Happy Halloween! I love Halloween. In fact, costume parties should be mandatory.
But try as I might, I couldn't come up with an appropriately pithy Halloween reference to remind you that building a profitable, robust ADR practice is about innovation. So Happy Innovation, instead.
Innovation is critical to growth. You have to find a way to bring mediation, facilitation, Ombuds, whatever your ADR expertise to people in a new way that meets their requirements or demands.
For too long, I think, ADR providers have said to customers, "We want to help you but we want to do it our way. Here are the three ways we deliver our services: in-person, by phone or online." Frankly, it's not working.
It's time to create new, quantum leap methods to deliver alternative dispute resolution services that compliment the evolving way people are communicating and building relationships these days. (Think email, IMs, texting, online matchmakers, speed dating.)
Do I know what this leap is? No, but I have a few hunches that I plan to try out over the next few months.
Podcasting is so easy to do and compelling, I've begun to develop home study programs around that technology. The idea of bringing the 'just in time' concepts of manufacturing (Think Dell) to mediation really intrigues me, and there's some software available that makes it almost a viable option.
What kind of innovations can you dream up? Even the smallest changes can lead to tremendous results.
PS If you're gonna be in Tewksbury, MA on November 3rd, drop by the New England, ACR regional conference. You're sure to meet some of the great minds of ADR, and yours truly will join Diane Levin and Robert Ambrogi on a panel about blogging! It should be fun. For more information visit the NE-ACR website.