Published on:

Ten years for a management idea to build critical mass, then ten years to become commonplace

Another provocative idea is found in Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From – The Natural History of Innovation (Riverhead 2010) at 12. Johnson proposes the 10/10 rule for new technologies in communication: “a decade to build the new platform and a decade for it to find a mass audience. He cites HDTV, color TV, AM radio, DVDs, software innovations like the graphical user interface and more instances in the physical world of this development cycle.

Something similar to that pacing may happen with ideas about law department management as well as with that balance between formation of the infrastructure and beliefs and then diffusion of the practice into common play. It took perhaps a decade for the notion to evolve that excellent lawyers employed within companies makes sense and another decade for that to trickle out and commonly take hold. Or a decade passed, roughly speaking, while matter management software achieved platform status, but another decade for it to become completely mainstream and adopted. Perhaps we are mid-way through a comparable cycle with convergence, electronic billing, project management, and offshoring.