Thursday, January 31, 2008

YouTube 50

If anyone is really interested to see what missions is doing - there is no better place than YouTube. I run a Missions directory on YouTube and we just hit a milestone of logging 50 international ministries that are publishing videos.

Take a minute to check it out:!

The Goal of Innovation

In Philippians 3:14 Paul writes about pressing on towards the goal. To an innovator, this is a great passage. It speaks to all things INTENSE! You get this idea of someone straining against the weight of all their obstacles and crossing that finish line in an impressive style.

The challenge for all of you Type A innovators out there, is to keep reading in the verse. After the pressing and the pushing, Paul qualifies the context when he says, "to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

This last statement sounds noble, but what does it really mean? It is putting our victory in perspective. First of all, God is defining the goal. That means that God defines success not us. This is hard for innovators. We have an idea of what success is in our context and culture and we are driven to make that a reality. Whether that be an invention, a solution to a significant social issue or an idea explained, we want to set the rules about success. But that is a non-negotiable. God is clearly setting the goal line and defining the end of the race.

Secondly, the goal pales in comparison to our heavenward trajectory. Innovators are driven by the challenge of solving great challenges. We frame them in our minds and then we make them the ultimate goal and vision for our lives. But this verse is putting our earthly goals - even though they are defined by God - in perspective. They are really nothing compared with our ultimate goal of what we will experience and do in Heaven. That is exciting but probably a little frustrating for some innovators - they want to be about the big stuff now. We must learn patience and trust in greater measure!

What would a God-centered innovator look like? What would they do differently? How would you know that they were driven by God's great wisdom and direction? I'm sure you would see it in millions of little ways.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thinking and Motivating

When you go to brainstorm with your teams, your first challenge is not the soft and hard thinking. Your first challenge is getting your team to the table. The key to a good brainstorming session is the attitude that your team comes to the table with. If they come with their guards up and a skeptical attitude you will not see the creative open discussion you are looking for.

So as you prepare for your brainstorming sessions, here are a few tips:
1. Meet with your team and give them the big picture outside of the brainstorming session
2. Establish an environment of participation by affirming that their input will count
3. Differentiate between good critical thinking and a negative critical attitude
4. Show a timeline and milestones that can show the pathway to success

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Thought About Thinking (Hard or Soft)

As we have been engaging in this idea of hard and soft thinking at our office, I have noticed what it can create. As you begin to think in different ways and talk about it, your thought pallette becomes a bit more discerning.

You become a consosure of ideas! What a thought. Essentially, the more thinking tools that you have on your belt, the more you develop the ability to discern between the many ideas that come your way.

For innovation this is critical. You can invest in every idea and be no better for it. Or you can shun all ideas and be stuck in the past. Both are bad. When you can discern between ideas and grab the good ones, you are on your way to some exciting innovations.

Maybe we need idea testers like we have taste testers at the fancy restaurants. Then, maybe that's what all of these bloggers and columnists are :)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Soft Thinking / Hard Thinking Part II

One of the misconceptions about soft thinking is that it is easy. How many of you roll your eyes at another all day strategy meeting where there is lots of talk and lunch is catered. We tend to think that the soft thinking is the easy part and the execution is the real work.

Now if you really think about it, you know that isn't true. But that is our perception. So how do we get to a place where we value the soft thinking? Well we need to ask ourselves a few questions:
1. How important is a creative approach to this problem?
2. Where are we going to get the ideas to execute?
3. Why isn't anyone else being innovative in this area?

In the end, soft thinking is as much a discipline as hard thinking. It just looks radically different. Discipline in the soft thinking is the structuring of the creative time, the transcribing of the ideas, the narrowing of the field, the analysis of the data in front of you.

So the next time you are called into an all day Strategic Meeting - look at it as an opportunity to discipline your soft thinking skills.