B&D Lawyers and Staff Advance Efforts in Innovation with Design Thinking “Hackathon”

Spurred by the legal industry’s increasing focus on innovation, opportunities to adopt new practices and approaches to work accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and an ongoing focus on delivering more value to clients, Beveridge & Diamond recently completed another installment of a design thinking hackathon as one way to build out space for innovation at the firm. Dubbed “Project Moonshot,” the goals of the two-part hackathon were to:

  1. Teach participants how to apply design thinking to their work and support to clients.
  2. Identify innovative solutions to firm business and client challenges using design thinking and other creative problem-solving principles.
  3. Create testable prototypes of the solutions.

“Project Moonshot prompted me to carve out time for creative thinking and considering innovation and client value in new ways. I loved  how the design thinking process led me to new perspectives and ideas, and ultimately solutions, that I may not otherwise have identified,” said Firmwide Managing Principal and Project Moonshot participant Kathy Szmuszkovicz.

During Project Moonshot, participants tackled tough internal challenges on a tight timeline using design thinking and other creative problem-solving principles. Challenges centered on leadership training, recruiting and onboarding new team members, and new ways to deliver legal knowledge and work product to clients. While the firm continues to evaluate how to roll out innovations from the hackathon, one early outcome is the more than 20 of lawyers and staff who are now trained to deploy design thinking in service of day-to-day business processes and client service. We think this will have a positive impact on our ability to develop and roll out innovations for the firm and clients.

“Before learning more about design thinking in business school, I assumed it was only applicable to tech or manufacturing companies. In fact, the legal industry is ripe for this type of innovative thinking, and I’ve found it rewarding to see how Project Moonshot has started to change how we approach problem-solving at B&D,” said Jean Brinker, Director of Business Development & Marketing Operations, who helped lead the workshops.

To facilitate Project Moonshot, B&D enlisted Spicebox Collective whose design strategists guided participants through the creative problem-solving process using a combination of asynchronous and live lectures, group workshops and discussions, and independent work.

“In the future, B&D envisions engaging clients in similar design thinking workshops. In the meantime, we’ve now trained a subset of firm employees to use design thinking in their work with clients,” said Paula Schauwecker, B&D Principal and Chief Talent Officer.