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Innovative ways

There is no better example than sport to show how innovation is the product of preparation, planning and attention to detail

21 Oct 2016 by Henrietta Alderman

Innovation is essential for businesses’ success and even survival. We often think of innovation as being technology-driven or that it must be the result of an exceptional idea. It doesn’t need to be either of those things, but it does need to be something that creates value to satisfy a specific need and that customers will pay for – and replicable at an economic cost.

Chief executive of the AOP, Henrietta AldermanOptometry business models are being challenged in the current climate by advances in technology and the advances in clinical practice, but there are undoubted opportunities and a chance for innovation and expansion.

Interestingly, in researching what makes businesses successful in turbulent times, it is not that they are more creative or innovative than their less-successful counterparts. It is more often because they are fanatically disciplined in how they operate, reducing the chance of error or `bad luck’ by fantastic preparation and planning.

"Team GB has had an incredibly successful Olympics and Paralympics – which was undoubtedly a result of discipline and attention to detail throughout the whole performance structure within all the teams"

Team GB has had an incredibly successful Olympics and Paralympics – which was undoubtedly a result of attention to detail throughout the whole performance structure within all the teams. In practice, understanding your patients and the habits of the modern consumer needs to be linked with the disciplines of good processes, systems, innovative use of technology and the all-important customer service as was demonstrated in the recent Which? report.

From a sector perspective, we know that the Government is challenging the current regulation of professions and has a wish to harmonise and consolidate, the Opticians Act is under the spotlight within the profession, and outside from manufacturers whose products are not permitted to be sold and retailers who use non-UK websites to market their products.

In addition, the whole education system for optics is under review. Individually these are all big issues and collectively they could bring about enormous change within the profession.

The AOP’s role is to ensure that we are leading the debate and protecting the interests of our members. Our policy committee has all these issues within its work programme and for council discussion. We will be looking for your input to help shape the future.

A request for completing the AOP welfare and support survey will be with you shortly, and the result of which will enable us to be innovative in providing solutions. We know that peer-to-peer support in times of stress can provide valuable advice, guidance and signposts to help. This will be one of the support elements we will be introducing in 2017.

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