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a blog by Chris Barrow

The Dentistry Top 50

The results are out today. I fear some controversy about who is IN the the list and also who is OUT. This post is to “head off at the pass” those petulant well-poisoners who will describe the Top 50 as a “vanity list” or make other disparaging comments about the competition and its “winners”. The fact is that the Top 50 has become a very good example of the power of social media, rather than an accurate list of the people who are having “the most influence” on the future direction of the UK profession. As a good friend and prominent industry leader said to me yesterday: “There are few in the industry who ‘pay the price’ as you do for what they also love to do. If the awards were just ‘chummy pats on the back’ then its meaningless But they are not, because its clinicians, academics, sales people, the whole bloody industry recognising innovation, impact and bringing common sense to the profession.” For me, there are some very notable OMISSIONS from the list – people whose influence is huge but who choose not to be connected or to canvas. Please don’t get me wrong here – I’m ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED with my own result and DID campaign furiously for your votes (for which I am hugely grateful – for every single vote cast). The TOP 50 publicity and visibility are a God-send for any trainer, consultant or coach – and for any dentist who has political aspirations within the profession, wants to build a lecture profile, encourage referrals, build a career. I also believe that the votes are cast for “the good guys and gals” – the people who are POPULAR because of the quality of service that they give to their clients, patients, students and colleagues. So it is a meritocracy of “givers” and EVERY ONE of those Top 50 should be very proud of themselves. We don’t need feedback from those who want to criticise, condemn and complain – they contribute nothing. We do need feedback from those who have constructive comments and a future vision. Here is my feedback, based on a private conversation over dinner with James Goolnik a week ago (and before we knew the results). Speaking to Ken and Joe from FMC yesterday, I suggested that they should perhaps consider a re-think of their strategy here – my ideas:

  1. we keep the Top 50 (its a lot of fun) but brand it for what it is – a poll of “notable networkers” in dentistry

  2. celebrate the power of social media

  3. have fun canvassing

  4. make it serious but don’t take it too seriously

  5. we introduce an “industry Leaders” list – chosen by an independent panel of judges, in the same way that the awards ceremonies in dentistry are ejudicated – rather like the dental equivalent of The Man-Booker Prize

  6. no “submissions” – its up to the panel to choose and decide based on their observation of what’s been happening in the previous 12 months – the panel, of course, cannot choose themselves

  7. finalists perhaps invited to a lunch

  8. winners announced

  9. and maybe an “industry Leaders Days”, where the top 20/30/50 are invited to comment on major issues

  10. the advantage of the “Industry Leaders” list is that it could include prime movers such as corporate CEO’s, heads of major supply companies, prominent dental entrepreneurs, academics and clinicians

My final concept would be to invite them to a dental equivalent of the TED conferences – an annual gathering where each speaker is restricted to an 18-minute presentation of a key idea or future vision that could change everything.I do hope that someone can take this idea and make it happen – and I’d be very interested in getting involved. For now – I add my congratulations to all those on the list – enjoy the moment.

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