Our approach

Our approach is based on what is needed in a given context, within a given timeframe and with the available resources. We assist by providing data, a better understanding of challenges, a shared vision and strategy, and expertise about what is likely to work. We make innovation processes that our clients need to meet the challenges they face, possible.

Issues and ambitions

Sometimes, the starting point for our projects will be a clear need, or perhaps a desire to provide greater protection or fairness. But it may also be a systemic problem. For example:

  • Procedures take too long, can be manipulated or vary across international jurisdictions.
  • Disputes remain unsolved.
  • The response to crime, at national or international level, is unsatisfactory.
  • Rule-making is being carried out with insufficient participation.

For many of our clients, money is a problem: when budgets for the courts, legal aid or drafting good rules are tight, money needs to be spent wisely, on the most urgent priorities. Other clients may be inspired by strong ambitions – to obtain more justice for the poor, better protection of consumer data, effective redress for victims or an improved legal infrastructure for business.

Data collection and mapping

Depending on resources and needs, we spend several weeks collecting data and mapping the issues. Who are the stakeholders? What is the context? What has already been tried? What happened in similar situations in other countries? Our experts have at their disposal tools and services that have been developed specifically to assess legal strategies, procedures, rule-making challenges and fairness of outcomes. In addition, our networks enable us to access relevant experience gained in other countries.

Shared understanding of challenges

The next step is normally to bring stakeholders together to exchange ideas and explore the underlying challenges. Taking the data as a starting point, we then jointly identify and quantify the challenges for each stakeholder. Quite often, stakeholders find that they face similar challenges and that at least some of their interests are aligned. For instance, they all agree that the needs of victims of crime should be leading or that administrative costs for corporations and regulators should be minimized. A vision for a shared future can be based on such elements.

It is particularly important to understand the viewpoints of those involved in the system. In the first place, the end-user – the individual or company that appeals to the system for protection and has to bear the costs of accessing it. It is to this end-user that government agents, courts and legal services are accountable.

But these agents, lawyers and judges have their own needs and interests. Legal strategies can only work if these various needs and interests can be brought into alignment and reinforced by professional values. These can become part of an inspiring vision for the future as well.

Strategy and innovation

A strategy for improving even only a small part of a legal system is likely to involve many stakeholders, and getting all of them to agree on a detailed plan of action is often simply impossible. However, an alternative – and often equally effective strategy – is to reach broad agreement on benchmarks and criteria for success which are related to the shared vision, and then coordinate innovation on that basis. Each stakeholder works independently, but information is shared and stakeholders constantly challenge each other to take responsibility for a their own part of the procedure and the interfaces with other stakeholders.

Nowadays, improving the justice system is not simply a matter of deciding on new laws or setting up a new agency. Quick wins are essential, but today’s problems have no straightforward solutions. Usually, ways need to be found of turning good basic ideas into workable solutions. This requires hard work and step-by-step innovation. Rules, working methods, interaction processes and supporting tools (software) all need to be adapted for the purpose. With our Innovating Procedures, we make this whole process not only effective but also exhilarating – as participants work energetically against a deadline, developing momentum and considering different perspectives as they work to achieve their objective.

Showing progress

Throughout the process, we provide a neutral perspective and help to define benchmarks (often in terms of the justice needs of citizens and the needs of professionals involved). We encourage measurement and evaluation against the underlying goals.