Excerpt from Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations, by Dennis Kennedy.

A greatly-underused resource for innovation programs is the advisory board. Advisory boards are a group of experts who provide advice, industry and customer knowledge, market awareness, subject matter expertise, and the like. They can work as sounding boards, a second pair of eyes, or get even more involved in strategic planning. They can also use their channels to publicize what you are doing. Most important, they open up their own personal networks to you and make key introductions.

Advisory boards can be made up of internal experts, external experts, or a combination of both. I favor the combination approach, ideally with a majority of external experts covering a wide range of key areas. Do not forget the voice of the customer.

You might meet monthly or quarterly by conference call (audio or video) and have at least one in-person meeting per year. Advisory board members are generally compensated, but there are many different ways in which this is done.

You are likely to consider advisory boards if you have a large or well-established program. However, an advisory board might provide even more value at the start of a new program or if you are contemplating a major change in direction or strategy.

For many people, just being asked to be on an advisory board is flattering. They will be receptive or let you know if they have conflicts and recommend others to serve in their places. In some cases, strategically adding an expert to your advisory board first might keep a competitor from adding that expert to their advisory board.

Advisory boards are under-utilized at this point, but offer the potential of first-mover and other advantages, especially from their industry knowledge and connections.

PRO TIP: Consider the creation of a small advisory board of internal and external experts as part of your pitch for your program or as part of your request for what you will need to take on the program.

Dan Packel has written a great new article about recent developments in law firms using external advisory boards called “Are Law Firms Catching On To Value of Outside Perspectives?” (might be behind a subscription wall). I recommend it highly (and it has some quotes from me).

Contact me if you want to learn more about the benefits of advisory boards or my availability to serve on an advisory board for your law department or law firm.

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]

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