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⚡Embracing the power of Design Thinking 💥A case between continents with a remote legal tech team

By Karla Schlaepfer
design thinking, legal design, legal tech, teamwork, empathy

What a ride it’s been! 🐱‍🏍🎢

12 weeks of facilitation using core design thinking tools to nurture the product idea “Amicus” into a testable wireframe! 🤓

Developing understanding for the power of design thinking and overcoming the unusual time 🕑restrictions between two continents (4.5 hours), the takeaway of my engagement with the legal tech entrepreneurial team was overwhelmingly positive. 🤩 We scheduled regular meetings and met virtually online from January to April.

What a lucky coincidence that I applied and was accepted to be a design thinking volunteer facilitator in the LISA program. These program partners with exciting startups from the Stanford GSB (Graduate School of Business). LISA is the LEAD Incubator & Startup Accelerator Initiative. Seemed like cool stuff when I applied and this was confirmed not only through the work with the team but the intense and worthwhile exchange with the other two dozen facilitators.

The innovative results, MVPs, wireframes, and prototypes from the 24 international teams, will be showcased in a grand finale🥁 before the last iterations and refinements are made and the projects are pitched to possible venture investors.

“Amicus” or friend, is the name of the team and the product.

Although my legal tech team members are super busy with their day jobs (corporate lawyer, digital strategy manager), they made the time to meet, think, learn and answer hard questions about the why 🤔of their product. We didn’t have much time so prioritization was important. They reigned in their abstract aspirations. The team learned how to conduct *qualitative user research* and conducted a series of interviews. They were surprised at the perspectives 💡 they had not yet considered. The team kept refining, iterating, and moved forward with their product vision ✨

We used a mix of disruptive design-led and strategy techniques (problem framing, challenge understanding, problem analysis, personas, empathy maps, user research, stakeholder mapping, storyboarding, hypothesis and critical assumption testing, prototyping etc.) mainly in Mural.

What was the refined team challenge?👋🏼 How might we create a data analytics platform with good UX that allows General Counsel to identify winning lawyers for a specific jurisdiction?

Okay, that sounds promising but…

Looking through the glasses of Design Thinking:

🎯How does it create emotional value?

🎯How can we create trust in the use of AI in our product?

🎯How can we use empathy to understand what clients need and why behave the way they do?

Empathy is one of the central concepts in design thinking. It separates design thinking from almost every other creative, innovation and problem-solving method. Empathy is about being sensitive to and trying to understand the motivations and emotions of clients from their perspective then making some clear decisions and factoring this into the outcome.

In Design Thinking💠, we spend time to dig in deeper and understand the potential client and his/her problem. Here is part of one ideal story scenario that suggests how Amicus 🎊 can serve client’s needs:

Scenario 1. Mr. GC who is based in Singapore is looking for a good trial lawyer in California🌍 This general counsel should represent them in a case that has been filed against the company by a competitor for unfair competition. How does Mr. GC go about finding a good lawyer to do the job?

Usually, the GC will immediately google “ top lawyers in California“. He might also call some of his friends and colleagues for guidance but often he gets very vague responses and little clear factual information. Fast forward five years 🎢 The same GC. Frustrated with standard responses, and lack of information, our General Counsel googles “How do I find the best lawyers in California”. Now Amicus will show up on Google search🏆 The GC clicks on this and is instantly directed to the top trial lawyers in California with data analytics on their strike rate and other information about them including their contact details. Pretty neat huh?

Team Amicus is confident😉 that they are developing a product that will be easy to use and save lawyers´ time and money. They were inspired by the delight and positive feedback from potential clients during the user research. One goal is now is to generate an online presence where lawyers will be willing to sign up for the trial use of the Amicus. Creating trust 🥰 in something new is a huge challenge.

Thanks to the LISA Team and my Amicus team! 🐱‍🏍🥂 It was a winning journey of learning and collaboration.

Karla Schlaepfer

About LISA and SVDT (Silicon Valley Design Thinking Club)

LEAD Incubator and Startup Accelerator (LISA), founded by Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), LEAD participants for the LEAD Community is an ecosystem for Innovators and Startup founders. It is the first hybrid platform for incubating Ideas to Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and scaling ventures globally.

LISA empowers disruptive founders’ global community to create innovative solutions for the world’s pressing challenges and new opportunities.

SVDT.Club’s mission is to reduce startup failure rate and accelerate innovations through democratized knowledge of innovation methods, connecting innovators across the globe, and working with real practical cases of early entrepreneurs wherever they are.

The Design Thinking Club events help to explore techniques, reveal new methods and strategies to implement design thinking in practice within organizations and businesses. One of the best places for innovations, amazing ideas, entrepreneurship and design thinking is Stanford University.