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Adopting innovations: contract automation product lifecycle explained

In this blogpost, we will elaborate on adopting innovations and, illustrated by reference to the product lifecycle, it explains an aspect of how to implement contract automation. The handbook to everything Weagree does and fundamental to the strategy of Weagree is described by Geoffrey Moore. Moore’s bestseller Crossing the chasm – Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers uses the ‘product lifecycle’ as the starting point for an innovator’s entire strategy. The book explains how to reach the mainstream market (beyond the early adopter stage).

Contract automation lifecycle adoption curve

In the product lifecycle (also referred to as the ‘technology adoption lifecycle’ or the ‘law of diffusion of innovations’), five segments are recognized, each referring to a type of personality. You have probably heard about them:

  • Innovators: those who need no manual or support, who sleep in front of the shop in order to be the first to buy and use it – those who are keen to find the first bugs and defects, not because they seek your failure but because they want to be a father of your success. For Weagree, the innovators were ASML, TNO and AkzoNobel.
  • Early adopters: people who search for the newest thing; who are willing to go through the process of completing an innovation for the jump-step in their own career. Early adopters herald their successes, even if success is yet still to be reconfirmed. An early adopter, financing Weagree’s multi-document-creation and collaborative-contracting functionalities in 2014, was EndemolShine.
  • Early majority: people who are averse of revolutions, breakthroughs or leaps forward – a mere improvement is sufficient to them – and who rely on their peers. Weagree reached this part of the market in 2014, although for a number of subsegments and for many countries, contract automation is still far away.
  • Late majority: people who may follow. Or not – they are usually the last ones of your class, a year after the rest).
  • Laggards. Simon Sinek describes them as the people who hate change, who would only move away from their current affairs if staying there has become impossible.

Apply it to everything in your life

You will find this adoption lifecycle (and likewise these persons) in every market with every kind of product (contract automation is no exception). And if you think about it, you know who in your personal circle will tell you about the latest fashion, where to buy the wow-shoes or coolest clothes for the forthcoming season, which music will become popular and to which festival you must go.

Those people can also be found when it comes to buying your innovative idea. If someone tells you that he or she is not an innovator, but the ‘ideal follower, the first one to adopt a new technology or solution’; then you know: this is not even an early adopter but a mainstream customer.

At Weagree, we met a number of them: law firms tend to follow each other, rather than assessing what quality requires and taking a lead. Law firms (also the large ones) do ‘not typically’ have a vision but rather follow the mass. At the same time, while this is true for legal tech and legal-service-business-models, law firms may well host innovators of their own: partners who apply previously unused legal concepts or develop novel legal solutions which stay within the borders of the law.

Innovations may well disrupt preceding innovations (even before the latter become mainstream). For example, the first-generation contract automation solutions entered the market before 2003. They carry very burdensome implementation restraints and which imply limitations on the technical possibilities due to legacy technology platform. The Weagree Wizard was developed after 2003, on a more recent technology platform and with the fundamental advantage of not being integrated with MS Word. This made it possible to introduce a true clause library, to facilitate the administrators (for template insertion authoring) with visual admin tooling (not requiring any coding at all, not even the ‘not-coding’ promulgated by Weagree’s competitors), and a WYSIWYG editor (enabling a user, ridiculously user-friendly, to tweak the contract text while answering the questionnaire).

Apply it to your innovative idea

According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most difficult step is making the transition from the visionaries (early adopters) into the group of pragmatists (early majority). Between these two groups of people is what Moore calls ‘the chasm’ (pronounce ‘kassum’). The product lifecycle is also mentioned by Simon Sinek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA#t=10m55s

Behind the chasm is a group of people who do not rely on what early adopters say. They rely only on what their peers (behind the same chasm say). And because none of them will act without your product being ready for it, you should not applaud when one sheep leaps over the ditch, but only once two of them did! Two sheep will enjoy conversing about your innovative idea, and because two can entertain a conversation (not one) the rest will follow. Make sure that they have a nice story to tell!

