In Spring 2017, FoundationLab began exploring a shift in our business from building digital products for internal use by certain practice groups, to focusing on client-facing products. We were calling this work the “productization of legal services”. As believers in user-centered design, we encouraged law firms to build in collaboration with their clients. Since then, we’ve successfully designed, developed, launched and continue to improve client facing, digital products with law firms and in-house teams.
There is no better example of this model than the HorizonIQ mobile app, co-created with Baker McKenzie and Visa. We were fortunate to find a partner in Baker McKenzie that believed in this model and that actively co-created products with clients through an innovation competition called the Innovation in Motion Awards. We were asked to join the Baker McKenzie Data Privacy team working with a group of Visa lawyers based in London, UK,, and worked closely with Baker McKenzie and Visa to help drive the design process forward.
The ever-evolving regulatory landscape is difficult to track, manage and action for corporate in-house teams of global organizations. There are many resources: law firm legal alerts, publishers and forums. But this abundance only compounds the problem, as lawyers are required to sift through large volumes of content to find the changing regulations most relevant to their company and specific practice area(s).
Staying on top of these changing updates is only part of the challenge. Once identified, the Visa team needed to quickly grasp the impact of the regulation on their business with support from a trusted source that understands the local context and Visa’s business.
As part of the Innovation in Motion Awards, we developed a prototyped solution concept that addressed that challenge. With just 10 weeks until submissions were due, we were determined to deliver more than just a concept.
With our understanding of the challenge and validation from Visa and Baker McKenzie stakeholders, we worked on early concepts and a preliminary product roadmap. Developing a product roadmap early in the design process creates alignment between stakeholders, design and development. It also helps demonstrate the iterative nature of products, and that building all desired features for an initial release will lead to an unsuccessful product.
Mobile First. Core to our initial solution was reducing (or at least not adding to) the clutter of Visa lawyers’ inboxes. We decided to move forward with a mobile-first solution. Rather than email updates, we could use native push notifications to alert lawyers of relevant regulatory updates.
The team also wanted to bring Visa lawyers “closer” to Baker’s local experts. Mobile as a medium is a lot more personal. And we would be able to create a channel of communication within the mobile app to achieve this closeness and enable local experts to add more value for Visa lawyers.
Most importantly, we needed to ensure Visa lawyers receive the most relevant regulatory updates for their specific practice. Two methods achieved optimal relevancy: (1) enabling users to filter content by a location and practice area, and (2) providing a mechanism for reporting back to Baker McKenzie how relevant a specific regulatory update was to them. The filters would act as a first line of defense against non-relevant articles. And the feedback loop would enable Baker McKenzie over time to improve the relevancy of content for Visa lawyers.
Before we discuss the product, it’s important to recognize the Baker McKenzie Whitespace Legal Collab founder Theo Ling, Partner, and Sanjay Khanna, Director, for believing in the value of complementing traditional legal services with digital products, and Visa’s willingness to participate in the design process and become an early product adopter, with special thanks to Stephen McCue, VP Legal and Director, Commercial Law, Regulatory and Compliance.
HorizonIQ is a mobile app that brings regulatory updates to in-house lawyers based on their preferences and delivers those updates right to their mobile device. Content is curated by local experts on the Baker McKenzie team to ensure that it is timely, relevant, and actionable. And lawyers using the app are able to contact Baker McKenzie’s local experts, directly when they wish to deepen their understanding of the regulatory update and take action for their company.
In just 10 weeks, we delivered a functional mobile app with a custom content management system as our team’s submission for the Innovation in Motion Awards. Baker McKenzie data privacy and Visa teams will confirm that the first release was far from perfect. But we were able to validate a core hypothesis: delivering a minimum viable product and iterating over time is an appropriate approach for the legal industry. It is, we believe, the antidote to the slow pace of innovation at most law firms and in-house departments.
We continue to improve the HorizonIQ mobile app’s user experience, and are working on new features for the app and the content management system. Visa has expanded the number of lawyers using HorizonIQ to receive regulatory updates. And we are working with Baker McKenzie to expand the offering beyond this initial use case and to more clients.