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Design thinking and law – moving towards greater customer centricity

During the past week Mareike visited a data privacy seminar to enhance her knowledge about laws, regulations and sanctions around data protection. One thing she realized: The law is not made for the average person. Complex sentence structures, unfamiliar words and conflicting requirements make it impossible to intuitively understand the law. Customer centricity is not well established among lawyers and law makers. Which is paradoxical since all of us are supposed to work with laws and regulations on a daily basis.

However, a mindset shift is noticeable. Design thinking, one the most prominent methods to increase customer focus in innovation processes, found its way into the world of law. Universities begin to offer legal design courses, US courts work with design labs to make court hearings less painful, and companies use design thinking to make legal information more digestible.

Simple methods such as using diagrams in contracts increase user experience and understanding. Instead of setting up a document that merely aims at providing the basis for settling disputes, contracts should be focused on how trade of goods or services are facilitated.

Laws do not have to be boring; contracts do not need to be painful to read and law departments do not have to be show stoppers but actually can be value enhancers. Design thinking is one way to break legal requirements and compliance into digestible pieces and encourage every person within a company to work with law and compliance departments, not against them. This is how behavior and mindset change happens.