Practice owners often get so caught up in the day to day running of their practices that it’s easy to forget about the importance of planning – many practice owners just want to get out there and ‘do it’. It’s easy for anyone to fall into this trap, with many practice owners being time poor and lacking the extra resources to take e time out to plan effectively and review and refresh ideas. While it’s important to execute on ideas, we often forget that ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’.

What many practice owners don’t realise is that there is a very simple tool available to plan properly and it’s been around for decades – good, old fashioned brainstorming. It can be a great energise for your practice, adding new energy and unearthing new ideas for growth and direction. But these powerful and transforming ideas, if not captured and acted upon, may soon get lost in amongst those day to day tasks. So how can you breathe new life into tried and true brainstorming?

Brainstorming And Capturing Great Ideas
Rethinking the way you and your team brainstorm together can really drive productivity and creativity. Whether you’re planning your patient’s Christmas mailout, conducting a team meeting, planning a new marketing strategy or the design of your website, it’s important to understand that having the right tools at the beginning of the planning cycle, to capture your ideas, guide your strategy, and execute the next steps, can save time and deliver results. And of course, engaging staff in the process and using more than just a whiteboard and marker is crucial to galvanising energy and turning ideas into action.

The first step towards this is to realise that brainstorming effectively draws inspiration from anywhere and at any time. Instead of sitting around the table, take the team outside; change the location, sights and sounds. Get your creative side revving, but be sure you can take the ideas with you and share them. Most people relate better to visual ideas and cues than ideas written down. I suggest downloading a mind mapping app onto your smartphone or tablet and appointing a scribe to record the ideas and disseminate information after the session. This way, ideas are captures as you collaborate, and when you return to the office you don’t have to waste time on taking meeting minutes, allocating responsibility or deadlines for tasks and distributing the information to the right people; it’s already on the page and can be easily disseminated to your team. Doing this properly during the meeting will mean that your staff walk out feeling that they’re already closely linked with the process, involved with the ideas and naturally engaged and inspired to move forward to reach these new goals.

Taking Ideas Into Action
In the weeks following a brainstorming session, it’s easy to let the action plan gather dust; we caught tup in new task and meeting deadline. Using new tools and technology to capture the ideas means you can attach electronic reminders to certain task, adding links with additional information and further collaboration, and the ability to add new ideas to your existing planning document later on, will all contribute to keep the ideas alive. By using technology to drive your ideas into action, weeks later you’ll be on top of the next steps you originally set out to achieve. Plus the whole team will be able to see updates in real time and have the ability to be more agile, adapting to changes as they appear.

It’s also imperative that you get to know the functionality of the tools available. Playing around with the functionality of these tools is a crucial part in streamlining the brainstorming and internal process – knowing that you can assign tasks and monitor their progress at the click of a button or even prioritise options will mean that you will continually plan with greater ease and in more details.

For a small practice, using new technology tools and simple strategies will ensure your business goals and plans are manageable, actionable and achievable. The benefits to your practice will include detailed project roadmaps; stronger employee engagement, higher productivity and improved levels of creativity – allowing you to balance the day to day running of the practice, alongside continued planning for success.