I have not blogged in a while…i miss it. Ill continue the guest service marketing series, but I have something else on my mind right now: dusruptive.
We hear about things being disruptive in an industry often (the iphone, google, threadless, wii, etc). I am not sure what all it takes to put yoursef in a postion to be disruptive, but I have noticed a couple of things that happen to people who are trying to do things in a new and different way.
Recently I went to the dentist. Mint Dental is a small dentist office near our house. They are trying to do some things different from how normal dentest do things. Some of this is about limiting waste (no paper, recycling, etc), some of it is about serving customers well. I had an intersting conversation with Dr. Avery about building their new office as she cleaned my teeth.
Think back to the last time you went to the dentist. Imagine sitting in the chair. Look to the left and right, do you see the cabinets? Probably. There are also some cabinets behind you, and there is a specific amount of space between your feet and the wall. Apparently almost every dentist office is built to the exact same specs.
When they built Mint they decide to change the layout. No cabinets on the left and right, a central storage space for tools to eliminate duplicates, and bit less space at the foot of the chair. Not big changes really. But the entrenched industry did everything they could to keep them from. The cabinet company told they they could not get just the cabinets for the head of the room, they had to get the side cabinets as well, because “you would need them.” Never mind that they did not need them. The cabinet company also said they had to make the room longer or they would not have enough room. Now, I am a bit taller then average and i had plenty of room.
Dentistry is an old industry, and everybody does it basically the same. Because of this the people who supply the dental industry with their tools are convinced that there is only one way to do things, and even little changes are seen as wrong.
What is interesting about all of this to me is how powerful the need for sameness is among big established organizations and industries (churches, governments, schools systems…). It’s a bad place to be when your client is asking for a new and better way to do things, and your telling them it can’t be done for no better reason then “that’s how it is”/