The Power of Data Storytelling: Achieving Greater Data-Literacy in The Legal Space

In Episode 43 of MING Labs’ podcast Lost In Transformation, we talk to Michelle Mahoney, Executive Director of Innovation at King & Wood Mallesons in Australia.

Listen to this episode to learn all about the changing innovation landscape in the legal space directly from a female thought leader who’s driving transformation in a leading law firm. Find out what role storytelling and data-literacy play, and how Michelle uses ‘beans’ to nudge behavioral change.

3 Main Takeaways From This Episode

01Let Data Storytelling speak for the development of your transformation initiatives. “To really transform an organization, it’s not overnight,” Michelle points out. “So data is a critical tool to keep you sane and to show the organization your progress and to create momentum. I think it’s an incredible way to tell your story, to use hard evidence and to let the storytelling really bring out your achievements.” Before doing experiments to test your innovation initiatives, think about what data you need to collect. By designing this data collection methodology, you define what success looks like for your initiative, how you see whether or not you’ve done it right, etc.

“For every initiative we do the data design piece as well as the initiative. And then we create a baseline before we start, and then we actually gather and share that data.” Regularly monitoring the collected data, Michelle advises to get really granular when it comes to tracking each initiative to understand if you’re on the right track. “Every initiative gets assessed, and make sure that we’re getting week-in, week-out progress along the journey. And we share that very publicly and for our stakeholders.” (Listen from 17:45)

02Achieve greater levels of data-literacy by unlocking systemic blockers. How do you create greater data-literacy? “It takes a village,” laughs Michelle. Besides having a great team, she advises to take enough time to first really understand systemic blockers within the company. “We then designed a program that actually addresses those blockers. So we rolled those up into nine themes. […] And every one of the initiatives, of which we have over 25 that we’ve delivered today, responds to the three key behaviors we’re trying to drive. And those three key behaviors not surprisingly all unlock our blockers.”

“So for us, it’s a series of things that roll into each other.” With an approach that focuses on solving the core problems, Michelle suggests to take those systemic blockers and designs solutions that directly negate them, using behaviors that cause this change to happen. “That’s our overall model. It was done certainly through a significant amount of design and a number of interventions. We had four key interventions and then a series of initiatives under those.” (Listen from 13:29)

03Unleash the superpower of your innovation initiatives: Combine ‘beans’ to accelerate behavorial change. “What I would highlight is: the devil is in the details,” reminds Michelle. “What I’ve found has really cut through is each of our initiatives builds or reinforces one another.” That means it’s important to use techniques that keep highlighting the detailed values of your initiatives, making them fun, engaging, and in that way sustain people’s interest. Only then does it become easier to drive change in people’s behavior.

“You really need to have a portfolio of activities. We would call them ‘beans’. And they are a series of activities, they’re artifacts, they’re behavior enablers, they’re really nudging people.” By bringing up the same message over and over, you achieve that sense of predictability and a certain expectation about your initiatives, which are really important aspects in creating behavioral change. “Each one of our initiatives on their own is great. I think the superpower is when you bring them together. I think that’s what’s really caused the big shift for us.” (Listen from 23:13)

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