How One Life Sciences
Legal Team Created a
By Sarena Straus, Matthew Sharps, and Lutz Aye
In the summer of 2016, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) General Counsel Martin
Schwarz gave the green light to set up a global team to focus on innovation
within the global legal function, or the “GLF.” 1 That was last year and our team,
the BI legal incubator, was tasked with thinking big and thinking bold; making
immediate and long-term recommendations to move the department toward its
vision for the 40,000+ person, family-owned German pharmaceutical company.
■ ■ The scenario. Alongside the focus of engagement,
the BI incubator was tasked with identifying future
trends, generating innovative concepts and initiatives,
and becoming role models for innovative thinking.
■ ■ The vision. Each proposed goal that the legal team set
would have to serve two purposes: First, to move the
global legal function toward an element of vision 2027 and
second, to achieve the short-term benefit of this function.
■ ■ The action. Once the first round of projects are up
and running, the team will turn its attention toward
renewal and will look to the incubator to continue
the process. The right setup will allow some current
members to remain on the team while others
facilitate the implementation of certain proposals.
■ ■ The lesson. A legal incubator will look different for
every in-house legal function based on the structure,
size, and needs of the organization. Before setting
lofty objectives, identify what problems you are trying
to solve and outline the tangible steps to a solution.