Implementing contract automation

When launching an innovation, or launching the Weagree Wizard in your organisation, make yourself familiar with the phenomena ‘crossing the chasm’. Keep your eyes open for those persons who are looking for the newest things. First things first: so first create ‘the whole product’ out of your initial idea together with your early adopters and only then plan your D-Day strategy: your quest for conquering the mainstream market, and cross the chasm! Weagree has followed this strategy meticulously and with success. Our contract automation solution did cross the chasm in 2014.

When implementing the Weagree Wizard in your organisation, involve your innovators and early adopters: they will likely herald the roll-out of your innovation, and be the ambassador to your envisaged mainstream users.

The book Crossing the chasm is Weagree’s bible: the first edition dates back from 1991, Weagree refers to the revised, second edition (1999), whereas in 2014 the third edition was published, in each edition describing the key dynamics by reference to the most recent innovations adopted by the market. This blogpost was previously visible on the 2015-website of De BLIC (written by Willem Wiggers)

Ridiculously user-friendly: our new WYSIWYG editor

Certain users may feel disconcertingly out of touch with their contract when answering the questionnaire of a contract template.

Of course, Weagree’s WYSIWYG underwater screen previewer gives a strong sense of control over contract creation. Nevertheless, a questionnaire may sometimes feel like a pipeline. This is particularly inconvenient for those who want to be in full control of their contract.

Launching our contract automation WYSIWYG editor.

We are now accommodating the (full) control freaks among the lawyers. Take a look at it yourself (30 seconds video):

Contract automation software WYSIWYG editor

Determined to continue improving user-friendliness, and at the request of our customers Thales and ASML, we are releasing the WYSIWYG editor. Contract creation has become ridiculously user-friendly.

During the questionnaire:

  • Full users can now edit the contract as well. The resulting contract will include all your tweaks.
  • All users can detach the WYSIWYG underwater screen. In a second browser, your contract will scroll along with you while you answer the Q&A.

WYSIWYG” means what you see is what you get – so you can see your contract in the WYSIWYG previewer, in which you can now edit it as well.

Post-It notes.

Users with whom we discussed this new functionality signalled a next feature. At 0:11 and at 0:22 seconds in the above video, you can see the user editing the contract.

Wouldn’t it be marvelous, for contract know-how management purposes, if the user could add a Post-It note to the edited text for later, or for the administrators? They would be able to pick up the Post-it and update the contract template.

We wouldn’t be Weagree if this co-creative suggestion didn’t excite us. The Post-it feature is forthcoming.

Introducing red flags.

We have also made delegation of contract automation easier: if a certain contract option requires close attention, the person answering the Q&A will be alerted by a red flag notice popping up underneath their answer. Take a closer look at (the first five seconds of) the above 30-seconds video.

Yes, we went mobile, a few weeks ago.

You may have missed our previous newsletter. Only a few weeks ago, Weagree went ‘mobile’: contract automation is now available on smartphones and tablets. We have improved the accessibility of the clause library, which of course supports the bespoke quality of your generated contracts.

And yes: it is also available on smartphones and tablets.

 

For more information about the new release, contact us.

Contract automation for smartphone and tablets – Weagree Wizard major upgrade

Swiping and tapping your contract on mobile or tablet! We released a major upgrade of the Weagree Wizard and the marvelous experience on smartphones and tablets is available for all our customers.

A few highlights…

…of our transition to ‘mobile first’:

  • Seeing only what is relevant for you; with a sense of full control over your contract: using the Weagree Wizard will become even easier.
  • Previewing your contract as you’re creating it; the WYSIWYG underwaterscreen, your real-time contract editor, is realistic. And of course: on mobile you can swipe to it.
  • The Weagree Wizard is faster: not that it was by any means slow, but when you answer the questionnaire of an LMA, SPA or a Strategic Purchase Agreement, it will open and proceed at once.
  • Search and filter functionality can be folded out, when you need it.

