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Can agile work for in-house?

Most people have heard of agile working; you might be already doing it. But does it actually work for in-house? Maxine Park investigates.
The rise in agile working in recent years is obvious to anyone who occasionally frequents coffee shops and hotel lobbies. But how practical is agile for the in-house lawyer? Whilst the homeworking revolution signals a major change in professional life in the last decade or so, there’s more to agile than this. Agile working is about bringing people, processes, and technology together to find the best way of carrying out a task. It is working within the guidelines of the task, but ridding it of boundaries (in terms of how you achieve it). While the flexibility to open your laptop virtually anywhere helps free up professionals from unnecessary commutes, the use of flexi-time, hotdesking etc can also help the in-house lawyer. Despite in-house lawyers working in organisations of varying sizes, not all businesses are able or willing to adopt more flexible methods of working. In-house lawyers find themselves under daily pressures to streamline practices, cut budgets and be a hub of legal advice, visible and available to stakeholders. This means being available on the ground much of the time. However, professionals (particularly millennials) are now demanding more of a work-life balance to keep them motivated and mentally strong; after all, how many lawyers move in-house because of the perceived better work-life balance opportunities? But for agile working to thrive in-house, it requires a shift in the mindset of many organisations. After all, flexibility can be a poisoned chalice used incorrectly, meaning the employee can feel they are always on call. The fact is that an element of trust is needed for an in-house lawyer to succeed through working agilely, allowing them the autonomy to work effectively. You may ask how you can go about building this trust with your organisation, but perhaps there is something amiss if, after a period of employment, the business cannot fully trust a senior member of staff to work autonomously? Surely, in-house lawyers should be afforded the space to do their job? It’s a case of finding a way of building in flexibility that works for everyone. This flexibility might include an agreement whereby you are in the office for a minimum of three days a week, or where you get to see colleagues, attend meetings etc. Modern, cutting-edge tech giants like Google and Microsoft encourage offices without doors, walls and allocated desks. It creates a ‘fluid’ environment where there is much more cross-pollination of ideas, employees get to know more of their colleagues, and understand better the workings of other departments – and the issues faced by the organisation. This form of hotdesking will open a labyrinth of insights, as you meet and mix with everyone in the business. You become a familiar face, building your visibility and engagement. It is also true that an in-house lawyer needs blocks of uninterrupted time where you can get to work on more in-depth tasks. Allowing the flexibility to work from a desk at home, without the interruptions of your colleagues’ questions, phone calls, and emails, would be beneficial some of the time at least. Can agile working be a solution for in-house lawyers? I believe it can work, with careful thought, the right tools, real flexibility and the element of trust. But it has to be designed specifically to suit each organisation. Most importantly of all, it needs the spirit of co-operation. Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK. 
The Law Society has partnered with DictateNow. DictateNow is the country’s leading digital dictation and transcription service provider and work with law firms of all sizes, from Top 50 to small and medium-sized firms. To read this article on Law Society website click here
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HOW CAN DELEGATION BE USED BY LAW FIRMS TO MAXIMISE EFFICIENCY?

