PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 09, 2018 BY AVERY T. PHILLIPS

How to Innovate in Established Fields

Innovation is a word that gets thrown around so frequently in some industries that it’s almost lost all meaning. This, of course, is all the more reason why those seeking to make real change in the world should be looking to fields that aren’t quite so disruptive. Established professional realms are the ones that are most in need of innovation — so that’s where you should go.

If you can’t decide what an “established field” actually is, then consider parts of your life that have more or less been the same the entire time. Ask yourself if there are places where a little innovation or disruption could improve things. Then, start brainstorming what and where you can start to shake things up.

Maybe it’s something as simple as redesigning an everyday item to be more stylish — like headphones or wearable tech. Maybe it’s restructuring an office procedure to make work take half as long. By doing your research and making a plan, you can find a simple tweak to cause a big change.

One of the most-established fields in need of the most innovation today is healthcare. Everyone uses it, but not everyone is happy with their experience — meaning the field is ripe for disruption. If you aren’t sure where to start with your next big idea, take a look at these healthcare examples for inspiration.

Innovation in Nursing

One of the fields that’s currently experiencing some internal innovative efforts is nursing. As a fresh generation of nurses enters the field, some are brushing up on business and entrepreneurial skills in order to bring an extra level of expertise to their work. It takes truly knowing a field intimately in order to best find a disruptive innovation that will cause a shift.

One of the questions nursing innovators are asking themselves is, “Who do we want to help?” In most cases, the answer is the patient. Nursing innovations are generally developments that will improve patient care or advocate for patient needs during the care process.

Considering that most nurses want to stay in their first love — nursing and care — and innovate processes and technology second, this is a field where change may come slowly. However, changing healthtech can sometimes literally mean the difference between life or death. Caution is required. If you’re not a nurse and are passionate about healthcare and patient advocacy, it’s possible that this is a field that could use your energy and effort.

Innovation in Radiology

Another field that’s ripe for innovation is radiology. The way medical images are stored, transferred, and analyzed is changing rapidly in today’s modern technological world. So it makes sense that influencers in the radiology side of things will begin to innovate in order to keep up with new changes.

For example, there is now a field known as “teleradiology,” which is the new term coined for radiological processes done remotely. One of the biggest players to adopt this new field is the Department of Veterans Affairs. They’re using teleradiology methods to connect hospitals nationwide, making it more seamless for veterans to get the care they need regardless of where they are.

Additionally, radiology is also beginning to leverage innovative technologies like 3D printing in order to help promote patient understanding. It’s sometimes easier to show a patient a procedure or a specific issue with a body part using 3D-printed models. This can also help the patient feel less anxious about the care they’re receiving because they have a better understanding of what’s happening to them.

Take On the Challenge

Once you’ve found the established field you’re hoping to shake up, you might feel overwhelmed by the very thought of getting started. Luckily, there are a lot of accessible (and sometimes free) resources for learning how to pitch an idea and to get your plan in front of investors. Barring that, there are competitions that can be great for networking and meeting venture capitalists you might otherwise not have access to.

For example, Accenture’s Healthtech Innovation Challenge. The challenge functions as a series of conferences and contests during which applicants compete to get their innovative healthtech idea funded. Think of “Shark Tank” but specifically for business ideas that help to create a healthier population.

The other benefit of going through a contest or challenge scenario with your innovative idea is that you’ll meet like-minded people in the industry you’re passionate about. Maybe you can combine forces and work together to find the best possible solution. Maybe you’ll meet colleagues who you can mutually cheer on as your careers and businesses progress.

Regardless of how you come to an idea or choose your industry, remember that the best and most innovative ideas are ones rooted in knowing the deep-set problems of a specific field. If you’re going to find a way to change the world, you have to first be an expert in the field you wish to help. Doing your research carefully and thoroughly before even beginning the brainstorm portion of your next venture is going to serve you well in the long run.

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