Create contracts on mobile phones and tablets

Our contract creation software upgrade was inspired by our collaboration with the United Nations and WTO: while their main target audience, SME in developing countries, usually have good access to internet, internet access is typically through mobile phones and tablets. More about our collaboration with them shortly.

Your clause library.

Maybe this summer is a good period to improve your clause library? If you need an incentive, this Weagree Wizard release further improved it:

  • The clause library is easier to access from within a contract questionnaire: facilitating you to ‘plug in’ and tailor model contract clauses halfway the contract you’re creating (and as always, the related definitions and annexes will come along and position appropriately). On mobile phones, this works with a few swipes and screen-taps only.
  • Your model clauses are now ordered and displayed the way people read-scan a website. So on mobile phones, searching your clause library follows your intuition.

Weagree clause library screenshot

For more information about the clause library, watch our admin video (tutorial D2). On our renewed website, you’ll find best practices of upgrading model contracts and model contract clauses.

Automated import of model contracts.

This release version 6.0 also includes functionality to import entire Word-documents into the Weagree Wizard. Also, we further improved the template creation tooling. This means several improvements:

  • Administrator training time is further shortened: learning how to insert or modify a template and how to build the related questionnaire is now two blocks of less than 2½ hours each (plus a few hours of follow-up coaching).
  • Our administrators have more fun inserting templates and building questionnaires: little copy pasting. For Weagree administrators, user-friendliness prevails – no coding (never – not even under the strictest interpretation of ‘no coding’)!
  • We approximate our ambition that template insertion work must be easy for every type of user. We already welcomed partners and several general counsel who themselves insert or modify their precious templates and optimise questionnaires.

Automated import Word documents

System requirements. Before releasing the upgrade to customers with (very) large user groups, we want to make sure it is going to work: this release upgrade supports all recent browsers, but if you’re still using Internet Explorer 9 (despite its severe security vulnerabilities) the user-friendliness may not improve – and unfortunately, many larger organisations are still using it.

Updates to integration plugins. Our customer EndemolShine connected Weagree with Effacts, which reconfirmed the robustness of our external-integration technology. Of course, all related updates and plugins were built to plug-and-play, are packaged in this version 6.0 and available to all Weagree licensees. If you want to see which data can be exchanged between your IT systems and the Weagree Wizard (it’s more than you think!) let us know.

What’s next?

At the request of our customers Thales and ASML, we will further develop the WYSIWYG underwaterscreen. It will support contract creation on two monitors and enable a user to edit their contract text while answering the questionnaire! Also, we have a few customers that will embed the Weagree Wizard in their corporate IT environment, which will result in additional external-integration features available for all our customers.

We will add new administrator video tutorials (to the current 22 tutorials).

For more information about the new release or integration options:
Imke Burghouts (imke@weagree.com) or
Sara Stork (sara@weagree.com).
Tel. +31 20 616 9696

Weagree Wizard – release of version 5.0 – and other great news

Multi-document creation and collaborative contract creation

Those who dare to innovate discover blue oceans*!

We are proud to have released upgrade version 5.0 of the Weagree Wizard. During these weeks, it will become available to all our customers. In 2015, Weagree took worldwide ‘product leadership’ in automated contract creation solutions – we are now developing it into exciting directions and it is only promising!

The upgrade of the Weagree automated contract creation application (“Weagree Wizard”) once again introduces great functionalities, a major one developed together with Endemol Shine and one with BASF. Take a minute to see how this upgrade may reshape contracting processes.

