Insights From Our Editors

10 Ways to Trigger Innovation in Your Practice

By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

Dec. 11, 2019

Innovation in business is a popular topic, but does the value of innovation apply to a small business like an independent optometric practice?

Here are ways to spur innovation in your practice, and how doing so can benefit both your patients and profitability.

Larry Keeley, Ryan Pikkel, Brian Quinn and Helen Walters wrote a book titled “Ten Types of Innovation,” which you should put on your reading list. They subdivide innovation into the three major areas of Configuration, Offering and Experience. Each of these categories are further subdivided into the 10 types of innovation.

Under each of the 10 types of innovation, the authors offer tactics. Below we’ve listed some of the tactics with the goal of triggering ideas that you might explore further and implement in your practice. A few of the words used to describe the some of the tactics may be new to you and require you explore them further.

CONFIGURATION
Configuration focuses on the innermost workings of a company and its business systems. Here are the four subdivisions of configuration with some of the tactics listed for each.

1) PROFIT MODEL is the way in which you make money. The key tactics you should consider are:
• Bundled pricing
• Financing
• Forced scarcity
• Membership
• Micro-transactions
• Premium
• Subscription

2) NETWORK is networking with others to create value. How many of these are you doing?
• Alliances
• Collaboration
• Consolidation
• Secondary markets
• Supply-chain integration

3) STRUCTURE is the alignment of your talent and assets. Which of these need more focus and attention in your practice?
• Competency
• Corporate university
• Decentralized management
• Incentive systems
• IT integration
• Knowledge management
• Organization design
• Outsourcing

4) PROCESS is about superior methods for doing your work. Are all of these functioning well in your practice?
• Lean production
• Logistic systems
• On-demand production
• Predictive analytics
• Process automation
• Process efficiency
• Process standardization
• Strategic design
• User generated

OFFERING
Offering is focused on your core products and services. There are two subdivisions of this. They are:
5) DISTINGUISHING FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY
• Customization
• Ease of use
• Performance simplification
• Styling
• Superior product

6) COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
• Extensions
• Plug-ins
• Integrated offerings
• Modular systems
• Product bundling
• Product/Service platforms

EXPERIENCE
The four subdivisions of Experience are focused on the patient/customer-facing elements of your practice. These are:
7) SERVICE is about support and enhancements that surround your offerings.
• Added value
• Concierge
• Guarantee
• Loyalty programs
• Personalized service
• Self service
• Superior service
• Supplementary service
• Support systems
• Total experience management
• User communities

8) CHANNEL is how your offerings are delivered to patients.
• Cross selling
• Diversification
• Multilevel marketing
• Non-traditional channels
• On-demand

9) BRAND is the representation of your offerings and business.
• Brand extension
• Brand leverage
• Brand promise
• Certification
• Co-branding
• Private label

10) CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT centers around the distinctive interactions you foster with patients.
• Community and belonging
• Curation
• Experience automation
• Experience enabling
• Mastery
• Personalization
• Status and recognition

Looking back over the tactics for each of the subdivisions of innovation, how many of them did you identify as items you could implement in your practice?

The next step is to prioritize the ones you want to implement and start working on the one that would have the most impact on your practice.

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