How I Did It: A Problem-Solving Blog Post Series: Part One

By Casey Rauschenberg posted 03-29-2024 13:01


Please enjoy this blog co-authored by Casey Rauschenberg, Experience Manager, Frost Brown Todd LLP and Cindy Bare, Chief Data and Innovation Officer, Frost Brown Todd LLP.

The Amazing Race: FBT’s Innovative Journey to Better Data

After Frost Brown Todd’s leadership created a new Data & Innovation team in 2022, one of our first initiatives was to implement an experience management database. We rolled out Foundation in a record-setting 50 days, piloting it with our Marketing & BD teams. We started with no experience data at all, but quickly collected over 1000 rich descriptions, 200 trials, 300 bond deals, and connected an external feed for better litigation data. We worked with three practice groups motivated to have better data and lawyers began profiling matters in Foundation for the first time. 

We created a strong sponsor partnership by demonstrating how Foundation supported our client work, industry focus, and overall firm strategy. We presented frequently to practice groups and industry teams. Our lawyer pilots were off to a great start, BD and Marketing became power users, and other administrative departments also began finding value in the new experience platform. But we had a problem. 

With the level of change management required for a new firm-wide technology like Foundation and limited resources, how could we quickly populate the platform with a critical mass of data to make it a truly valuable resource with a clear tie to firm strategy? And how could we provide a hands-on introduction to Foundation to 1000 professionals most effectively? 

We decided to host a firm-wide “data week” focused on Foundation. If we were able to profile just the top one percent of our experience, about 600 matters, searching and reporting in Foundation would be greatly enhanced. The event would improve data literacy and reinforce that we each play a role in developing better data. We also wanted to make data fun and bring the firm together to reach a common goal.

We shared these goals with our Marketing team, and the FBT Amazing Race was born! Four teams, made up of lawyers and business professionals, would virtually race across the globe to destinations with an FBT connection. Lawyers and business professionals could participate by completing matter surveys in Foundation or a scavenger hunt to learn more about the system. Together we created branding and a campaign to build context, knowledge, and interest leading up to the event. We emailed an Amazing Race teaser graphic and put suspense building posters in the offices. A hype video created excitement and explained the basics of the upcoming race.

A race guide, new intranet site, and firmwide email kicked off the event. Each morning, our Chairman sent an email encouraging participation and updating the leaderboard of team daily progress. Racers who completed surveys or scavenger hunts were entered in daily prize drawings. A new destination was revealed each day, explaining fun facts and the FBT connection. Offices held two themed events during the week tied to the destinations, such as a taco lunch or Parisian brunch buffet. We even had a hippo coloring page activity one day that workers could do at home with their families. Activities and prizes were simple and low-cost but helped keep the momentum going.

The race was met with great enthusiasm. After Day 1, our professionals had already completed 33% of assigned surveys! By the end of the week, we had far exceeded our goals for the Amazing Race. The event received extremely positive feedback from both lawyers and business professionals, who appreciated that the event fostered an inclusive culture across the entire firm.

• 609 surveys were completed with rich descriptions on some of the firm’s most valuable experience. This included identifying 600 additional relevant matter types and 300 matter industries. 
• 321 Scavenger Hunts were submitted by business professionals, who learned how to find key information in Foundation and generate reports.
• More than 70% of our employees logged into Foundation during Amazing Race week.
• We provided a small thank you gift the last day and created a wrap-up video with final results and our appreciation for the enthusiasm and commitment shown for the event.

Our success was attributable to five simple, yet powerful ingredients:

• Leadership Support - Top-down support from our Chairman and others gave us visibility and sponsorship. 
• Hands-on – We gave professionals a short and specific task that made an important contribution to firm data while becoming familiar with a new tool.   
• Focus – The race had a clear connection to our firm and data strategy. The week of the race, our firmwide focus was Amazing Race.
• Everyone involved – The event involved lawyers and business professionals, both in-office and remote, and even a few family-friendly elements. 
• Fun – An event like the Amazing Race was a new concept to the firm. It brought people together and showed them that data can be fun!

Interest in Foundation skyrocketed after The Amazing Race, with several more practice groups and industry teams kicking off pilots to collect better data for their groups. We regularly receive requests from both lawyers and business professionals to learn more, add new data, automate a process, or generate searches and reports from Foundation. With an amazing race, the FBT Data & Innovation team met our goal to amplify firm data, introduce Foundation, and reinforce the message that we all play a role in having better data.