A. New functionality.

1. Multi-document creation:

a functionality permitting to link several templates together, avoiding having to answer Q&A questions twice. This powerful functionality reveals unexpected opportunities:

Example 1: first create a term sheet, then the definitive agreement based on the term sheet. The answers already entered for the term sheet are reused and can be updated (in the Q&A of the definitive agreement, they are clearly marked as reused).
Example 2 (‘click your closing together’): in connection with an SPA (share purchase agreement), you can create all closing documents of the transaction in one single go: powers of attorney, shareholder resolutions, deeds of pledge and all related (intra-company) agreements. For each acquired legal entity, closing documents can be grouped into subprojects, and relevant Q&A questions simply clicked together. Generate the documents in just a few mouse clicks (if the closing is postponed by a few days: recreate updated closing documents by reanswering only the Q&A question regarding the effective date).
Example 3: all contracts with the same customer or supplier are kept together: when, at any time in the future, an extra contract (or amendment) is required, you can add it with just a few mouse clicks (and the relevant contract data are linked and reused almost automatically). Think of a master agreement with statements of work.
Example 4: create a contract in one language and switch, reusing (virtually) all Q&A answers, to a contract in another language. Or: create two identical contracts in different languages without unnecessarily repeating questions.
Example 5: alongside creating a contract, tailor a contract approval form automatically, or an executive summary of the contract’s terms.

Altogether, setting up and tailoring a transaction is highly intuitive. Linking the relevant template Q&A’s is largely automated. Both a user and an administrator can do that.

2. Collaborative contract creation:

users can now collaborate on the creation of a contract (or set of related agreements). After creating a project, users can invite colleagues to join the transaction and to link up their already created templates.

Obviously, the functionality includes the possibility to see who has answered which question, in which template and when. Every user will only see those transaction or project-related templates in the project which that user is authorised to create (corporate lawyers the corporate agreements only, technical people the templates for statements of work, and the project leader everything).

We believe that the functionality under 1 and 2 above will reshape the practice of contracting, making contract creation much more ‘social’ (i.e. co-creation by several disciplines involved, as well as the counterparty, who collaborate in the completion of a transaction).

3. External connectivity: the Weagree Wizard is equipped with a very flexible and highly user-friendly functionality to synchronise with external applications: contract management solutions, document management systems, contract lifecycle solutions, workflows, including Sharepoint, Salesforce, SAP et cetera. Linking Weagree templates to external applications has become more intuitive: hardly any training is required.

4. Sharing Weagree templates: we have upgraded our import and export functionality. It is possible to export Weagree templates (including the Q&A) and import them into the portals of others. As a result, we are able to share a complete SPA (share purchase agreement) with our corporate customers – see below.

The import functionality also means a significant reduction of implementation time. In particular, as regards larger templates timesaving may even exceed 35 percent. Given that we are able to insert some 500 model contracts in less than seven weeks, Weagree’s competitive advantage on this ‘hidden’ implementation effort is tremendous. We will continue to improve this functionality.

5. Upgraded hosting: due to the considerable growth of our customer base, we experienced reduced performance. Accordingly, we upgraded the server capacity. Of course, the security of our hosting services is still of the same high quality.

