Our Process

We rely on feedback loops at every
stage of the process to ensure that we’re
making data driven product decisions at each
critical point in your project.

This phase is defined by learning, testing and iterating until we’ve arrived at an understanding of why, how and what we are building.
We believe that functionality is the highest form of beauty and emphasize intuitive user experience on every project.
We operate as an agile team which follows a two week sprint schedule. We deliver a demo to you at the end of each sprint.
Our Process
“To spur legal innovation, our Toronto-based collaboration hub helps organizations adapt to global change.”

Sanjay Khanna, Futurist and Director of the White Space Collab at Baker McKenzie

Below is a transcription from a short interview we recently conducted with Collab director, Sanjay Khanna to learn a bit more about his past experience and current role at Baker McKenzie.

Tell us a bit about your background before assuming your role as Director of the WhiteSpace Collab and Futurist at Baker McKenzie.

I did a master’s degree in creative nonfiction writing at the University of British Columbia. And then I started a tech writing company. From there I went to Silicon Valley where I became a corporate communicator and entered areas like strategic research and scenario planning. So the work I did was initially at the intersection of business, culture and technology and then other trends came into my field of view including: globalization, environmental risks and climate change. I was applied some of that knowledge to help innovation groups at places like Yamaha Motor Corp. and Nokia look at the future of advanced automation and areas like mobility and gaming and play. So the work I did was interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary and through that work I could see how different organizations had different blind spots and based on macro trends could analyze which projects they ought to prioritize here and now.

How did you arrive in your current role at Baker McKenzie?

I taught a seminar series called “Adapting to the Future” at the University of Toronto’s Massey College. A future Baker Associate attended some of the seminars and later introduced me to Theo Ling, the Baker McKenzie partner who inspired the vision for Whitespace Legal Collab as a leading hub for multidisciplinary collaboration in strategy, law and technology. Based on our discussions, Theo felt we could bring complementary perspectives to help the legal profession achieve new milestones in collaboration-based innovation, particularly in areas such as data governance, which connect to the technological acceleration megatrend.

What are some of the major changes you’re seeing in the legal industry?

The legal industry is adapting to change both defensively and proactively. So defensive in terms of enabling in-house legal ops teams to advance their efficiency objectives. And proactive in terms of considering how their advice could be enabled by new solutions, some of which might be informed by data, enabling better business decisions and thereby creating value.

Do you have a specific ask of the legal industry?

In addition to the legal risks, I’d ask them to think about the global risks their organizations face at a time when everything we understood about stability in the postwar period is now going through a transformation. Geopolitics is changing; our societies are becoming more unequal; extreme weather and climate change are an issue; tech acceleration is affecting all of us both in our personal and our business domains. How does legal help mitigate risk and uncover opportunity? I would argue that we need to take a much wider view. And we need allies and people to step out of the comfort zone. To step outside of your comfort zone, Whitespace Legal Collab’s multidisciplinary collaboration network is your best friend.

You can find Sanjay Khanna:

Sanjay Khanna, Futurist and Director of the White Space Collab at Baker McKenzie was originally published in FoundationLab Digest on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Sanjay Khanna, Futurist and Director of the White Space Collab at Baker McKenzie

“To spur legal innovation, our Toronto-based collaboration hub helps organizations adapt to global change.”Sanjay Khanna, Futurist and...

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A conversation with Jonathan Patterson (JP), Managing Director at DWF Ventures.

Take us back to the beginning: when did you become interested in legal innovation?

So I think you could trace it back to pre the financial crisis when there was the opposite of innovation. Nothing much changed. That’s what piqued my interest. You know there was almost a fascination with how legal operated, particularly in the UK. So I just got a kind of mainstream business manager type role at that point. And I’d always scratch my head as to how interesting it was. You know you could just put prices up and demand wasn’t massively affected. There could be peaks and troughs in the economy and nothing seemed to happen to the legal industry. So my interest in innovation was honestly piqued by the complete lack of it.

What have you seen change in the legal industry since then?

It coincided with the change in regulation from a legal services perspective which opened up a lot of stuff here (UK). And we had a kind of change in buyer sophistication around 2010. I got the sense that if you weren’t investing in innovation, you probably weren’t going to be around forever. So I think it was a mix of all the macro factors coming together at the same time.

It definitely started with pricing and so I think anybody apart from that top tier of global firms or highly specialized businesses felt price pressure. I think that was what we felt first. It’s been overdone now, I think, but you had lots of firms talking about the fact that they were being asked to deliver more, from a legal services perspective with a smaller budget. It was that Richard Susskind tagline that gathered a lot of momentum — essentially it was people saying I’ve got no more, or sometimes less budget, than I had last year, but I’ve got to deliver more things with it.

