Advice from the 2019 Innovation Award Winners to 2020 Applicants

by McKenna Brown on June 17, 2020

Community , Professional Development

The Innovation Awards at Relativity Fest 2019, like every year, spotlighted the ingenious applications developed by our customers and partners. But 2019’s ceremony was really a big step up.

There was that epic opening video—remember that?—and the debut of, ahem, a certain dancing award known as Tropheo. And there was a diverse nominee pool of creative individuals and organizations.

The technology category celebrated organizations that used Relativity in creative ways—and two of the three winners were from Australia. Recapping our tech winners for 2019:

  • Clayton Utz was tasked with performing due diligence on 3,500 properties, so they developed AcquiRE, which enabled them to implement integrations that analyzed assets and tenant agreements and track the progress of each land acquisition.
  • Fellow Australian firm icourts developed Go X, an iPad app that allows users to review, code, highlight, and redact on the go.
  • Kilpatrick Townsend won for LitSmart AutoTasker, which automates post-data load steps, including index builds, STRs, and field updates.

Since submissions for the 2020 Innovation Awards are now open, we wanted to hear from the 2019 winners. We spoke with those three three winning organizations from the 2019 technology categories to find out what it’s like to win, how they prepared their submissions, and what advice they had for first-time applicants.

On how it felt to win

Andy Webb, Kilpatrick Townsend, Best Innovation: Law Firm or Corporation: I'll be honest, I was pretty shocked. When I came onto the stage to accept the award, I was speechless. I knew we weren't alone in trying to solve some of these problems and gaps in our workflows, especially when, during the keynote, Relativity announced they were building similar features into RelativityOne. That was validation that we were on the right track with what we were developing.

Rebecca Grant, icourts, Best Innovation: Solution Provider: We were incredibly excited to have our achievements recognized. Our company mantra is “change what’s possible,” and we really try to embody that value. We are always looking at industry trends and new technology to help solve our client’s sticky points or tedious tasks in their workflows, with a big focus on mobility and flexibility for users. And it was great to see so many other Australians up on the stage last year!

Paul Fontanot, Clayton Utz, Best Innovation: Community Choice: We were thrilled to win Best Innovation: Community Choice Award from an impressive global field of finalists. Our Forensic & Technology Services (FTS) team put a lot of hard work into developing the AcquiRE tool, which was custom-built using Relativity APIs. To see that hard work recognized by our peers was particularly satisfying.

On the value of winning an Innovation Award

Rebecca: Winning the Innovation Award shone a light not just on the application, Go, but also our innovative way of working at icourts. We have had a lot of interest from new and existing clients in ways we can support them using technology.

Andy: Having the Innovation Award contest proved to be 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.

Paul: This is the second year in a row that we have won this particular award, and it's fantastic international and local recognition for us. It's demonstrated the ability and agility of the Clayton Utz FTS team to develop tailored, smart solutions to actual client problems, and it has given us a competitive edge when it comes to attracting talent as well as differentiating CU in the market.

On the process of creating an award submission

Andy: We typically hold a couple innovation sessions each year, to go over areas we want to target or just spitball ideas of workflows we could improve upon. For this app, we had already held our normal session and had a few ideas we were kicking around but couldn't quite pinpoint what we wanted to focus on. Talking with a coworker in the hall one day, we started down the path of what ultimately became our submission.

Once the application was developed and tested, we deployed it to our environment to start gathering metrics and feedback. From this point, we started to write up our submission and innovation description. We talked with Relativity and their great team to get all the material needed for submission. The resources and support they provided were fantastic!

Paul: We had a few potential innovative submissions to make for 2019, and so we ran an internal process to vote for the best innovative product/tool that we felt would best demonstrate our capabilities for this award. AcquiRE is just one of a few innovative solutions we developed in 2019.

On their favorite part of the Innovation Awards experience

Rebecca: The man-sized award dancing on the stage. No, just kidding! It was great that Relativity looked beyond the big players and identified boutique legal technology providers doing great work from around the world.

Andy: This was the first year that I've presented the firm's submission as a finalist and didn't quite know what to expect. I enjoyed the lighting-round format for discussing the product and learning about the other innovations. It was a very casual and approachable format that offered the ability to talk with others who had similar goals and ideas for innovations.

Paul: As the Community Choice Award winner, we most value the recognition from our peers within the e-discovery community.

On their advice for applicants this year

Paul: Ensure your solution is innovative and competitive—and really convey in your award nomination the passion your people have for the solution they've developed. Innovation is really about people rather than technology.

Rebecca: Look at the bigger picture and solve that problem. Challenge the norm and dare to be different. Make sure your innovation solves real-world problems for people working in the legal or legal tech industry.

Andy: If you're still developing an idea, focus on the areas in which you have a need. The best way to get buy-in for a project is to show the need. Whether we make it as a finalist or even win, as long as it solved a problem our team had and makes us more efficient, that's the ultimate goal.

On whether they plan to submit to the 2020 awards

Rebecca: Definitely. We are always evolving new ideas and technologies, and the Innovation Awards are a great opportunity to showcase that work.

Paul: As winners for two years running, we won't miss an opportunity to participate again this year. Anyone who has developed a unique tool and is looking to make their mark as a leading e-discovery provider should participate in Relativity Fest and the Innovation Awards. It is a fantastic opportunity to be recognized globally for your creativity, innovation, and leadership.

Andy: We've been working on several projects that might become an entry this year. We should definitely have a submission, and hopefully continue our tradition of innovation with Relativity.

McKenna Brown is a member of the marketing team at Relativity, specializing in content development.

 

Apply and Nominate for the 2020 Innovation Awards

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