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Revolutions don’t take place without a significant amount of innovative thinking.
And the wellness revolution is a clear example of that. Without wellness innovation, wellness revolution would not be taking place.
Innovation can occur in a number of different areas of chiropractic, such as:
- Techniques. Many new techniques have been introduced to chiropractic within the last 111 years. Many new techniques will continue to be introduced in the future.
- Instrumentation (analysis and adjusting). From the neurocalometer to sEMG and thermography, finding better ways to measure what we do is essential to our evolution.
- Schools. New and different curricula and experiential processes help ensure progress in how we educate the next generation of chiropractors.
- Patient education. The methods of communicating to patients and the public what we do and why we do it benefit from constant improvement.
- Models of practice. You can always find a way to deliver service more efficiently, with better results, and in a more cost-effective manner.
- Systems for practice (software, business, etc.).
With ever-evolving technology comes constant improvement in office systems.
You may already have ideas you’d like to develop in one or more of these areas. For most people having new ideas is not the difficult part. The challenge lies in putting action behind the idea and developing it into reality. Having the determination to work out the details and withstand the resistance to new concepts is what makes the difference between seeing innovation come to fruition and suffering through years of asking “what if.”
From concept to reality
Here are some things to do to go from concept to reality with your ideas:
- Schedule regular creative thinking time. Start by putting aside some time in your weekly schedule for some meditative thinking time with no interruptions or disturbances. This is when visualization of ideal solutions to everyday challenges can take place. Once this practice becomes routine, consider making it a daily event to free your mind from the confines of day to day business.
- Write down all your ideas. Get into the habit of keeping a notepad handy at all times. When an idea pops into your head, write it down and let all the details download from your head to the paper before a distraction occurs. Many times the idea comes along, but the details don’t follow until several days or weeks later. Always keep a pen and paper on your nightstand to capture your most creative ideas that usually occur in the middle of the night when you’re fast asleep.
- Build a team. When it’s time to take action on an innovative idea, it is very important to have a team assembled that can help ensure things are done correctly with some measures of protection. An intellectual property (IP) attorney is essential to this team to protect your ideas by filing for copyrights, trademarks, or patents. Other key team members include individuals who are familiar with business development, grant writing, and marketing of new products and services. Strategic alliances and endorsements from prominent names in an industry can be another very helpful part of your team.
- Budget time and money. Ideas and innovations can take on a life of their own (and hopefully they do). However, without a plan on how you will fund the project (both in time and money), the process of development can become an overwhelming burden. If the innovation is on a larger scale, it would be essential to find people for your team that understand venture capital acquisition or how to write and submit grant proposals for funding new projects.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes the quickest way to figure out how to make something work is to try all the wrong ways first. Making mistakes is a central component to innovation so never be afraid to do something because “it might not work.” Just try it; learn from the process; and improve it, based on what you learn.
- Have a plan. Beginning with the end in mind can save a huge amount of time and money when creating new ideas.
What are you trying to accomplish? What would the ideal result be? What are the steps needed to achieve the ideal result and who is involved in that process? Answering these and other questions will help keep the thought process on track and allow you to monitor if you are accomplishing what you set out to do.
Innovation comes from all of us and it can happen at any time. It is the foundation of progress both for the individual and the profession. The important thing at this point is to take action and decide what to do with your new idea, as a wise man once said “either do it, delegate it, or dump it.” If you have new ideas, get them on paper, put the energy behind it, and get started!
Stuart Cayer, DC, is a 1997graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and currently practices in Scarborough,Maine, where he operates a wellness- based family practice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website, www.scarboroughfamilychiro.com.