6. Various small features.

  • Updated templates and finished contract entries. When a template is changed after the Q&A was answered, on your my contract page both the contract’s entry date and description turn magenta instead of black (and upon hovering over it, a tooltip will explain the possible inaccuracy of the created contract).
  • More interface languages available. We translated the English Weagree Wizard interface into French, German, Dutch and Suomi (Finnish). Let us know if you wish to upload it into your portal.
  • Simplified UX. The interaction design for approvers has been simplified: the workflow page ‘remembers’ the most recent filter settings and returns to it upon return. Part of this improvement of the user experience (UX) is that we replaced all buttons, both permitting a multilingual interface and anticipating the forthcoming ‘responsive’ interaction design.
  • User accessibility of templates. It has become possible to make one template available to more than one user group.
  • Forcing Q&A answers improved. A year ago, we introduced the possibility to force users to answer a particular Q&A question. The way it worked was rather prohibitive because the user could not continue the Q&A until the answer was indeed given. We made this friendlier: a user cannot generate the contract until the question is answered and is properly notified of such impossibility.
  • Filtering answer options. It made it possible to filter Q&A answer options, based on user authorisation level. This was already possible for regular Q&A questions, it is now also possible for global questions (the questions that affect the template in several places).
  • No generate both Word and PDF. We removed the green button for generating both a PDF and a Word-document, uncluttering the screen.
  • Copy contract. On the my contracts page, you can copy and reuse the Q&A answers of a previously created contract (and reuse the Q&A answers for creating a similar contract).
  • Party details not inserted. If certain party details were not entered by the user (or imported from a connected external CRM or other application), the contract can mark the unfilled contract text with a big blob or any other character.
  • Tailoring contract description. In case the intermediate ‘contract properties’ page is ‘bypassed’, users are prompted to enter a contract description as the first Q&A question. It makes the descriptions on the my contracts page more descriptive.
  • Out-standing navigation tabs. The top-navigation tab (either ‘new contract’, ‘my contract’ or ‘workflow’) from which the user entered the questionnaire stays up, indicating where the user started.
  • Reassign a contract entry. It will be possible to hand over contract entries created by one user to another user.

If you wish to join one of our webinars during which we demonstrate and discuss the possibilities of the new features for you or of the further implementation of the Weagree Wizard generally, please let us know.

B. Weagree – ASML: a highly successful fit

We recently evaluated the adoption of the Weagree Wizard within ASML, our launching customer. “How many contracts did we create in 2015?” Well, that appears to be very impressive: not just a few hundred first-draft contracts per year, but they are using a very substantial part of the full contract know-how base of about 60 templates (including ASML’s enterprise-wide automated NDA tool).

Since their start with Weagree more than six years ago, we obviously knew of the improvements in productivity, response time, quality of contracts and contracting process, the increased compliance with contracting requirements and pleasure of working, but still, the actual numbers simply impress. Curious fact: ASML’s share value on Euronext and Nasdaq increased almost 500 percent since they started with Weagree.

C. An SPA-template for our corporate customers

With great thanks to our customers Eneco and JanssenBroekhuysen (click here), we have been developing a full-fledged (purchaser-friendly) share purchase agreement. The SPA will be available to our corporate customers, and although useful in acquisitions of any size, the template may be particularly supportive for ongoing (portfolio) investments in start-ups. It provides for all regular clauses, in all varieties of transaction structures.

D. Weagree core-customer meeting

We have always been in close contact with every customer, evaluating our performance and the Weagree Wizard continuously. Obviously, this is the only way to innovate effectively and maintain the high level of user-friendliness of the Weagree Wizard.

Now that we are welcoming large new customers almost every week, at the request of AkzoNobel, we planned a meeting with the close circle of our long-standing and larger customers. With this somewhat exclusive group of Weagree ambassadors, we want to further improve our services, to share experiences and to define the roadmap of the Weagree Wizard.

E. Weagree reseller programme

We’re benefiting tremendously from our efforts, last summer, to formalise and standardise all internal support processes and procedures. Because legal IT providers and publishers have been approaching Weagree to become a reseller, we are now able to train them efficiently and effectively and to provide second-line support. In view of this, we are setting up a complete reseller programme enabling us to scale up quickly in other jurisdictions.

* A ‘blue ocean’ is the metaphor used in a bestseller by INSEAD professors Kim and Mauborgne on strategies for groundbreaking innovation. It refers to an innovation approach into the great wide open: the blue ocean reflects an unexplored space of opportunities, as opposed to a blood-red ocean where competitors, like sharks, fight for ever decreasing profit margins.

Weagree achieved this thanks to lucky timing: because Weagree was established after 2003 (when Microsoft opened up their document format into .docx) the Weagree Wizard was not forced into Word-integration (but enabled contract know-how management based on a database) and accordingly, the contract automation is visualised (Apple-like) as opposed to a (DOS-like) complicated, time-consuming programming language. Also, Weagree has always been truly web-based, so we never had to make the transition from a PC-installed application, as almost every software solution from before 2006 had to accomplish.

