Ensuring Innovation Is More Than Lip Service

There is a lot of talk about “innovation” or “disruption” especially when conversation turns to software. It’s no secret why everyone wants to be branded “innovative:” in a world of Moore’s Law, no one wants to be last year’s model. However, in the race to keep up, it’s easy to forget what innovation means. Inherent in the word is not just the idea of novelty, but also of utility and of commitment.

To claim to be “innovative,” companies and products must go beyond “new.” They must also:

1) Have Unique Ideas

Innovation is about more than just making incremental improvements; each advance should be part of a larger vision. It’s the difference between a marginal improvement, like slightly better fuel economy on your car, and a new way to approach the problem, like a Tesla Model S. That is not to say that all changes need to be rocket blasts; updates that begin as small, iterative improvements may result in a product that is more responsive to user needs. The distinction is that true innovation involves abstracting a problem or looking at it in a new light. In the ediscovery space, this can mean changing workflows or shaking up the EDRM model. Innovative legal products make an impact on the industry.

2) Make Useful Changes

Innovation should solve real, pervasive problems for end users. Releasing a succession of novel functions is not sufficient: they must also address pain points. Des Traynor Innovation ChartFor instance, if many law firms struggle with exhibits for teleconference depositions, then providing that service may be more useful that incrementally improving an existing product. As this chart demonstrates, good products improve the things done most often by the most users. When it comes to ediscovery, updates need to substantively improve the litigation process to be truly innovative.

3) Update Frequently

Innovation entails ongoing improvements, not maintenance of a stale product. Releasing an initial idea into an industry doesn’t remove the need for further progress. Leading the way on polaroids didn’t save Kodak from being left behind when digital photography exploded. In legal technology, this means that being a legacy tool does not – by itself – make you a market leader today. New technologies become available every day, and legal tools need to match this cadence of change, so lawyers can leverage the advances. Innovation doesn’t sleep.

There is one corollary to these definitions of innovation: transparency. It is always difficult to judge oneself fairly. Public scrutiny of all claims of innovation results in a more innovative industry, which means better outcomes for all.

In the interest of putting our money where our blog words are, we’ve summarized the past three and a half years of Everlaw product updates. The changes listed can be evaluated for uniqueness, and the dates can help gauge update frequency. Industry analysts and product users would be the best arbiters of the utility of these features. We’re looking forward to your feedback!

Release DatePrincipal Release Changes
12/12/2016Added Self-Serve Uploads
Added Self-Serve Productions
Improved Search Term Reports (speed and use)
Improved StoryBuilder Chronology
8/27/2016Added Search Term Reports
Improved Email Threading
Added Search for Credit Card Numbers
Improved Case Settings and Analytics Interfaces
Added Keyboard Shortcut
Improved File Format Searching
7/22/2016Added Data Sharing Tool
Improved Coding Presets
Improved Search Preview
Added Null Metadata Search
Improved Document Family View
Improved Canonical Metadata
Improved Assignment Transparency
Added “Message All” in Messaging
5/13/2016Improved Predictive Coding
Improved Two-Factor Authentication
Improved Production Mode
Added Australian Bates/Doc ID Support
4/23/2016Added Unitization
Added Search by Highlight Color
Improved Related Document Labeling
Added Print Single Page
Improved Zoom Settings on Natives
Added End Bates Column
Added Search for Partial Social Security Numbers
3/14/2016Added Canonical Metadata
12/18/2015Improved Assignments
Added Case Size Data
Added Organizations
10/29/2015Added StoryBuilder© Chronology
08/28/2015Improved Text Redaction
Added PII Highlighting
Added Two-Factor Authentication
08/14/2015Added Homepage Compact View
Added Child Document Removal
Added In-Tool Message Exporting
Added Random Subset Generation
Improved Help Center
06/26/2015Improved Deduplication
Improved Text Redaction
Improved Image Interactivity
05/01/2015Added Assignment Wizard
04/02/2015Added Foreign Language Detection and Translation
Improved Predictive Coding
Improved StoryBuilder© Outlines
Improved Batch Updates
01/26/2015Added ‘Code as Previous’ Function
Redesigned User Interface
01/13/2015Added Automatic Deduplication
Improved Audio and Video Viewer
10/03/2014Added Custom In-Browser Spreadsheet Viewer
Added Predictive Coding
Improved Native Viewer
09/10/2014Added Help Video Tutorials
Added Support for More Special Characters
Improved Document Conflict Interface
Improved Image Loading Speed
Improved Recent Case Activity Viewer
07/18/2014Added Reviewer QA
Added Search by Document Type
Improved Keyboard Shortcuts
Improved Results Table
Improved User Profiles
06/17/2014Added Document Previews
Added Viewership Information
Improved Hit Highlighting
04/23/2014Added Hit Highlighting
Improved Bates Search Speed
Improved Context Panel
Improved StoryBuilder© Outlines
Improved Text Viewer
Improved User Interface
03/06/2014Added Context Panel
Added Full Document Export
01/24/2014Added StoryBuilder© Outlines
Improved Search Interface
11/22/2013Added Admin-Controlled User Groups
Added Email Threading
10/25/2013Added Admin-Controlled Expert Folders
Added User Creation
Improved User Interface
09/11/2013Added Email Messaging
Improved Review Table
Improved Search and Sort Speed
08/16/2013Added Document Grouping
Added User Profiles
Improved PDF Exports
Improved Speed
06/21/2013Added Auto-Complete for Metadata Searches
Added Panel Resizing
Improved Navigation
05/29/2013Added Support for Touch Devices
Added Real-Time Activity View
05/08/2013Added Coding Rules
Added Note Templates
Added User Guides
Improved Review Window
04/12/2013Added Document Review Assignment
Added Email Messaging
Improved Document Sharing
02/22/2013Added Batch Content Searches
Added Multi-Batch Actions
Improved Deduplication
Improved Document Switching Speed
Improved Exporting
Improved Highlighting
Improved Notes Formatting
Improved Tag Tables
09/10/2012Added Batch Notes and Undo
Added Document Duplication Search
Added Metadata Field Editing
07/13/2012Improved Case Analytics
05/26/2012Added Review History
Added Search Preview
Improved Search Interface
03/23/2012Improved Batch Actions
Improved Notes and Highlighting
03/05/2012Improved Batch Actions
Improved Review Table
Improved Search
Improved Tagging
Improved User Interface
12/14/2011Added Batch Actions
11/22/2011Added Support for Mobile Devices
11/09/2011Added Firefox Browser Bug Fix
Added Task Manager
Improved Tags
Improved User Interface
10/13/2011Added In-Browser Native Viewer
Added Keyboard Shortcuts
06/29/2011Improved Help Features
06/05/2011Added Download Capabilities
Added Support for IE 9
Improved Coding and Tagging
Improved Results Table
Improved User Interface