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Don’t wait on innovation

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Starbucks has ran into some glitches the past few months in their implementing the of the use of the electronic payment service, Square, in their stores.

Starbucks’ response as reported by Austin Carr (@AustinCarr) of Fast Company? “Innovation is messy.”

I doubt Adam Brotman (@adambrotman) Starbuck’s Chief Digital Officer and SVP, who spoke with Carr was that cavalier. But what Brotman told Carr is a sound message for any company, including a law firm.

We don’t want to wait on innovation. Because if we waited until we could make it perfect across every single experience of every single store, we would have to move much more slowly for the vast majority of our customers. So we’ve taken an approach that’s not always perfect, but we think it’s the best thing for our brand and customers.

Lawyers may seek perfection in their practice. But they’d be dead in the water if they waited for perfection in business.

There are are any number of things for which lawyers and law firms need not seek perfection. Client service innovations and networking through the Internet (blogging and other social media) for business development come to mind.

I believe you should get something out there (make it very good and of value to your clients) and let your customers and clients tell you what you need to do to improve.

Paying customers and clients are vested in your success. They are a much better gauge of what you need to improve than you are while you’re seeking perfection before acting.

Look at Bill Gates, a fellow Seattleite to Brotman and myself. People used to say Microsoft products were ‘vaporware.’ I have gone to sections of an Office product, that though labeled, did not appear to be functioning yet.

Six Apart’s TypePad web based blogging product may have done more for professional blogging than any other blog solution. TypePad had information in their help section for features which had yet to be released. Yet their product was fantastic and Six Apart built a loyal following of users.

As LexBlog grows in years (now our 10th) and in outstanding clients, we get pulled to provide new services, solutions, and products.

Whether it’s strategic consulting on social media, network solutions pulling a law firm or association’s social media together, coaching individual lawyers on social media, or training the trainer on social media, we rely on the law firms and lawyers we have relationships with to guide us in improving our offerings.

LexBlog has high standards in what we deliver. We’re lawyers serving lawyers.

At the same time, we don’t want to wait on innovation. Like Brotman said, if we waited until we could make things perfect across every single experience, we would be moving much more slowly than the vast majority of our clients would tolerate.

Law firms and other businesses (LexBlog included) would do well to take a page out of Starbucks playbook. Rather than wait for perfection in all you do, deliver innovation.