When do YOU buy into technology?

When do YOU jump into new technological advances? Are you the kind of person who buys the “latest and greatest” or are you the one who feels you need to buy things because of the social pressure of being the last person to not have that greatest new technology? Most importantly, do you understand how it affects your business?
As the diagram at the top of this article shows, there are 5 types of individuals when it comes to adopting technology. It took me decades to really understand that my approach to innovation and technology played a big role in how I ran my company and its success.  If you’re the type to constantly buy technology, only to call it a “waste of money” later, it can be detrimental to your bottom line. Conversely, being the last person in your community without a digital pan/ceph could also be an uncomfortable place to be.
Sure, you might fall into different places on the curve depending on the “buy in”, financial or otherwise. A $100,000 CBCT may be a different purchase than a new $9 bracket, but understanding the psychology behind the purchase is important and even more important is understanding the effect on your practice and your patients. Is the investment worth it?
Way back in 2009, Ross Ferguson¹ explained “a four-phase model for understanding how new technologies are adopted and influenced by organisations.” It’s kind of funny how we see these steps in play when skimming Facebook every day. How you implement it may be a bigger deal than when you buy it.
“1. Hyperbole… a new technology emerges and wows early adopters, whose interest generates intense speculation about what it could go on to achieve. Needless to say that achievement will be nothing short of revolutionary. Augmented reality and location-based services might be good examples.
2. Resistance… Cometh the hype, cometh the backlash. All the problems, bugs and costs come out and the risks mount up. Conservatism kicks in and the mission becomes defending against the technology or its implications. Crowdsourcing springs to mind.
3. Institutionalisation… The technology probably emerged on the basis of a genuine need and, during all the talk of the previous two phases, it has been debugged and improved. Either way, in the third phase the technology is picked up by the mainstream. But – this is crucial – the technology is put to use perpetuating an existing function.
4. Transformation… Despite being put to a defined, traditional use, once that technology is inside the organisation and being applied to core business, it begins to have a catalytic affect and creates wholly new dynamics. It changes interactions between staff, and staff and ‘customers’; it changes processes and base functions. Ultimately, new technology changes business.”
Take a second and evaluate where you fall on the technology adoption curve and the impact the last few purchases have had on your practice. When did you “jump in” and how did you use it for productivity? Did it work as expected and perhaps innovate within the practice or did it cause a lot of trouble? What did you learn for the next great innovation? Again, it could be a $30,000 purchase or simply deciding to use Slack for inner-office communication. Are you using it effectively when you get it?
Oh, and don’t think that this is an “age” thing. I know 60 year old clinicians who have been at the forefront of technology for decades (and are using it more effectively than anyone) and those in their early 30’s who are scared to try anything new for fear of failing.
So, the next time you see that amazing, eye popping technological advance, consider the way you’ll implement it within your practice before buying it. It may just save you a ton of money, sweat and time.
Wishing you an amazing day,
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If you want to come to learn more about an amazing business meeting for orthodontists, simply visit OP2018.com . We’ve got a world-class lineup of speakers, amazing food and an ambiance that will make you want to come back year after year. You can always email me at Glenn@OrthopreneursRD.com or message me on Facebook. I’m here to help.
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  1. https://basiccraft.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/twitter-is-tomorrows-email-technology-adoption-in-organisations/