The secret of our time is the ability to connect to different processes and find points of intersection. Recently, I have focused mainly on investment projects involving technology, but the legal business, which has been key for me for a long time, also remains in focus. I follow trends and innovations in this area, and try to keep my hand on the pulse of events. One example is the IBA 2018 conference, which took place in the first half of October in Rome.
The conference is an intensive exchange of opinions of specialists from all over the world. Taking place over days, it reflects on how the industry is developing, what barriers there are and how to eliminate them. Generally, to find points of potential growth and direct forces there.
What becomes clear from these events is the ambivalence of Ukraine’s position in global processes. On the one hand, the recognition effect works: most of the issues under discussion are relevant to our context. On the other hand, the country’s remoteness from influence on international processes is particularly acute. Trends are set and developed in other places, and we can only follow them and adapt.
However, I do not look at this situation from the point of view of pessimism. Far from it. I believe that realising the situation is already a step towards correcting it. If we purposefully follow trends, applying the most appropriate and relevant solutions, then efficiency will increase over time, followed by integration into the world community. There were many positive moments at the conference but one big one was a large number of Ukrainian lawyers among the participants. The fact that colleagues are following and joining in discussions already speaks volumes.
As for the trends themselves, it is worth saying that the main direction of the conference included visualising the future. Each existing trend (both negative and positive) was projected from several horizons in order to understand how it might change the industry and what needs to be done to correct these changes now. One of the most dangerous challenges is to reduce the outflow of young talent in law.
Stephen Martin, a lawyer at the American architectural and design company Gensler, formulated the question as directly as possible: “Why do you think young lawyers are less interested in working in a law firm?” The answer is, of course, debatable, but it can be described as follows. Millennials need mentoring, support, teamwork, a relaxed atmosphere for concentration, and new technology.
Technology, of course, was a cornerstone of the whole event. There is a request from customers, and an expectation of potential employees. Also market participants themselves understand that it is now extremely risky to delay any updates. If given an ultimatum: update or disappear.
Another issue under discussion is work infrastructure. It would seem that office design is not the most crucial detail, but it turns out that everything is much more complicated. The structure of coworking is gaining momentum. And this is not just about the arrangement of chairs and the absence of walls, but about more complete mobility and the ability to interact and exchange ideas with people from different fields and occupations. Bet on individuality and the disclosure of talents of everyone. The “one size fits all” principle no longer works.
The most successful workspaces will be designed to offer more than just space – they will contribute to the development of a lifestyle by the formula: people’s experience + diversity and choice = lifestyle. At the same time, the main force driving the change in structure is again technology and its ability to be more flexible, more autonomous, but always in touch. The workplace is no longer just a place to perform work duties. If we want employees to think creatively, then the space itself should inspire them. And not just drawings on the walls or cool furniture, but structurally – so that the interaction between people with different experiences and ideas is enhanced.
Thus, the main task of the industry today is to change faster than trends, so as not to catch up, but to beat them. And for Ukraine it is especially important. Only by being one step ahead can we gain a competitive advantage that ensures our success in the future.