straightforward task - many of the challenges which need to be addressed are vexed by the need to deliver behavioural change and deal with new levels of management complexity in order to make the innovation a reality. However, it is also clear that the business risks associated with innovations which are "new to our sector" rather than "new to the world" are significantly diminished.

In the past a very plausible strategy was to be a good imitator rather than a ground breaking innovator. Innovation was seen as overly risky, whereas with imitation the trail had already been blazed and the mistakes, which are implicit in any new development process, made.

However, in the markets of the future, an imitation-led "wait and see" strategy is unlikely to be good enough for firms which want to be at the forefront of the profession.
New approaches will be needed to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by an increasingly deregulated sector and clients who are keen to explore new ways of adding value. These factors, together with a wider variety of choice and ever shortening service and product life cycles, make a follower strategy an increasingly difficult base from which to build sustainable, profitable growth.

Indeed, shortening business cycles drives innovative thinking. In the past there was plenty of time to imitate successful approaches and services as they meandered through their life cycle. Today the lifecycle is compressed to the point where the innovator captures market share, exploits it to the full and moves on before the imitator is off the starting blocks.

In this environment we should remember the maxim, which every innovator knows implicitly, that he who lives by the sword dies by the bullet!

I hope that you enjoy this issue of HedsUP! If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Andrew Hedley
Andrew Hedley

News Bytes

Mergers Forum 2011

The Law Management Section of The Law Society of England & Wales will be holding a Mergers Forum on 15th September 2011. Andrew Hedley will deliver a plenary session entitled "Why Merge: Strategic Options" and participate in the expert roundtable discussions. To read more about the forum programme and book a place click here. For more information about the Law Society's Law Management Section click here.

Strategic Marketing for Law Firms 2011 Conference

Andrew Hedley will be chairing the 10th Strategic Marketing for Law Firms Conference which will take placeon 28th September in central London. For more information and to download a conference brochure click here.

Reputation Management Strategy

Andrew Hedley offered a strategic perspective on reputation management with comments in “The Eye of the Beholder” published in Managing for Success the magazine of the Law Management Section of The Law Society. To read the article click here.

Strategic Planning Society Interviews Andrew Hedley

The Strategic Planning Society interviewed Andrew Hedley in the latest edition of its newsletter. To read the interview click here.

Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market Report

Andrew Hedley’s Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market report has now been published and is available to purchase online. Client strategy sits at the heart of all strategy. Without the ability to attract and retain clients, at a price which delivers an acceptable level of profitability, no business can be viable in the longer term. To read more or to order the publication click here.

Developing Strategic Client Relationships Report

Andrew Hedley’s comprehensive report, Developing Strategic Client Relationships, published by ARK Group, continues to attract purchasers from around the world. Running to over 150 pages, with case studies of leading firms and ground breaking initiatives in this area, the report brings a much needed strategic perspective to client development and relationship management. For more information about the report and to order a copy click here.

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