Sunday, January 28, 2007

Realism in Innovation

One of the big reasons for writing this book was to be very realistic about the kind of innovation that is possible within a mission organization. Sure, we can brag about global operations, but we aren't Pfizer or IBM.

We can count on one hand the number of people dedicated to research and planning. That is our world.

So what kind of innovation is possible? In my first chapter I talk about that as Holistic Innovation - taking the theoretical and the pragmatic and pulling it together.

They key challenge as you read Innovation in Mission is to think about who are the wholistic innovators in your organization? Who are those that are daily asking the right questions, testing ideas and then presenting new plans?

One of the tragedies within our organizations is that we regularly do not value or encourage those people. They do not get the opportunities to show their ideas to leadership or develop their creative thoughts into reality.

So what can mission organizations do to innovate - realistically?

Lets start by identifying the holistic innovators in our organizations and empowering them. It will go a long way.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Am I Right????

Another Mindset that John Naisbitt talks about is the following:

"4. Understanding how powerful it is not to have to be right: Having to be right shackles your mind.”

Think about this with me for a minute. Have there been times when you were so invested in a solution and so convinced that you had it figured out that you rejected truth?

It happens more than we would like to believe. It is key to come to terms with being wrong. If I want to be innovative, I have to develop a culture around me that allows people to be wrong without being rejected. Once that culture is in place, we can do what I call "soft thinking." That is when we are taking and brainstorming but we realize that we still do not have the full picture.

So have fun being wrong and watch as the right solutions begin to emerge.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Adding and Subtracting

Over the next few weeks I want to highlight several of John Naisbitt's mindsets that I listed several days ago.

10. Don’t add unless you subtract: Never throw more balls than you can juggle.

Number 10 is so critical. It is a very hard one for innovators for a simple reason. Innovators tend to be overly optimistic dreamers that are reaching beyond the limits that others set. That great blessing of optimism also tends to mean that innovators don't know how to say no.

Mindset 10 is all about priorities. If we are to be holistic innovators like we talk about in Innovation in Mission, we must be able to manage those things we are focused on. Naisbitt says that if we discipline ourselves to only take on so many things, then when we want to add a new one to the list, we have to evaluate which of the current ones we will drop.

This discipline of adding and subtracting allows us to focus on what is really important and to use that entreprenureal spirit to follow through on key innovations.

How many things are you juggling today?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Prayer for Vision

In this video I share a prayer that we have printed in the Innovation in Mission book. It is a prayer by Sir Francis Drake - yes the pirate - who was the son of a preacher.

This prayer has really impacted me because it challenges me to consider God's greater plan and how I can be a part of that. It forces me to look beyond my reality and hope in the future.

That is one of the keys to innovation - hope.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mindsets for Innovation

I just read John Naisbitt's new book called "Mindsets." It is an excellent recource and a very quick read. The greatest thing about the book is that it helps us to change our mindset as we sit down to consider innovation within the mission context.

Our biggest problem many times is that we approach problems from a mindset that almost guarantees failure. The ability to change our mindset is key to innovation. Check out the 11 mindsets that John talks about in this new book.

11 Mindsets Crucial to Innovation
By John Naisbitt

1. While many things change, most things remain constant: The DNA of change spirals around the pillars of consistency.

2. The future is embedded in the present: In the stream of time the future is always with us.

3. Focus on the score of the game: The score of the game cannot be bribed

4. Understanding how powerful it is not to have to be right: Having to be right shackles your mind.”

5. See the future as a picture puzzle: Mix and match until you see the new picture.

6. Don’t get so far ahead of the parade that people don’t know you are in it: The sender has to stay in range of the receiver.

7. Resistance to change falls if benefits are real: You don’t bend down unless something is worth picking up.

8. Things that we expect to happen always happen more slowly: Expectations always travel at higher speeds.

9. You don’t get results by solving problems but by exploiting opportunities: Change is the father of innovation.

10. Don’t add unless you subtract: Never throw more balls than you can juggle.

11. Don’t forget the ecology of technology: Technology is the great enabler, but not in a vacuum.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What is Innovation REALLY?

This word "innovation" is used all the time, but what does it really mean. In our new book Innovation in Mission, we talk about that in a very practical way. We bring it to life by showing you mission innovators at work.

Innovation has three key elements that you will find over and over as you read the book:
1. There is thought, ideas, theory, concepts that are considered and discussed. These challenges are the imputus for the innovation.

2. There is a solution that solves a very practical problem. This is the reaction to the theory.

3. There is action. This is the roll-out of the theory through the solution and into practical application.

In missions we are better at theory and etherial solutions then we are at action. There is alot we can learn from these innovators who put their ideas into action.

Hear what people are saying!

Our book is off the printer and will be released next week. Innovation in Mission is going to be a great resource for people looking for practical examples of innovation within the mission community. We shared the book with several people and here are some of their endorsements:

"Innovation in Mission excites me like no other missions book I've ever read; I came away energized and full of new ideas and possibilities. This is a must-read for mission leaders, strategic planners, and future cross-cultural kingdom workers. But let the reader beware: Innovation in Mission will challenge you to make significant changes in what you do and how you do it!" - Scott Moreau, Editor, EMQ (Evangelical Missions Quarterly)

"Innovation in Mission addresses some of the most important strategic issues we face [in our rapidly changing world]. Because the global missionary movement needs to take stock of their practices, this book is important. Editors Reapsome and Hirst selected the contributors and the topics well. The chapters provide important insights for conversations that should be on the agenda of churches and missions alike. This is a book to share with others on your Boards, in your Sunday School classes, and in the missions you support."
Doug McConnell, Dean and Associate Professor of Leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This is a timely book with an astonishingly wide range of current missions practices and concepts. It also has many helpful examples that can be used by missions pastors, agency leaders and missionaries. A must read for every missiologist and missions practitioner."
Jim Tebbe, Urbana Director

"As I looked through these pages, I felt this is a book that I need to read myself. After 50 years in missions I still have much to learn." - George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization

"The world is changing rapidly and this requires the church to examine the old ways and explore new ways of functioning to ensure we are relating effectively to a challenging situation. This book will help." - Stuart Briscoe, pastor and author