LexisNexis Partnership: Accelerating Innovation Through Collaboration

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson with LexisNexis CEO Mike Walsh at the Experience Innovation Studio ribbon cutting, March 2017.

On Centennial Campus, industry partners create customized spaces for collaborating with faculty and students on groundbreaking research. Access to highly skilled talent offers companies early exposure to potential employees, while accelerating innovation for their customers and gaining insight into future technology trends.

LexisNexis Legal & Professional moved to Centennial Campus in 2014 with 300 employees. Today, at more than 700 employees, the company has grown to be the largest industry partner on campus—adding nearly 150 employees each year. Many of these new hires are NC State alumni, starting as interns while students and then hired full time. More than 50 NC State graduates have been hired and the company employs about 20 NC State student interns at any given time.

LexisNexis is a global technology company providing legal, regulatory and business information and analytics to advance the rule of law around the world. This information analytics provider houses the largest collection of quality data in the world, using it to create meaningful insights and decisions for its customers. LexisNexis serves customers in 130 countries around the world and operates three technology centers—in Shanghai, London and in Raleigh on NC State’s award-winning Centennial Campus.

The Raleigh Technology Center is at the heart of the LexisNexis innovation strategy. Teams on Centennial Campus are helping to drive development in the legal tech sector globally, leveraging cloud computing for machine learning, cognitive computing, natural language processing and other artificial intelligence technologies to turn billions of data points into untapped insights.

Engaging students to solve real-world problems

Company executives say NC State’s culture of innovation inspires its employees to think outside the box. One of the most successful student engagement tools is its annual hackathon on campus where hundreds of students collaborate with LexisNexis employees to solve real-world interdisciplinary challenges. Teams are given 36 hours to think through a problem, craft a solution and prepare a presentation for the judges.

Last fall, 125 NC State students competed to solve problems using advanced technologies such as data visualization, natural language algorithms and artificial intelligence programs. One team explored chatbot and voice integration using LexisNexis’ datasets. The chatbot could understand the vagaries of syntax and other language expression issues—similar to Amazon’s Alexa. After getting to know employees at the hackathon, many students are then hired as interns.

Accelerating innovation through collaboration

The diversity of companies on Centennial Campus —from large, global enterprises to small, early-stage startups—is another draw for LexisNexis. The company recently launched its first Raleigh-based accelerator program in partnership with its subsidiary, Lex Machina. The Legal Tech Accelerator started in Silicon Valley and has expanded to Raleigh due to the success of the company’s Centennial Campus presence.

“What we want is access to world-class talent that is able to solve new problems with advanced technologies. That is uniquely what we have access to here on Centennial Campus.” — Jeff Pfeifer, LexisNexis VP of Product Management

Throughout the rigorous 10-week curriculum, accelerator participants gain knowledge and expertise in a wide range of topics from technology and product development to building company culture. Startup teams receive hands-on mentoring, gain access to cutting-edge tools, technologies and data, and are given free workspace.

A new approach to design thinking

LexisNexis recently launched a user experience studio on Centennial Campus. The Studio, jointly run with NC State, brings together students, faculty and employees to solve problems in usability and design, making products easier to use.

LexisNexis regularly brings customers, students and faculty into the space to collaborate with its UX experts, prototyping projects and redesigning interfaces to improve the quality of products. Other campus organizations, like NexUX, collaborate weekly, hosting events like NexUX Mornings—exploring new ways to advance the user experience discipline.

A growing strategic partnership

Executives maintain an ongoing relationship with NC State through regular meetings with the university’s Office of Partnerships and Economic Development. The two groups identify mutually beneficial ways to address current and future business challenges.

LexisNexis began its partnership with NC State working on projects with the College of Engineering. The company has donated more than $600,000 to the College, and Jeff Pfeifer, LexisNexis VP of Product Management, serves on the Computer Science Department’s Board of Advisors.

Today, they have a multidisciplinary partnership with the university. LexisNexis is sponsoring research, conducting experimentation, jointly publishing research papers, and working collaboratively on strategic projects to advance innovation. In addition to continued engagement with the College of Engineering, they are actively collaborating with Poole College of Management, and exploring opportunities to partner with the College of Design and the Institute for Advanced Analytics, among other disciplines.


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