In essence, delegation seems straightforward enough, it’s a simple case of empowering someone else to do a task rather than yourself. However, in practice it is an incredibly difficult process for a multitude of reasons, not least that delegation requires a long-term perspective. It is true in all walks of life, but in law it seems especially prevalent, where in my opinion some highly experienced lawyers find letting go difficult. After all, why talk a junior colleague through what to do, when you can do it yourself in 10 minutes? Talking it through might take longer than the task itself, and then the chances are when the task is done it won’t be of the standard that you could have achieved. Yet, despite having to allow for a learning curve for someone less accomplished than oneself in a certain area of law, delegation is essential for businesses to thrive. For instance, we all have anecdotes of the senior lawyer, who took on too much and ended up having a breakdown or worse. His or her demise, will also leave a trail of demotivated people below, who were never allowed to fulfil their potential and move on. As a non-practising solicitor myself whose business provides transcription services to many within law, delegation has helped us thrive. Outsourcing, which we do is a form of delegation on a large scale, and without delving too far into this, it is not surprising as law firms call on other realms of expertise, like IT, for instance, rather than employing in-house, instead allowing a laser focus on fee earning activities. A close look at these high performers is essential, for those who want to stop firefighting. The best performing individuals have delegation down to a tee. They accept they can’t do everything. Delegation in its finest form is what Stephen Covey describes in his famous book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is stewardship delegation, Covey’s idea on effective delegation, which is focused upon results rather than the method to use in order to get a job done. We need to advise on a few things which might take time in the beginning, but the results are far better than poor instructions under stress. For Stewardship Delegation to work the person performing the task must have a clear picture of what the end result is, with a few parameters to follow, so the quality of the end result is safe. But it can’t be micromanaged so that their own creative thinking is taken out of the process. The ability for the person taking on the task to go through the process of learning and transferring it into knowledge is vital, according to Covey. Of course, the person who has delegated needs to be kept informed, but know that you are there to help if there’s questions – making them accountable for how the task is done by way of timed progress reports, and advising when it has been accomplished is vital. Also, if the task is to be done within a certain timeframe, incentivise them with what the rewards will be, but also advise any possible consequences that may arise if things aren’t done by a deadline. This doesn’t need to be as sinister as it may sound, but for instance explain how it affects the whole process of what they are doing. For instance, if it could delay a court case etc., or hinder a property deal going through. It takes cool and calm communication. This master delegator, will take time to empower others, and in doing so keep the employee happy as they grow. After all, it is part of the human condition and ambition that we want to learn new skills. It’s a world different from the senior lawyer who types copious notes on two fingers, or surfs around looking on Google because his or her laptop has slowed down to a snail’s pace. There’s never been so much good advice on productive delegation for lawyers to improve their work, but it is vital to strive to take the time out to ensure it is done properly. Good delegation will empower employees, make a law firm a better place to work and is worthy of investigation for those who wish to give this matter the attention it surely deserves. DictateNow are a partner of The Law Society and our members can benefit from 10% member discount of their services. To get that simply quote LAWSOC when calling 020 8236 9474 or e-mailing info@dictatenow.com Maxine Park Solicitor and Human Resources ServicesNow Please Click here to read the article on separate page. If you prefer to view it on Law Society Gazette please click here
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Leading Government Minister visits DictateNow to see latest innovations

We are delighted to have welcomed one of the leading politicians in the country to our headquarters in Hertfordshire. The Paymaster General, the Right Hon. Oliver Dowden MP, visited our offices recently to oversee the work being done by DictateNow and ServicesNowGroup. Mr Dowden, who is the MP for Hertsmere, is one of the most senior legal figures in the UK, and his visit coincidentally comes in the wake of The Law Society of England and Wales having chosen DictateNow, the UK’s largest and first dictation outsourcing firm as its preferred supplier for the next year. He spent a considerable time at our office learning more about our company, our work, and he met our team – many of whom live within his constituency, an area where he grew up and now represents in Parliament. We are honoured that such a high ranking Government official took time out of his challenging schedule to find out more about us and the work we are doing in many fields and also to hear about our partnership with The Law Society. His visit is a major highlight for us at a very exciting time for Dictatenow and the ServicesNowGroup, as we continue to forge ahead and employing high-quality committed individuals who share our vision. Pic: Garry Park, Co-Founder of DictateNow with Oliver Dowden MP
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Maxine Park: Resilience – the key determining factor for business and life

Last week at a business event, one of the audience bemoaned the lack of resilience in today’s society. It was a moment that struck a chord with me because, whilst resilience is often talked about in business, I do wonder do we have a resilience crisis in today’s society. After all, and I make no apologies for saying this, the new generation of youngsters seem to be lacking in the steeliness that those in years gone by once had. This, of course, is a generalisation, as there are some great young entrepreneurs with that, never say die attitude, but resilience is a topic that doesn’t seem to have had the airing that it deserves, and more of a debate needs to be opened up, as there does seem to be many more vulnerable individuals than there once was who have bought into a throwaway society, where many get fleeting fame.  

It’s called hunger for a reason

  In its purest form, when we think of hunger we take it to mean lack of food, but it’s a word closely associated with success nowadays, where we talk about the hunger to achieve our goals and so on. However, this hunger is to my mind, the foundation of resilience and it is something that many of us who succeed in life and business can talk about. For instance, when my husband Garry and I started our business DictateNow, almost 20 years ago, we committed to each other that it would succeed. In those early days, with two young children, and bills still to pay, it meant hard work and long hours, consistently breaking through comfort zones, and plenty of failure. This failure was sometimes crushing and we sometimes questioned our sanity, but somehow we just kept on going. However, what got us through was that hunger to succeed, which is tested like a muscle time and time again. And, remember, businesses have to constantly adapt and keep up to date with technology and changes in the marketplace with many emerging business disruptors. After all, models like Deliveroo and Uber have shaken up and transformed their industries. It is that mental picture that all those who wish to build resilience need to think of. Superstar entrepreneurs, like Sir Richard Branson, didn’t just wake up one day as a billionaire. That tremendous athlete, Usain Bolt didn’t just get up one day and run 100 metres in under 10 seconds. They had to go through lots and lots of mental and physical pain to get there. It is something born of a desire to choose the long term over the short term. This long-term approach to life is very much an integral part of resilience. Even then, there are always emerging threats to business continuity – for instance, we have had to build systems that safeguard information to prevent cybersecurity, which are now common place in today’s global world. It is not for the faint hearted.  