Release 4.3 – Extra functionality, less complexity and more flexibility

User-friendliness: less complexity and more flexibility

Last Friday, Weagree released our spring 2015 contract creation software update containing numerous new features. These features, rather than making the administrator tool more complex, bring about more flexibility and less complexity in the template building process.

Being – as ever – focused on user-friendliness, we are proud to present the following new functionality:

1.     Significant improvements of the Q&A-functionality:

a)     Answer-visibility. The visibility of individual Q&A answer options can be set with reference to a minimum user authorisation level. The result is that certain answers to Q&A questions will be unavailable to users of a lower level, whilst higher level users may still opt for them. Apart from the obvious filtering effect, it will make it possible for a legal department to delegate contract creation to the business.
b)    Tick boxes. These are selectable Q&A boxes, allowing to tick one or more options (or none at all). Since Weagree’s prototyping we had no specific need to introduce tick boxes: single tick box (‘clause inclusion’) had been there since the beginning; listed tick-boxes could easily be dealt with differently. Their availability adds to the flexibility.As part of this functionality, we also provided for a solution to determine how ticked elements should be separated (e.g. commas or semi-colons), and to automatically place a penultimate separator (“; or ” or “, and “) in the correct (penultimate) place.
c)     Dropdowns. Apart from country lists, we never had a specific need for dropdown-questions. The availability of this type of Q&A-question will improve the perception of the users: they use considerably less screen-space than radio buttons (which have the same function), but they may also reduce a user’s inclination to change the default selection.
d)    Lookup lists. An unexpectedly powerful solution comes with the introduction of lookup lists. Whilst the user is presented with a list of simple Q&A-answer options, the selected answer can put several related answers in the correct place.

Example 1, if the sales manager selects one product from a list of products, the fields addressing product ID, packaging form (bottles or cans, trays or pallets), unit price, volume discounts will be inserted automatically.
Example 2, if the HR manager identifies a function title (e.g. director, team manager, co-worker shared service center or secretary), the applicable question addressing the correct range of salary scales can be triggered: for the director 10-12, and for the co-worker and secretary the salary scales proposed during the Q&A will be limited to other ranges.

e)     ‘If unanswered‘. It is at times difficult to answer a Q&A question during contract creation. Particularly with dates, the signing date is unknown. Thus far, it was impossible to replace the date with a non-date text element (such as a thick blob (much thicker than here). Drawing an unanswered question to the user’s attention by marking it is now possible.

The implementation of these changes has been done in such a way that an administrator will intuitively pick the most suitable option.

2.     Improved workflow:

a)     Subtab my colleagues: it will be possible to pick up your colleagues’ work when they are away or have left the firm. This functionality requires being switched on (per user).
b)    Re-routeability of a contract entry (divertability / rearrange). We expanded the workflow capabilities by allowing an approver to create a contract and to push it back to a ‘submitter’. This functionality enables a shared services center to answer part of the Q&A-answers, to reroute the contract entry to an HR manager and to receive back the (answered and) submitted Q&A for finalisation and approval.

3.     Insert pictures. We made it possible to insert pictures in the contract text (e.g. a picture of the general terms and conditions), as well as on the cover page, headers and footers. Obviously, this leaves your current tailoring of the contract house style unaffected; it gives greater flexibility in positioning a logo.

4.     Inline numbering. Sometimes, a clause lists a number of items, within the paragraph separated by “(a)”, “(b)”, “(c)” etc. To facilitate that such items are inserted or deleted as a result of the Q&A (or if you want to have your contracts ‘the royal way’), they can now be numbered automatically. If an item is removed, the others renumber automatically.