How did you end up in your current role as Managing Director at DWF Ventures?

My original role was something called development director. The first year was spent looking at the market, looking at what clients were interested in and what new law products and services and companies were coming into the market — and making recommendations about what we should buy or what we should build, and what we should ignore. So it was a kind of a brand new role created at the time with a brand new strategy. The DWF strategy was one of significant acquisition and consolidation to get to a certain size and scale. We wanted to be different and the different came from trying to stand out from the conventional legal market with the slightly different approach and part of that was working out how much of this kind of new landscape we should be adopting.


How are you tackling innovation at DWF right now?

I was lucky to be given a fairly broad remit. So there wasn’t necessarily the kind of specific confinements of you know, go look at this category or this kind of model. We see two types of innovation. There’s innovation that will help others improve the kind of original business model by making it more efficient, make it work better, lower the costs in it and widen out the clients that could pay for it. We called that Engine 1. So that was kind of existing business model, sustainable innovation, classic marginal gain stuff. And then we also had another category which was Engine 2 — things that may well in the long run disrupt our existing business model and could well be the thing that is the law firm of the future.

Do you have a specific ask of the legal industry?

Be more collaborative and open to working together to find industry level client solutions.

Where you can find JP:

The Rise of DWF was originally published in FoundationLab Digest on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Rise of DWF

A conversation with Jonathan Patterson (JP), Managing Director at DWF Ventures.Take us back to the beginning:...

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Over past couple of years there has been a strong movement toward innovation and technology in the Wealth Management space. We have seen the rise of mobile investing applications backed by robo-advisors designed to attract a younger or more self controlling investor to AI’s utilize historical market data being leveraged inside of chatbots or driving investment strategies.

In fact, senior leadership of Accenture believes that the “Leading wealth firms will be the ones investing in an agile foundation that will allow them to both break new ground in advice offerings while rapidly evolving in response to investor demand.”

With the broad adoption of tech across the wealth management space we have identified a couple of key trends that will have the largest impact on the future of the industry:

Lower Barriers to Entry

One of those key trends is lowering the barrier of entry for users into the world of investing and wealth management. Start Up companies like Stash and Acorns leverage a strategy of collecting small recurring amounts of money in the hands of low cost robo-advisors to create a feeling of low risk in users and to quickly show value. All a user needs to do is sign up, link their account, and set their tolerance for portfolio aggressiveness. This allows users to go from non-investors to investors in a matter of a couple of minutes.

Millennials have become the top target of many of these efforts as the vast majority of this population has yet to engage in traditional investing activities. To understand how to bridge this gap we first have to take a look at the circumstances that lead us here. The reality is that the vast majority of millennials came out of college and into a job market that was ravaged by a major stock market crash combined with the highest percentage of debt holders in history. With these two factors combined it’s no wonder that millennials don’t have confidence in the markets as a reliable investment opportunity, or think they have captured enough value to see real returns through investing.

While the gap between who is investing and who is not, has yet to be materially influenced by the lack of millennial buy in, it certainly will over the coming years. This fear is so great that over fifty percent (50%) of industry leading CEO’s have identified reaching a millennial market as their core investment area for 2018. As a result we can expect an increased focus on capturing that market through new and innovative tools.

Building Loyalty

The second major trend we see in the wealth management community is an emerging importance on leveraging technology to build loyalty. In fact, a recent PwC survey titled Strategy and Global Wealth Management, it was found that less than 40% of investors are satisfied with a single source of wealth management and under 25% of investors would recommend their current wealth manager to a colleague. Fortunately, there is an opportunity for wealth management firms to build trust with their investors. That same PwC survey found that 70% of high net worth client viewed access to industry-leading technology as extremely important. As for ranking the importance of these tools in relation to a loyalty-driven experience, we see that same population rank a deep understanding and mastery of those technologies at or near the top. As one senior executive put it, “the adoption of integrated digital platforms and processes is imperative to delivering the level of service clients expect in today’s highly collaborative world.”

Both trends lead to the future of the wealth management industry being rooted in new products designed around the current and future users of wealth management services. Whether the goal is to attract new customers or to build confidence in existing customers, it is clear that innovation and demonstrating the power of the latest technology will play an integral role.

“Wealth organizations will continue to be rapidly changed by technology forces in the coming years. In order to lead the way in delivering hybrid advice at scale, now is the time to invest in harnessing innovation.” — Scott Reddel

What to Expect In Wealth Management in 2018 was originally published in FoundationLab Digest on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What to Expect In Wealth Management in 2018

Over past couple of years there has been a strong movement toward innovation and technology in...

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