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A History of the Relativity Innovation Awards: Forging a Path in an Evolving World

Michael Obregon

It’s been a joy to recount the history of our Innovation Awards with you as we prepare to celebrate the program’s tenth anniversary next month right here in Chicago. Can you believe Relativity Fest is already less than six weeks away?

Before we continue our look back at the Innovation Awards, don’t forget that community voting is still open. Click here to see all of this year’s submissions and vote for your favorites. Voting closes August 25.

While we all anxiously wait to see who this year’s finalists will be, let’s take a look back at years 2019-2021 of the tech awards to see how the show and technology continued to evolve.

An Innovation Awards Institution: The Creativity at Kilpatrick Townsend

You can’t think about Innovation Awards nominees without thinking about Kilpatrick Townsend. Why? Because this group has made a submission every year since 2015!

They’ve tackled use cases such as automating reporting needs with LitSmart AutoReporter; changing how teams shipped data by building an application, LitSmart Shipping Tracker, that let users create shipping labels directly in the platform; and, this year, automatically hyperlinking documents in offline reports with LitSmart AutoLinker.

I think it’s fair to say that this team has seen it all and uses their unique expertise to build client-driven applications. In 2019, Kilpatrick had their first ever Enterprise category win with LitSmart AutoTasker. AutoTasker streamlines and automates manual data tasks such as indexing, running search terms reports, and so on.

On the value of winning, Andy Webb, e-discovery technology innovation manager at the firm, said: “The Innovation Awards proved to be a constant motivator to always keep improving. Winning the award helped validate the effort of those innovations and build confidence that what we're doing is worth the effort. The award definitely sparked a lot of great communication with other law firms, clients, and service providers who all saw value in what the application brought to the table.”

Innovating in a Strange World

I don’t even have to explain it: obviously 2020 kicked off a strange time. The world was in the midst of a pandemic, but that didn’t mean it stopped running. This community didn’t stop either. Deadlines were still expected, though the way we worked changed. We had to work better. We had to work smarter. We asked more from our technology and our 2020 Community Choice winner, Sky Discovery, exemplified that with their application Sky Photo Search.

Sky Photo Search utilizes machine learning and AI to identify the content found in photos. This lets teams identify and analyze various document types, such as handwritten documents or construction photos, to locate key information. Jeff Jarrett, director of innovation at Sky Discovery, shared that the team has a clear technology vision that includes automating baseline e-discovery needs in order to build high-level custom solutions.

By Relativity Fest 2021, the world was trying to get back to normal—but it was clear that things had changed. Remote or hybrid work was the new norm and teams had to adjust. Not only were we on the lookout for standing desks and comfortable chairs, but we also continued to lean on our technology to connect us, no matter where we worked.

Enter our 2021 Solution Provider winner: JND with Virtual Helpdesk. Virtual Helpdesk bridged a gap where synergies between attorneys and lit support teams had been disrupted. The application created a simple way to communicate within Relativity. With integrated live chat, screen sharing capabilities, and a support ticketing system, Virtual Helpdesk filled the need for communication and collaboration tools.

Looking back at the win, JND Vice President of eDiscovery and Analytics Ben Sexton shared: “Change is a constant in e-discovery, and as a service provider, being agile is paramount to delivering top-level services for our clients. We listen closely to clients, and continuously evolve our technology and workflows to ensure that they have the best tools and solutions in the market. We were honored to win an Innovation Award for JND Virtual Helpdesk in 2021, a Relativity application designed to connect remote teams and promote collaboration within RelativityOne. We're grateful to the e-discovery community for the recognition and are inspired to continue innovating our platform and services."

Custom Apps: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

That’s a wrap for the first eight years of the technology categories of the Relativity Innovation Awards! Can you believe everything we’ve covered so far?

And we’re not done yet! Our next post in this series will take a look back at our 2022 winners and share who this year’s finalists are.

Don’t forget: there’s still time to vote for your favorite 2023 submissions. And if you want to catch the show live, registration for Relativity Fest is still open.

Help Choose our 2023 Innovation Awards Winners

Michael Obregon is a senior pre-sales engineer at Relativity.