Entrepreneurship is about opening to new ideas and opportunities, and engaging in different ways to act on them. As entrepreneurs in the eyecare profession, we must be open to new opportunities but more importantly recognize those opportunities.
We all have the capabilities to coming up with ideas, but we must learn on how to turn these ideas into valuable revenue generating opportunity. Over the course of my current program, MBA in healthcare management, I have learned different strategies to generate new ideas and how to turn them into opportunity.
Here are seven main strategies for idea generation:
Analytical strategies involve thinking about a problem and breaking it up into parts and looking at it in a general way.
Search strategies involve the use of a stimulus to retrieve memories in order to make connections and links based on your personal experiences.
Imagination-based strategies, as the name suggests, involve creating unrealistic fantasies or states to generate novel “out-there” ideas.
Habit-breaking strategies is a technique that helps us break out of mental fixedness in order to bring about creative ideas. An example is to think about the opposite of something you believe.
Relationship strategies are a key strategy especially of those in healthcare, as it involves making links between concepts and ideas that are normally not associated with each other.
- Development strategies:
Development strategies involve enhancing or modifying or building upon an existing idea and creating alternative and newer possibilities for it.
Interpersonal strategies involve a group building and generating new ideas on each other’s concepts (as might typically be accomplished in a “Brain Storming” session.
Turning Ideas into Opportunity.
Once armed with the knowledge of how to generate ideas, we must understand and learn how to identify an opportunity within those ideas. It has been shows that entrepreneurs who demonstrate alertness, prior knowledge and pattern recognition are best able to find opportunities.
#1: Be Alert
As an entrepreneur, you have to be alert to opportunities. This means that entrepreneurs are not rationally and systemically searching for their environment but in fact become alert to the existing opportunities through their day-to-day activities. This is essential to eyecare professional as we should learn our environment, our field, and scope and be alert to spot something new, and different.
Always have access to more information by being actively in touch with organizations about new products or developments and take risks.
#2: Leverage Prior Knowledge
Prior knowledge is also essential when it comes to recognizing an opportunity. Prior knowledge is the information you gained from general work and life experience. We must constantly apply this to different aspects to find opportunities. Studies show that entrepreneurs with knowledge of industry and market and those with broad networks are usually better able to recognize opportunities.
#3: Recognize Patterns
Pattern recognition is the ability to identify connections between unrelated ideas, and events. In various studies entrepreneurs have reported that prior knowledge is used to make connections about unrelated events and trends have helped them identify new opportunities.
The Power of Networking
Entrepreneurship is all about working together, collaboration, taking action with limited resources and navigating uncertainty. This is done better when you have a strong network.
Studies have shown that building new connections with people, we are able to achieve more than if we would have acted individually. By networking, we build social capital which is our own personal social networks with people who are willing to cooperate, exchange information and build a trusting relationship with you.
As eyecare professionals, there are multiple places we can network both in-person and virtual and these include, CE events, Optometry’s meetings, the Academy meeting, meetings with contact lens/products representative events, Facebook optometry/eyecare groups, social media in general, email groups such as the Canadian Optometry Group and many more.
Virtual networking has been on the rise with methods such as twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. There are multiple pages include fellow Optometry influencers, media publications, and even pages for organizations that you can follow and potentially connect with. Relationships are key to the success of businesses and networks provide essential information, diverse skillset, and power to entrepreneurs to not just start but also grow their business.
In conclusion, it can be said entrepreneurship is about finding an opportunity from many ideas and then successfully implementing it with discipline. But to do so you need strong connections and great networking skills. As eyecare professional we must continue to grow our field, network with each other, and explore different ideas and turn them into opportunities.
- Neck, H. M., Neck, C. P., & Murray, E. L. (2021). Entrepreneurship: the practice and mindset. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Mohit Adlakha, OD
Dr. Mohit Adlakha graduated with Biological Sciences (Honours) from University of Ontario Institute of Technology and then went on to earn his Doctor of Optometry from MCPHS University. He is currently pursuing his MBA in healthcare management from MCPHS University and practicing as an Optometrist here in Toronto.
Dr. Adlakha grew up in Toronto and in his free time he enjoys watching movies and playing sports.