Innovation and Sustainable Success

Dear Colleagues,

Most dentists have never had formal business training yet are thrust into the role of CEO the moment they own
and operate their own practice. Yet dentists have the innate skills to survive in a dawn of global competition.
Innovation is one of the vital keys to sustainable success.

Forward thinking managers recognize that they are operating in a new world, where boundaries are no longer
defined and where innovation is vital for growth. No wonder most CEO’s recognize besides meeting
customers’ demands, innovation is paramount to an organizations success. Like any other enterprise,
healthcare, inclusive of dentistry, at its most basic core is a business.

There are many ways dentists can influence their company’s capacity to embrace innovation. One of the most
powerful is culture. Culture is nourished by human motivation- a limitless resource that can be
underestimated. The most forward leaning leaders are single minded about creating company culture that
fosters the true spirit of innovation.

Seventy seven percent of CEO’s say that it’s important to include innovation in their business strategies; yet
36% say their companies approach to it is siloes, outsourced or unpredictable. It seems then that leaders
understand that innovation is the key to the future, but many haven’t yet woven it into the fabric of their

The most resilient dental practices will foster a pervasive culture of innovation at all levels of the organization-
one that values risk taking, embraces experimentation, and considers failure an inevitable part of thinking

I have always believed that the most successful solutions reflect diverse skill sets, thinking, experiences, and
outlooks. The value of this approach can be seen in programs of internal innovation challenges, where
diverse teams across the organization compete to devise breakthrough solutions to the most pressing tests.
Team work is one of the key assets for sustainable growth.

At my practice Innovation lies at its very core, because it begins with the vision, mission and strategy that has
been developed. It forms the very heart of how my team thinks about themselves, our patients and the
company. My employees know it is safe to experiment and fail, but fail fast. The practice encourages all to
pursue inventive ideas into our development pipeline.

Those seeking growth through innovation should:
1. Have a long-term vision and a holistic enterprise wide strategy around innovation with mechanisms in
place to be rapidly deployed when disruptive opportunities arise.
2. Build a capability to sense weak signals of change before they turn into major trends. Economic,
political, demographic, social, and technology issues can arise quickly and baffle the best laid plans.
3. Devise an agile business model that regularly recalibrates your collection of innovative ideas, knowing
when to build, buy, or ally to implement them.
4. Redirect your team to make innovation a core skill. Create processes which your employees can
develop as innovators as well as be rewarded for their contributions.

Embracing disruption with innovation takes courage, Dentists may be called upon to abandon their practices
heritage, invest in untested ideas, and make fundamental changes that turn traditional approaches on their
heads. It is more apparent than ever that today’s dental practitioner must be proactive about predicting and
reacting to disruption or risk losing valued patients and production to unrecognizable competitors. To be
successful dentists should prepare themselves to accept the disruptions that signal exciting and unforeseen


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