Heikki Ilvessalo

Development Director
Castren & Snellman

Heikki IvessaloC

LFMS: First of all Heikki, by way of introduction, could you describe your key responsibilities as Development Director with Castren & Snellman?

HI: My main task is to run our strategy and innovation processes. I regularly meet our top clients and help our services to differentiate themselves and keep their value propositions focused. My mission is to inspire people to develop.

LFMS: When you look at how other professional services sectors are responding to changing market conditions, what do you feel the legal sector should be emulating?

HI: Digitalisation is the major force driving change at the moment, and I think every professional service sector is facing a great deal of work to meet the challenges of the time. Running an ever more digitised legal business using a traditional law firm organisation model can be a challenge. We all need to learn from each other and innovate in designing a digitised high value advisory business. Many IT-experts, accountants and business consultants primarily work in their clients’ offices. I wonder if that is something that law firms should emulate more than we already do in order to enhance client intimacy, which is in the heart of many law firms’ strategy.

LFMS: We understand that one of the biggest challenges for marketing and BD teams working within law firms is to engage the managing partners in the process – what’s your best tip for creating the required cultural change?

HI: Fortunately we have never had a problem with managing partner engagement in BD work. Managing partners should have a key role in any cultural change. It’s almost impossible to change the BD-culture if the MP is not playing the same game. It’s crucial to stay focused and create value for the clients and the firm with the chosen BD-actions.

LFMS: What led you to develop gamification strategies in your own business?

HI: I started gamification while under pressure to find an effective way to communicate our new forerunner strategy. Our personnel felt our strategy map was too complicated. We ended up gamifying the communication of the firm’s strategic priorities by using value proposition card game concept. It got silver in the MPF awards 2016 (http://www.castren.fi/blogandnews/news-2016/castren–snellman-gets-silver-in-mpf-awards-2016-best-strategic-leadership-category/ ). Now we are taking into use a vision & strategy execution system that incorporates the value proposition cards game. This new concept is designed to make our strategy actionable. It makes our strategy execution a more fun, tactile and transparent experience while still maintaining the focus stated in our value proposition. I’ve also piloted gamification for cultural change in the form of a client experience card game that I co-created. The purpose of the card game is to improve the quality of the client experience dialogue and engage the players to carry out improvements. It can be played with clients or internally. I would be happy to demonstrate these gamified concepts and the lessons we’ve learned so far at the event.

LFMS: Do you find that gamification strategies work best with certain generations of lawyers and clients, or in certain geographies, or can they work to engage across the entire organisation?

HI: It’s difficult to find success patterns regarding generations or geographies. I think that gamification techniques are worth piloting in your own organisation, regardless of generational considerations, to enhance collaboration and help accelerate the desired changes. Smart gamification techniques can also make a positive impact in client interaction situations. Gamification techniques are still new and fresh to many clients.

LFMS: Why do you feel the time is right for this inaugural Law Firm Marketing Summit to take place in London/Europe?

HI: Times are uncertain and advice and lessons learned from peers can be irreplaceable in coping with change. BD professionals have a crucial role in change management, and I think that the timing for this event couldn’t be better.

LFMS: Looking at the agenda for the Law Firm Marketing Summit, which sessions [apart from your own of course] are you most looking forward to?

HI: The whole agenda is very interesting, but I’m especially looking forward to gaining new insights from the measuring ROI of thought leadership session.

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