Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Combo Meal Innovation

Many times people get the idea that innovation has to be a brand new idea that never existed before. We build up the innovator and imagine that without years tinkering in that garage, we could never create innovation in our work. That idea has kept many from understanding the true nature of innovation.

Holistic innovation is all about creative solutions to real problems. Sure it involves research and testing, but it can be quickly applied and lessons can be learned.

Another way to be creative as you innovate is to combine things. Sometimes a challenge in front of you doesn't need one brand new thing as much as it needs a few old things combined in a new way - an Innovation Combo Meal.

Let me give you an example from the organization I work with - HCJB Global. For many years HCJB Global had two key ministries - global radio and local healthcare. These ministries have done some exciting things and blessed thousands of people. However, for the majority of the last 75 years, these ministries operated seperately.

Recently, we have redefined our vision around an innovation. HCJB Global is combining media and healthcare in places like Africa to create more impact. This combo was a direct response to a challenge on the ground. As our partners started radio stations around the world with our help, they began to be the center of their community. Their role in information sharing, made them very influential. That influence brought the needy. People came from everywhere and many needed physical help. So our partners began to integrate healthcare services into their media work.

So as our partners began to innovate in this area, we also joined the effort. By integrating media and healthcare strategically, we are now finding many new ministry opportunities that we would have never had before.

Back to your work and ministry. As you look for ways to innovate in your context, think about some of the work you are involved in and how it might be combined to create new solutions and answers to new challenges!


Anonymous said...

Excellent metaphor! This type of sythesis leads to true synergy, in teams as well as whole missions!

Jon Hirst said...

Thanks anonymous :). Synergy is an important concept that is vital to innovation. If organizations aren't connecting the dots based on what they are best at, it will be very difficult to create holistic innovation.