Sparks of Innovation Fly if Given a Chance

Brainstorming sessions with your dental team can provide sparks of innovation about everything from how to fine-tune the patient experience to how to increase referrals.  However, brainstorming in a less-that-supportive environment kills creativity and leaves everyone feeling drained.

The recent issue of Inc. online has an excellent article about brainstorming entitled “5 Ways to Kill a Brainstorming Session.”  The article points out many of the pitfalls I see in my consulting work with dentists and teams.

I once met with a large dental team and we brainstormed about how to improve communication in the practice.  Ideas were flowing until the doctor joined the discussion.  The doctor was justifiably upset about a few matters that he unfortunately let spill over into the discussion.  A few negative comments later and the room was quiet enough to hear paint drying across town.  Criticism kills brainstorming.

Another team meeting in a specialty practice involved generating ideas for an innovative approach to marketing.  We were filling a page with ideas until the office manager started thinking about the logistics.  Soon we were bogged down by details and the team was staring out the window.

Brainstorming ignores the “how to.”  Details come later.  Some of the best innovations come from the merger of seemingly impossible ideas, which means your goal is to keep the group talking.

Most brainstorming sessions reach a point where they need a lasso.  A great idea emerges that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, and you lose focus unless you park that thought.  Don’t criticize it.  Just park it for another time.

If given a supportive forum, a dentist and team can come up with terrific ideas.  Let the innovation fly in your practice by fine-tuning how your brainstorm.

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