Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Everyone else is writing about facebook so . . .

It only seems right if you are writing a blog on innovation to talk about facebook. It is an amazing tool that connects people in exciting new ways. But I want to focus on how we use it and what is truely innovative.

Sometimes people think that just by using the "cool new tools" they are being innovative. The issue with that is this - if you are simply using the features and tools designed by someone else the way they envisioned them being used, you are enjoying their innovation - not making your own.

But, you can be innovative with someone else's tool. You just have to come up with a new way to use it that solves a key problem/ministry need.

For instance, when we started using YouTube at HCJB Global, the first few videos were very much just getting a feel for the tool. We were enjoying their innovation and how it could help us to share what God is doing.

But then we decided to get more creative. Instead of only using YouTube as a channel for viewing, we made it into a virtual repository focused on feeding video to our missionaries' blogs. That was an innovation. All of a sudden, the purpose of the video was not so much that it was on YouTube as it was feeding dozens of other sites of people who had no way to get their hands on video content or to make it available to their donors/family/friends.

As you look into using facebook, myspace, YouTube and the like here are some good steps:
1. Set up an account and emerse yourself in the tool - figure it out.
2. Understand the community and the culture it has created.
3. Look at your goals and objectives in your ministry.
4. Try and use those tools in creative ways to meet those objectives.
5. Have fun with it - someone can really tell when you are doing it because you have to or because you don't want to be left behind.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Green Mom Challenge

Innovations can be very small things. They don't have to change the world - in fact the really good ones sometimes look very insignificant. But we have to realize that one small thing can begin a process that will change lives.

Mindy has just started a blog called The Green Mom Challenge. This is a great example. It's whole focus is on small things that mom's can do every day that will care for our planet. Who knows, maybe some innovations will sprout from those simple ideas!

Are you getting impact from the small innovations or are you lost in the big ideas?

Monday, November 12, 2007

How do you find innovation?

Everyone innovates differently. Each person is searching for answers and is defining solutions as they research and then prototype those ideas. Share how you innovate . . . scroll down and answer the poll on the left side of the page.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Innovation Requires Input

I am in Minneapolis this week conducting focus groups at a local university. Why are focus groups important?

Any time you try to innovate you need input. You need to understand what those you are trying to serve think. Innovation isn't just about someone going into a garage and coming out with an amazing new idea.

Innovation comes when you marry unique ideas with a laser focus on your audience.

How are you understanding those you serve today? Are you being proactive? Are you letting your audiences help you innovate?