Innovate – don’t just regurgitate

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If you get me talking about healthcare, I get very energetic.  What is so exciting about the healthcare market?  That is easy…the healthcare market is one of the most innovative environments around and it  is open to new ideas.  We love to think that our healthcare clients are traditional and want out-of-box ideas, but this is simply not true.  Our clients are eager to set themselves apart from other healthcare organizations. This is why I have been excited about the healthcare market every day for the last 25 years.

With that said, you must be sure your solution is solid.  Selling a half-baked concept will get you in trouble faster than anything, and once branded a “crazy” provider, you will not ever be taken seriously.  But the solution provider that shows innovative solutions will be called on by the healthcare community again and again to solve their problems.  Steve Jobs said it best – “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower“.  Be a leader not a follower.

Suppliers

Stop following the pack with “me-too” products.  These are easy “hits” but your company will never be known as leader.  If your business plan is to be a follower, you need to realize now that the margins on “me-too” products will continue to decline so just go ahead , slap a 16-week lead time on your product and ship all your manufacturing overseas.  This will be the only way you can compete, and even then, the margins will be so slim it will not be any fun.

If you want your company to be known in the industry, be the leader and take the time to create a new solution.  Allow your design team the time needed to develop new ideas and concepts. Listen to your sales team.  They are your “feet on the street” and are listening to your end-users on a daily basis. Bring end-users into the development process.   It’s not easy.  I am an Industrial Designer by trade and I have experienced product development first hand.  It is a frustrating process.  But the pay-off is huge.  Take the time to find innovative solutions.

Dealers –

I am not letting you off light either.  Review your offering, think about current challenges your clients are facing and fill your “holes” to meet these challenges.  Too many of you are not taking this seriously.  You are adding the latest products you are shown and not thinking about the need they fill.  Be proactive and find products that are innovative and solve a challenge. Don’t cut yourself short.  Find products you can be excited about.

Excitement is infectious.  If you can be excited about a new concept, your end-user will get just as excited. If you show an innovative concept and show its merits, you can be a leader.

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With a passion for solving problems, Chris has been in management, marketing and sales in the healthcare market for over 25 years.