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Inaugural innovation prize

Colin Kerr

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2019

Rod Solar, who will be moderating the ESCRS Practice Management Development Programme today

One of the highlights of today’s ESCRS Practice Management and Development Programme will be the announcement of the inaugural Innovations Prize.

The prize will reward innovations from ophthalmologists and their practice staff that enhance patient services. The competition was set up to enable ophthalmologists to demonstrate what they have achieved with their entrepreneurial skills and show colleagues what they may be able to do in their own businesses.

A shortlist of entries was selected by of the Practice Management and Development Committee with four shortlisted entrants invited to give a presentation on their projects today at 11.30am in Room West 8.

The winner will be decided by an audience vote, which will take place after the presentations.

The winning entrant will receive a €1,500 bursary to attend the 38th Congress of the ESCRS in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in October 2020.

“As an ophthalmologist, your practice constantly challenges you to think divergently, come up with new solutions for patients and pivot when initial ideas fail in order to achieve the results you want,” said Rod Solar, who is moderating today’s programme. “It’s in your nature. So why is it you can often struggle to innovate when it comes to marketing or enhancing customer service?” he said.

“Whenever you’re engaging with any business as a customer, ask yourself, what’s the story they’re selling? Who is the ideal customer they are trying to attract? How do I differ from that? How do I fit? What stage of the sales funnel am I in? What phase of the customer value journey am I at?

“Hundreds if not thousands of messages impact you every day. Consume consciously and you’ll be on the way to picking up valuable ideas and lessons from your daily interactions with companies,” said Mr Solar.

Mr Solar said that when innovating, ophthalmologists should not be afraid to copy existing ideas.

“You don’t need to reinvent the wheel or be the first person in the world to come up with an original plan,” he said. “The most creative people also tend to be excellent copiers. The famous composer Igor Stravinsky supposedly said: ‘Immature artists copy, great artists steal.’ That doesn’t mean to plagiarise. Instead, find inspiration in the work of others, then use it as a starting point for original creative output. What great ideas already exist that you could apply to your practice?”

Among the other topics being discussed are Next-generation marketing, Diversification: your key to digital success, GDPR: lessons learned, Building a high performing practice
by investing in your staff and patients, Optimising patient flow in a busy practice
and How to negotiate.

The ESCRS Practice Management and Development Programme will run from 08.00 to 18.00 in West 8