Unleashing the Power of Big Ideas in Your Practice

If you could sum up the big idea of why you started (or bought) your practice in the first place, what would it be?

Said another way, what is your PURPOSE? It’s not seeing patients or doing your favorite procedure. It can’t be those things, because you are in the people business. Your purpose is bigger than that. It might be community impact, quality of life, or leading a team. For many practice owners I meet with, it’s a combination of those things. 
There are insurance based and doctor based practices (good). Then there are patient based practices (better). But a purpose driven practice is the highest (best) form of making a difference for your family, your team and your patients.
A purpose driven practice has non-negotiable gold standards, and installs flexible yet consistent systems which are run by A Player team members. Simple to state, but not easy to accomplish. 

So how do you involve your team in building a Purpose Driven Practice? By constantly improving and executing the plan(s) with one to ten year goals that are consistently updated.  To foster innovation and execution within your practice, it is crucial to embrace the power of ideas from diverse sources. Sheena Iyengar, a renowned expert on choice and innovation, highlighted a few concepts in her summary of Henry Ford. I’ve adapted and expanded on each below to how it can apply to your team:

1. Expanding Your Perspective:Henry Ford’s approach to innovation offers valuable insight. Instead of solely relying on internal brainstorming sessions, Ford encouraged his engineers to look beyond their immediate environment for ideas. This mindset allowed them to explore new possibilities and draw inspiration from diverse sources. By expanding your perspective and seeking ideas beyond your practice’s confines, you open the door to innovative solutions and fresh approaches. Key point: What other industries or businesses can you emulate and “copy” to look outside the box?

2. Embracing External Influences:Pa Klann’s discovery at Ford of the moving meatpacking line exemplifies the power of external influences in driving innovation. Ford’s decision to encourage his engineers to search the world for ideas led to uncover a revolutionary concept from the meat industry that transformed the automotive industry. Similarly, by actively seeking inspiration from external sources—such as other industries, thought leaders, conferences, and even your patients—you can infuse your practice with novel ideas that have the potential to revolutionize the way you operate and serve your patients. 

Sheena Iyengar in her recent book, Think Bigger: How to Innovate wrote the following: “Henry Ford did not ask his engineers to brainstorm…He asked them to search the world for ideas to use—that’s how (they) found the moving meatpacking line.”Key point: How are you getting feedback from your team and patients on a regular basis?

3. Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange:Creating an environment that fosters collaboration and encourages knowledge exchange is vital for unlocking innovation within your practice. By fostering a culture of open dialogue and diverse perspectives from your team and patients, you enable the cross-pollination of ideas. Encourage your team members to share their insights and experiences, and create platforms for collaboration and brainstorming sessions. This collaborative approach can lead to the synthesis of ideas, sparking innovative solutions and strategies that propel your practice forward.

IDEO, the design and consulting firm renowned for its approach to “design thinking,” lays out a great way to brainstorm, especially if you have some brain fog or are stuck:

  1. Defer Judgment
  2. Encourage Wild Ideas
  3. Build on the Ideas of Others
  4. Stay Focused on the Topic
  5. One Conversation at a Time
  6. Be Visual
  7. Go for Quantity

“These rules may sound sensible, but taken together as a system, they can throttle innovation,” Iyengar says. “For one thing, the notion that hierarchies are erased in a brainstorm is an illusion; junior staffers still feel anxious and unwilling to take risks, experts on creativity and productivity have argued, so brainstorming is routinely hindered by participants’ social anxiety and awareness of hierarchies.”Key point: What regular training sessions do you offer your team to get your creativity and collaboration moving? 

4. Learning from Other Industries:Drawing inspiration from other industries can be a powerful catalyst for innovation. Consider how advancements in technology, customer service, or business models in unrelated fields can be applied to your practice. By keeping an eye on industry trends and actively seeking out knowledge from diverse sectors, you can identify opportunities for improvement and adapt ideas to fit the unique needs of your practice. This cross-pollination of ideas can lead to breakthroughs that differentiate your practice and elevate the patient experience.Key point: Who do you know in another industry (auto insurance, marketing, construction, finance) that has a great training system, marketing calendar or office culture that you can emulate? Take a mentor or friend to lunch this month and find out!

5. Nurturing a Culture of Continuous Learning:To effectively tap into the power of ideas, it is crucial to nurture a culture of continuous learning within your practice. Encourage your team members to pursue professional development opportunities, attend conferences, and engage in ongoing education. Emphasize the importance of staying informed about industry trends, research, and emerging technologies. By investing in the growth and knowledge acquisition of your team, you create a dynamic environment that values innovation and supports the implementation of new ideas.Key point: Our core purpose at Pinecrest Dental is “Consistently Creating Lasting Smiles.” That goes far beyond patient care. How are you giving lasting smiles to your team and community? 

As practice owners, it is essential to recognize the transformative power of ideas and the role they play in driving innovation. By embracing Henry Ford’s approach and seeking inspiration from the world around you, you open the doors to new possibilities and revolutionary breakthroughs. Encourage collaboration, explore insights from other industries, and foster a culture of continuous learning within your practice. By doing so, you create an environment that not only nurtures innovation but also elevates the quality of care and experiences you provide to your patients.

Remember, innovation is not confined to brainstorming sessions within the four walls of your practice. Look beyond your immediate surroundings, explore diverse perspectives, and embrace the wealth of knowledge available to you. By doing so, you position your practice at the forefront of advancements, leading the way in delivering exceptional care and driving positive change in the healthcare industry and will simultaneously unlock the potential within your practice. 

Embrace the world of ideas, and watch as innovation unfolds, revolutionizing the way you serve your patients and shaping the future of your practice. Take the leap, harness the power of ideas, and propel your practice towards a future of innovation and success.
Have an Idea-Rich month!

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