June 14, 2008

Innovating at the Dentist Office

Being sensitive to the emotional state of mind of a patient at a dentist office and finding an innovative way to create a better experience. That's today's story. My wife told me that while she was going through a procedure at her new dentist, there was someone massaging her feet and how that helped relieve the unpleasant feeling of being in the dentist's chair with the dreadful sound of the drill. I called the dentist this week to understand how this innovative practice started. Dr. Mauro Teixeira explained that the idea came from his assistant Ivonne Amaral who noticed how a particular patient felt tense and stressed out during the course of a session and offered to massage the patient's feet. The experience was a success. Dr. Teixeira ended up investing in specialized courses for his assistant and what started out as an initiative based on pure observation and experimentation, is now an everyday practice in his office. He told me how patient feedback has been extremely positive (which my wife can testify).

A beautiful example of how innovation isn't necessarily the end result of massive amount of resources, extensive research and technology... sometimes it comes from the rare talent of observation, the sensitivity of someone who tries to understand the emotional state of mind of a consumer or the barriers of a non-consumer. In this case, innovation came from someone who put herself in the dentist's chair and asked what she could do to make the experience a better one.  Great story.

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