So, does society have a resilience issue?

  Of course, we cannot look back on the past with rose tinted glasses, but those old enough to recall the days of 3 or 4 TV channels, shops closed on Sundays and genuine teenage boredom, do seem more resilient. The message has to get through that life is tough, it’s not always fair, and building resilience is vital for all those who want to get to the top in whatever they chose – in fact, it is not vital, it is absolutely compulsory. Is there a lack of resilience in society today? What are your thoughts and what tips do you have for cultivating resilience?                 By Maxine Park   Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK 
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Why Putting More Female Lawyers On TV Isn't Enough To Address The Industry's Gender Issues

By LAUREN SHARKEY With any gender inequality workplace news, there comes calls for better media representation. Not enough female doctors? Make a film about one. A lack of women in the construction industry? Fund a documentary. Too few female barristers? Get rid of a male TV character and make room for a female one. Well, that's what a Telegraph article is suggesting the world do to address the law industry's gender imbalance. As the paper reports, new findings from legal ranking company Chambers and Partners show that less than a quarter of UK-ranked barristers are female. This figure has increased by only five percent since 2010. Clearly, more needs to be done. One potential solution may be to show female barristers doing their thing on a respected TV series. Claire Darwin, a barrister at Matrix Chambers, told the Telegraph: "Growing up, long before I met any real barristers, I was a huge fan of This Life, the BBC Two drama about young barristers." Diya Sen Gupta QC, from Blackstone Chambers, instead espoused the importance of "real life role models" like the Supreme Court's Lady Hale, telling the Telegraph: "I firmly believe that you can’t be what you can’t see." But is representation in the media, or in real life, enough to make a tangible difference? Or does there need to be harder action from within the industry itself? "Media is all about sharing information and knowledge, which can influence the choices people make, says Danielle Ayres, senior associate solicitor at Gorvins Solicitors, "so increasing the number of female barristers and solicitors on TV and other media channels could help to encourage more women to be interested in the law." But, she adds, "this alone will not change the gender imbalance within the law industry." "Of course, the media does have an influence and can glamourise professions," notes Maxine Park, a qualified solicitor and founder of DictateNow. But she also recognises a secondary point: that "we live in an era where it is very easy to become well-informed." For that reason, she recommends young women interested in the profession use social media to connect with female barristers. Strangely enough, the aforementioned statistics don't appear to be a wholly accurate view of the entire industry. As Sky News reports, there is an almost equal number of men and women studying to be barristers. Recent figures from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) show that 48 percent of lawyers working in law firms are female, and 58 percent of in-house solicitors are women. The issue doesn't seem to be the number of women entering the law industry; it's the barriers blocking women from obtaining more senior positions. In December 2017, just under 15 percent of Queen's Counsel barristers were female, states Sky News. And, reports Stylistwomen make up only a third of partners in law firms. Ayres says the legal sector "needs to make changes... to enable those already [working in the profession] to progress." A gender pay gap still persists too. The average pay gap equated to 20 percent for the 25 biggest UK law firms in 2018, reports Lawyer Monthly. But, when partner income was included, some firms' pay gaps shot to over 60 percent. There is also an issue of sexual harassment. A survey commissioned by The Lawyer of 1,000 lawyers and other employees working in the UK's top 100 law firms found that 42 percent of women had experienced sexual harassment at work. Even a law student admitted to Sky News that there was a distinct sense of "lad culture" at the Bar. Yet another problem arises when women decide to have a family. Amanda Pinto QC, vice-chair of the Bar Council, told Sky News: "The Bar is a difficult profession because you don't necessarily know if you're going to be working a very long day or get home to pick up your children. It's that uncertainty that makes it hard." Flexibility is an urgent call from some legal insiders. "Real change can only be achieved if those responsible for policy in barristers' chambers follow the lead now well-established in the solicitors' branch of the profession: facilitating parental leave, returners following career breaks, and flexible working," states Goodman Ray solicitor Jemma O'Neill. The Bar Council have a helpline and mentoring initiatives to help female progression, though it will take time to measure any impact they may have. Many of the insiders I speak to are remaining positive about the future and any initiative to make a beneficial change. "Women are [being] more and more portrayed as confident and strong characters and there are more and more female lawyers becoming partners — our firm in particular is a great example of this," says Elizabeth Jaques, another solicitor at Goodman Ray. But, she notes, there is still a "divide" with an underlying theme that women in the industry are "less pushy and aggressive" compared to their male counterparts. "However, I feel women are building each other up in the legal world and it will only get better." "Anything that normalises female barristers has to be welcome," Park finishes.
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DictateNow

