Next week I will be taking part in the event Nojember by Open Justice and hosted by Ulegalize in Charleroi Belgium. I will be taking part on Atelier Tech (Room 5 at 11:30 ) and the title of the workshop is Culture, practices and tools of the Digital Transformation of the Belgian Justice System.
I have been collaborating with Open Justice for a couple of years. They are, in my humble opinion, perfectly suited to talk about this because they are an example of an organization that is “digital”. And I will explain why I think they are “digital” in this blog post 🔑.
The question to define first is… What is a digital organization🤌? Digital is a way of doing things in our times of disruption(VUCA times or the Exponential Age). Digital about is applying the culture, practices, processes and technology of the Internet era to respond to people’s raised expectations.(Tom Loosemore)
Raised expectations? Private companies (and startups are specially good at this) are very fast adapting to digital and placing the needs of the users at the center. Users are getting used to excellent experiences in digital environments so they are going to be more and more demanding and pushing on public services (like a justice system) to adapt to those high standards.
So…In what ways is Open Justice a digital organization?
Open Justice is “Agile” in the way they start and move forward projects
“Agile” promotes short production cycles (sprints): when they have an idea of a project they are already making a small component, releasing it and testing early. This way they wont spend too much time making something that they quickly find out that is not useful, or that it has already been done.
Short term production processes with concrete objectives to build something big
OJ quickly release this small component to everybody inside and outside (via social networs) (even it’s not yet perfect) to gather people in the community who want to be involved.
Is your leadership aware of whatever is going to disrupt your sector?👓
Are you listening to what is happening outside your organization? 🐦 Open Justice has a #random channel in slack (intra company collaboration tool) in which community members share things that they find interesting , new tools, project or actors that are working in the same area as they work.
Break your “Bubbles”
Do you have a diverse network? 🐦🐒🦓 This is helpful for enlarged listening capabilities and this is something that clearly legal companies are strongly lagging behind. Lawyers tend to like to work with people that speak the same language. This often translate with lawyers only working or hiring other lawyers. This must change!
Being Digital means being open to re-examine (rethinking) your entire way of doing business.
3 things you could be thinking when thinking about your business model:
* Change work process. In many cases this rethinking involves crafting web applications that makes your services easier for you and better/faster for your customers —- optimize procedures and processes: become more competitive. reduce costs. Making it really easy to deal with government (do the hard work to make it simple), safely and securely.
* New complementary activities: La Poste in France is thinking about suggesting ensurance companies that their Postman can verify sinister, and grab judiciary declarations from people at their homes.
* Diversify: Start something completely new. In any case is the customer who will validate this value proposition. Do something completely different. Amazon is an example of that. 🗺️
Digital network business model
In order to do this Business model rethinking👆 Instead of asking what can I do for my clients I could rather ask What can my clients do for me? Your clients are people with capacities and you can involve them in doing tasks that may be taking your time and that they can do instead.
If you want them to engage in participation processes with you they need to believe in the larger vision. They need to believe in your why.
Open Justice has a clear vision and a clear “why”. And thanks to that , they get many people joining their monthly “Meetups”. Those participants they clearly want to help and sometimes they do amazing thing like adding lines of code or paying for lunch in our events🍲.
A digital mind institutionalizes cross-functional collaboration,
Cross-functional collaboration: Teams with different functions (Finances, Comms, legal operations, logistics) must improve the way they communicate.
Important to be transparent (open by default):
Data, information and knowledge should be shared as widely as possible within the Team👆 unless there are legal requirements or clear justifications for access to be restricted.
Tools that help for that
Use of digital tools to share info, engagement, excitement,enthusiasm to share what you know with others. What are you doing today? What are you working on? Share it on those places where informal discussions happen? Slack, Microsoft Teams, Matrix. In Open Justice’s Slack there is always someone saying hi and sharing what they are doing today.
Rethink your hierarchies
You have hierarchies and they are helpful sometimes: finding out who takes a decision on a hierarchical organization it is pretty straight forward. You need to find the person with an allocated company inside the organigram: if this person cannot decide he will pass the responsibility to the upper level.
From recent years another more agile and organic system for taking decision is taking place inside people’s organizations. Holacracy, Organisation Liberee, Meritocracy is the one we are going to talk today because it is a way to flexible hierarchy and it can be put in practice as of today.
Meritocracy: those people who have earned peers respect over time drive decisions: everyone has the right to speak and access to the kinds of tools that ensure your voice is heard but not everyone is listened to equally.To become a leader in a meritocracy you need to attract followers first, not the other way around, First title then followers.
In Open Justice forums there is a say: code talk. Those that produce better code or are better at finding solutions to bugs they are the one who earn inmost influence. The path is that of quality over quantity.
If you are high in hierarchy in an organization the key for you is to identify those “de facto” leaders and get them to support your decisions.
A digital organization is one that understands the value of the data they are managing and generating.
One of the big opportunity coming from this, is a better knowledge about your client. In order to be more relevant your are going to need to be more targeted. You are going to need to be able to be able to capture, organize and understand all this data in order to turn it into information about the needs of your client at the right time and in a very targeted way.
Technology: APIS are everywhere
A smart use of technology plays an essential role in the digital transformation process
What is happening is that computers are getting more powerful. The costs of data storage are going down and also the costs of developing software.
Sometimes this innovation does not need to come from your own team. But you can look for resources outside: you put your data , applications or devices outside and open it up to teams outside to improve it. You can create or join an application network and let others to build on top.
A good example of how open justice is using technology is by creating an API, An API is a set of code that has been written to ensure interoperability with other systems. Omdat has an API at the core, this means that any outside developper can use the case law database from OMdat and create a different web app with this data.
People: Never put them last 🙂
The flexible workspace
Trust your people to work wherever they want and give them resources and facilities to excel.
The human workspace
Define and communicate a culture inside your team that is based on common values.
In this article I wanted to point out some areas organizations may be working on if they would like to become more digitally mature. I am really looking forward to the atelier to discuss these and other points with participants. I will be taking part on Atelier Tech (Room 5 at 11:30 ) and the title of the workshop is Culture, practices and tools of the Digital Transformation of the Belgian Justice System. Don’t hesitate to come and say Hi😀✋.