The adoption of new technology by any organisation requires an understanding of the culture, the group dynamics, and the needs of those who will engage and benefit from its use. Understanding how your intended users will react to change, from shock to acceptance and commitment, might inform how new technologies are introduced. Can cultural change be driven by performance measures, such as rewards for engagement, or is punishment more effective? Within all culture discussions, collaboration is a perennial topic of conversation. In these challenging times, looking to colleagues, and cross-team working, could provide answers and promote new ways of tackling problems.
Recently Thomson Reuters hosted a webinar that resulted in a lively discussion as they considered the cultural implications of implementing new technology. The main themes of the webinar were:
- Understanding your change curve—what are the stages likely to feature in technology adoption in a firm?
- Carrot versus stick—is one more appropriate than the other?
- What steps can you take to promote cross-team collaboration?
Moderator: Samantha Steer, Director Large Law Strategy, Thomson Reuters
- Ian Rodwell, Head of Client Knowledge and Learning, Linklaters
- Caroline White-Robinson, Head of Knowledge Management and Learning and Development, Shoosmiths
- Jessica Magnusson, Global Head of Legal Knowledge Management, HSBC, Legal
The webinar began with an introduction from the moderator, Samantha Steer, Thomson Reuters—and noted that the webinar will focus on the adoption of technology and the impacts of clients—and the influence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Ian Rodwell, Linklaters, and Jessica Magnussen, HSBC, began with a discussion about the features of culture and technology adoption that are familiar and recognised as perennial challenges for organisations as before the COVID-19 pandemic. The speakers noted that it is important to know what people mean when they say “culture”, the unlikely scenario of a “monoculture” and challenges to the adoption of technology previously experienced.
Caroline White-Robinson, Shoosmiths, joined the discussion as speakers reviewed the changed landscape due to COVID-19. All speakers agreed that the hard stop and mandatory change in working practices and habits differed greatly from the usual implementation of change in the workplace: No implementation strategies, focus groups or pilots. No time for companies to review employee preferences based on their own home life and commitments, childcare for example.
The discussion also examined the behavioural aspects of culture and explored how that might have been helping to enable the adaptation to home working and up-take of communication technology tools.
An interesting observation from Rodwell was the excitement and enthusiasm with which colleagues shared information, to the point that more structure and support was needed to help ensure that there was not too much information being sent in an unorganised way.
The panel also discussed what they would like to see continuing post COVID-19, the opportunities presented for adoption of legal technology, and how organisations will manage the interactions and re-skilling of furloughed employees upon “return to office”.
To listen to the webinar, click here.
Director Large Law Strategy, Thomson Reuters
Head of Client Knowledge and Learning, Linklaters
Caroline White-Robinson, Head of Knowledge Management and Learning and Development, Shoosmiths
Jessica Magnusson, Global Head of Legal Knowledge Management, HSBC, Legal
This webinar is part of HighQ’s SmartLaw Series. To find out more about SmartLaw, click here.