Outsourcing dictation make financial sense for the legal market

We live in an era where law firms see outsourcing as a far more sensible option than a generation ago. Many solicitors, barristers and other legal professionals have come to the conclusion that having lots of support staff is unnecessary, when the evidence for transcription outsourcing is so compelling. After all, it is fair to say the legal market has been transformed in recent years due to the opening up of legal services, so it means the traditional law professionals have to create business structures that offer more agility compared to the traditional model law firm of a decade ago. We at DictateNow were there at the start of transcription outsourcing revolution, which began in the early part of the 21st century, but now thankfully it is viewed in a completely different light. For instance, we have recently become the chosen partner for The Law Society, as they understand the service we do ties in so closely with the way modern law firms now operate. More information on this accolade is available here. We are delighted to achieve such an endorsement because we realise that the confidence bestowed upon us from such a prestigious body matters hugely for law firms.  We have also worked tirelessly to gain ISO certifications. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and being ISO certified is the international benchmark. Just to reiterate, we are ISO 27001:2013 certified – the internationally recognised standard for information security management. Added to this, we are ISO 9001:2015 certified in recognition of our commitment to quality and ISO 22301:2012 certified for our business continuity arrangements. So, in conclusion, we have worked incredibly hard to achieve the standards required by the legal profession and will do all we can going forward to ensure the highest standards of outsourcing in legal services. If this article has made you consider looking into digital transcription for your law firm, document production outsourcing or other business services, then details about how we can help you are available here. We are also available to chat through your options, so give us a call today on 020 8236 9474 or contact us via our website for further information.  We’re always happy to help.
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DictateNow

