Communication and coordination. I honestly didn’t think this would be the topic I would be writing about coming out of Vegas and Chicago. Heading in I thought the takeaway would surely be related to the revelation of practical use-cases for blockchain, or the latest and greatest machine learning AI, or innovation, innovation, innovation. But here we are – my naivety exposed. While tech, of course, played a prominent role in both conferences, the evolution of our collective discourse around communication and coordination was both startling and inspiring. To me, at least, this was the key takeaway shared between both of these fantastically organized and executed events, despite the social experiment that was the hotel elevators at the Radisson Blu. What do social norms dictate when you enter from one side and exit the other? Which way do you face?
I digress, back to the topic at hand…
There has, for many years been a level of mutual agreement amongst corporate legal, outside counsel, and service providers on the importance of maintaining open lines of communication. With that said, the tone at this year’s conferences felt quite different. There was a shared and resounding recognition that there are now channels and opportunities for the business side of legal to be an equal part of the process. As one of many examples, during their day 1 standing room only session at P3 Toby Brown, Ashley Crawford, and Stuart Dodds emphasized (in much more eloquent terms than my writing can do justice) that it is imperative that we continue to, for lack of a better metaphor on my part, complete the square. I’ve enlisted all of my artistic might to illustrate this discussion below:
Ryan McClead and I hosted two sessions, one at each conference, where we were able to see the above in action. Because building expert systems in Neota Logic is generally the easiest part of building an automation solution, we chose to focus our sessions on standardizing an approach to knowledge engineering a specific challenge, rather than spend the time demoing the technology. Part design-thinking, part project management, part mini-hackathon, the workshop sessions allowed attendees to interact with peers from all sides of the equation to map out solutions and to figure out how Neota fit those equations. The level of engagement and openness to discuss and build was incredible to watch – and we hope that all have carried that excitement and creative thinking back to their day-to-day.
This, I suppose, brings us back to the challenge of making sure we as an industry do not lose focus or momentum post-conference. I hope that all will continue to recognize this unique opportunity in front of us, to collectively design, build, and in many cases automate best practices and standards. People, process, technology finally coming together to influence through collaboration.