5.     Various optimisations for users in:

a)     the underwater screen;
b)    the knowhow-management functionality and the clause library;
c)     although (slow) ‘speed’ is by no means an issue in the Weagree Wizard: performance improvements if several users generate a contract at exactly the same time.

6.     Various optimisations for administrators:

a)     in the template creation tool, upon opening a template, an automatic check whether all settings are set (and if not, the administrator is automatically prompted to fix it);
b)    a filter on accessibility of templates (i.e. administrators will only be able to modify templates from groups of which they are a member);
c)     optimised design and arrangement of icons (colouring and positioning of buttons are slightly more intuitive);
d)    several technical improvements allow a multitude of administrators to insert templates (or to work together on one single template) at the same time;
e)     inserting and handling tables.

7.     …and yes, a few bug fixes.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

  • Connectivity with external applications (e.g. Effacts, SAP, Salesforce, Ariba, Oracle, public companies registries, and ‘easy ones’ such as Sharepoint and WorkSite). We will start with the most challenging one, because it is complex and not web-based: SAP. Our solution will obviously be highly user-friendly and will enable multiple-source and multiple-target connectivity. Our software development company is a certified SAP-partner. They will set up an SAP-demo portal connected with the Weagree Wizard.
  • Multilingual interface. All text labels anywhere in the Weagree Wizard will become customisable and translatable (e.g. in Dutch, French, Chinese), as is already possible with the Q&A and contract text.
  • Maximising flexibility in the user interaction design!
  • Focus on knowledge management. As you know, the success of contract assembly depends on the quality and number of model contracts. We will create solutions by which our experience in this field will become better accessible, and which empowers you to work on your model contracts.
  • Last but not least, we have tripled the workforce for realising these projects. This increased programming capacity also improves the response time of our technical support.

Step 6 and 7 for upgrading your model contracts

Upgrading model contracts is often a very burdensome process. In the FAQ-section of this website (under Ten steps to a successful upgrade of your model contracts), I give some recommendations as to how such processes can improved and accelerated.

In this blog, I will highlight one aspect of Step 6 and elaborate on Step 7.

The best practice group on model contracts should of course facilitate its ‘audience’. This is essential. Even if this audience must not approve the model clauses, most likely, the audience will (or will not) use them in their practice. The audience is usually a group of peers, each of whom will feel equally qualified for the model contract drafting job. A proposal submitted by the best practice group will invite them to hand over additional ‘model’ texts. Such additional text will possibly contain elements that were considered by the best practice group, as well as valuable content. There is not much wrong with such cooperative approach, except that it contains inefficiencies.

In step 6, I explained that proposals for model clauses should be collected in tables (spreadsheets with per column a type of clause, the submitted text variants in different rows underneath each other, gathered subject-by-subject and the resulted (proposed) model clause in the first row). Probably, such separation of input and proposed model clause will not be enough to call the audience’s attention. To structure the discussions, it is helpful to highlight (e.g., in yellow) both the (accepted) discussion elements in the proposed model clause and the (rejected) discussion elements in the input clauses underneath. By structuring the ‘model’ clauses and proposed texts in this way, the contract drafter ascertains that in the end-result, all relevant and less relevant subject matters will have been considered. The additional ‘model’ texts should be peeled off the same way; whether they must be used immediately might depend on the best practice group.

Step 7 describes the subsequent process of adopting and further upgrading the building blocks and model clauses. To prevent that this ongoing process stops (e.g., after heated discussions), the best practice group could adopt a modification policy:

Two appointed members of the best practice group (but always including the drafting person responsible for preserving consistency of applied drafting conventions – see Step 2) may at all times modify all building blocks and model clauses, except that they need prior approval for matters which they anticipate would trigger any relevant discussion in the best practice group.

This delegation implies (a) improved efficiency in the follow-up upgrading activities, (b) prevention of the non-use of model contracts because no-one wants to touch the heavily discussed texts even if a modification is necessary to change the obvious, and (c) a responsibility on the authorised person to act responsibly.