How to eliminate risk when outsourcing dictation services

Global outsourcing is huge business. In fact, 2019 is set to be a record year, and whilst it is a trend which will continue to grow as firms seek to be leaner and more efficient there is still a concern around risk to the business. The legal industry is by nature conservative, lawyers don’t buy into the obvious savings and ease of the latest outsourcing advancements. Lawyers want proof - they need hard evidence to support why they should outsource, and managing risk remains a major reason why some firms would rather do as much as they can in-house, believing in the adage - “better the devil you know.” We at DictateNow, being a company that was built on providing transcription services for law firms, know that risk is a no compromise subject where outsourcers in any field dealing with other businesses have to show overwhelming proof that they are a safe pair of hands. The very thought of a delicate court case having it’s evidence compromised is the stuff of nightmares for law firms and one that is a question we get asked time and time again. Yet, before we go into too much detail, what is telling when researching this article are the stories around risk calamities involving outsourcing most of which are tales found on the front pages of Google relate to incidents which are several years old. New scandals happen, of course that is true, but sometimes fear is based on the history of an issue rather than the current day reality. This is worth pointing out because sometimes ones view on a subject may be hooked firmly on evidence from the past. For instance, some of us have a fear of flying, but how much of the fear is rooted in some of the horror crashes of many years ago? For instance, someone who refused to fly out of London citing the disasters of Lockerbie and Kegworth, would be seen as being somewhat irrational, with both incidents now being over 30 years ago and hundreds of thousands of safe plane flights in the intervening decades. Issues in life, be it data breaches, plane crashes, or whatever else lead to industries re- evaluating what lessons can be learnt and how to avoid it in the future. Of course, we would never downplay an on-going battle with online security. Cybercrime is a huge issue where those who protect us online can never rest on their laurels as criminals are constantly upping their game. However, when it comes to those who you entrust with your data doing all that is possible to prove trustworthiness, then there has to be a benchmark. That standard in the legal world is ISO27001:2013. For many of our clients, acutely aware of the nature of the information on dictation sound files sent to us for transcription, this is perhaps the most important certificate and the one you should always ensure that any outsourcing provider you choose to work with holds. It gives a categorical guarantee that procedures have been implemented to maintain and continually improve information security management systems. This certificate includes requirements to assess and respond proactively to security risks, identifying threats before they pose a problem for clients. It means outsourcing companies have to be hyper-vigilant. It involves a rigorous and ongoing process, annual surveillance visits by independent assessors to ensure standards are adhered to. The inspection includes scrutiny into how threats are handled and assess how well any minor non-conformities are dealt with. This certification is achievable by all organisations, regardless of type, size or the sector in which they operate and marks out those that take confidentiality and security of their clients’ information seriously. However, it is fair to add that risk means more than just cybercrime. Risk comes from many other elements. Risk is all about painting worst case scenarios and ensuring they are covered off. After all, outsourcing non-core activities could be jeopardised through fire, flood, and insolvency also, and it could have a huge knock on effect affecting operations of the law firm itself. The outsourcers problems become your problems. With this in mind there is ISO 22301:2012 certification, which has exacting standards on business continuity. It means those who outsource transcription services to companies with this in place can rest assured that if anything goes seriously wrong, the service delivered will not be interrupted. The standard is vital if you have long-standing relationships with suppliers to deliver a quick, high-quality, efficient service that you and your clients rely on. Again, it comes with painstaking analysis by inspectors that those who hit the benchmark cannot take for granted. It is not a goal, but a continual process to achieve it then continually monitor, review, maintain and improve. To add to all this, there has to be a level of quality management, which again has a benchmark. ISO 9001:2015 means a system that has been externally audited and found to deliver what clients need. It is about consistently providing products and services that meet customer needs, and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. This is designed to enhance customer satisfaction as it means a process to develop all services, whether that is supplying dictation hardware, undertaking transcription or the copy typing of legal documents. Rigorous and continual external auditing by UKAS approved experts mean it is a high bar promise of standards and should be on your priority list and a must-have for any outsourcing service provider. Endorsements of doing beyond the norm to minimise risk is what sets the best outsourcers apart. Also being compliant with the SRA, as we are, is a must adding an extra layer of confidence. Endorsements in the law industry from the bodies that matter count for so much. They are more than just ticking boxes - they are cast iron trust in being a business you know will stand out. The legal industry, like all of modern commerce, realizes they have to move with the times and as illustrated in our opening paragraph, outsourcing continues to thrive, and the standards are in place to ensure risk is not compromised. It is food for thought for those who have previously dismissed outsourcing. standards are in place to ensure risk is not compromised. It is food for thought for those who have previously dismissed outsourcing. Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK http://dictatenow.net/
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DictateNow

