There's been a lot of debate recently about how innovative law firms are (they're not, in case you're wondering). This article about Pret A Manger is a great read for anyone who wants to understand exactly what innovation is and how it should be done properly.
Some key lessons for law firms (and anyone else in fact) that come out of it:
- Innovation has to be part of your DNA. You can't just decide to be innovative. Pret splits the company between 'Best of Pret', which keeps the things they do well and 'Pioneering Pret', which looks at innovation
- There need to be guidelines to operate within. Any new ideas have to fit in with key Pret guidelines, such as price barriers, ease of production and the customer journey
- Don't make a big song and dance about it. Rather than tell everyone how innovative they are (like law firms do), Pret shows them by regularly launching new products as the normal course of business in an understated way
And Pret A Manger aren't doing to badly, are they?
Every couple of months, a new product is introduced into stores. The company recognises that tastes and health concerns are changing rapidly, and it is quick to react to new trends, testing them for broad appeal and repurposing them for its customers. Each innovation has to fulfil Pret’s uncompromising criteria, something which puts considerable constraints on what it can sell. A new product has to be solidly profitable while fitting within what is considered an acceptable price by the company: under £5. It must be simple enough to be assembled on-site with natural, fresh ingredients, or through a supplier that can work to Pret’s quality standards and survive it’s estimated 70% markup. Finally, customers must be able to pick it up and leave quickly