Understanding the art of Delegation in Legal Practice

Stress, mental health issues, burnout are terms never too far away when discussing the issues of the modern corporate lawyer. Indeed, even the most rudimentary research will show countless news and features from the legal press painting a gloomy picture of the 2019 legal professional as they try to keep their sanity in an increasingly complex arena. Now, as a business which provides transcription services to many law firms, we do not think it would be right, or credible if we were to discuss in great detail all the varying factors which are detrimental to this much respected profession. Therefore, we will concentrate on what we know, so we won’t be talking about the overarching mental health problems, the pressures from a more open market, etc., etc. Instead we will be concentrating on what we do feel qualified to talk about, which is delegation. This year will in all probability see the outsourcing industry hit a record high. That in itself is not surprising. After all, modern technology has aided many to concentrate on what they are good at and call on others to join them in focusing on fee earning activities. However, in the hurly burly of the modern legal world, the issue of delegation is something that cannot be underestimated, which needs the oxygen of publicity for the welfare of thousands of bright legal experts who are running on empty. Modern caseloads leave many lawyers working crazy hours and their health suffers, but do they really have to spend so much time at work? Many will say that it’s just the way it is, and no two law firms are the same, but have you noticed how there always seems to be those solicitors, barristers etc. who appear to navigate their way through workloads better than most. Analysis of these super beings is worth the effort, but too many don’t take the time to look at what they do, how they work - instead they continue to battle through each day. Well simply put, whilst these individuals will have lots of enviable habits, one we know about is the art of delegation. We know about it because we are the ones who assist them. For instance, let’s talk about barristers. Morale is low amongst some, but think how many can make the choice to free up several hours a week, perhaps more to call on someone faster at typing than them to do much of their transcription work. To add to this, tasks such as diary management, document production, forms, file opening, etc. all add up to time which could be better served elsewhere on fee earning related work, for example. Another question along similar lines is why would a highly qualified lawyer capable of great things spend hundreds of hours tapping away on a keyboard when a typist can, by any measure, be roughly twice as fast as they will be at typing up case notes etc.? To add to this outsourcing is tried and tested, and, in our case, SRA approved. In many ways this is blindingly obvious, but when we are hectic, stressed with busy work loads, we can’t always see what appears clear. A mind fogged up with work, new urgent matters arriving regularly can befuddle the best of us. We then become firefighters, concentrating on the ever urgent, instead of planning on the more important tasks, which can extinguish those fires. Due to an acceptance of outsourcing firms like ourselves, doing services as in the above example, we have been able to build a business that is thriving. However, like all companies, we are only there because we serve a need. In many ways, it’s the ‘delegation need’. What lawyers choose to do with the extra hours we give them back is up to them. It can be working harder to get ahead, instead on the minutiae of the cases, it can be achieving more of a work/life balance, so they have more time for family and friends. Whatever it is, it is their choice to use it as they see best. The legal world, especially amongst the brightest and best, is facing issues like it has never seen before. An opening up of the legal industry means a newer set of skills are needed to thrive - we are seeing a very different, more commercially aware legal professional coming to the fore. Tending to this new landscape means only those who are the best will rise to the top. These are professionals with focus, who realise they can’t do it all. To get to the summit we all need a little help along the way. The art of delegation is just one part of the jigsaw to help individuals and firms achieve maximum efficiency, and businesses of the right calibre (like us) have the necessary ISO certificates in place to provide the guarantee that the delegation is wise. However, without passing the work on underachievement is never far away. Multiple skills make the best stand out, and strive for higher levels of efficiency, knowing there are a plethora of options out there to make our everyday working life more efficient is worthy of investigation for those who have until now not given outsourcing the attention it surely deserves. Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK http://dictatenow.net/  
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Maxine Park: Innovation – a word which complicates the simple

Is the word innovation being overused in the business world? I think it’s fair to say that it is almost becoming clichéd in a world where the spotlight on business leaders is now more intense than ever before. This opinion only crystallised to me last week at an event with our local law society in Hertfordshire. As a founder of a business where law firms outsource their dictation services to our teams of legal secretaries, I noticed the word innovation, innovators, innovate landing in my ears many times in as many hours on this pleasant evening, and it made me sit back and think more about the connotations of the word. Whilst business leaders like to hear nice things about their work, I wondered am I alone in thinking, in essence, it is a little more than a very nice word glamourising change? For instance, like many who started their own business, I did not see myself as someone changing the world, I just found myself daring to do something slightly different from the norm. It wasn’t inventing an electric aeroplane that could run on water and take people across the Atlantic faster than Concord, it was a simple solution where there was a gap in the market to build a business that serves a need.

Don’t believe the Dragons Den gloss

Many of the best ideas are simple ones. We found a market for law firms almost 20 years ago to outsource typing and we have ‘innovated’ further. This means we have changed since. We realised that other industries like local government, the medical industry etc., could also benefit from what we do, so we tested the water and now have clients in these fields and others too. We continue to grow and this is the essence of innovation for all firms. It’s simply seeing opportunities and trying them out. In other words, forging ahead. It is heartening that the last few years has seen business leaders/ entrepreneurs inspire so many with shows like Dragons Den, but I believe these are here primarily for entertainment. We need to be honest enough to strip away the glamour of the media, and the celebrity of the very wealthy dragons, and realise that most business leaders aren’t some astonishing band of superior beings with brains constructed in a new way never known in the evolution of mankind. They are people who have guts. They get rejections, try things that fail, and, just like employees, sometimes can get incredibly down. They just find they build up resilience and keep on going until they succeed. Even then, the best of them rarely have life completely sorted.

Keep your feet on the ground

The entrepreneurs of this world who stay on top of the pile and retain balance in their lives, I believe, are always the most humble ones. They celebrate success, but not too much- they don’t let failure get them down too much either. They are likeable too, and don’t people always buy from people? These superstars of business are just ordinary people who change things when there’s a need, be it online shopping, music streaming services, or opening take-aways on high streets. It is right that we inspire a new generation of businessmen, but let’s not do it from a pedestal of superiority, but as the best of teachers. Innovation sounds better than change, but the plain truth is that’s all it is. By Maxine Park   Maxine Park is the founder of DictateNow, the largest digital dictation and transcription specialist in the UK http://dictatenow.net/ Do you think the word innovation is a misunderstood and daunting word? What does it mean to you?
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