Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birth through Relationship

When you consider all the ideas that have been birthed the reality that we often overlook is that most of them probably had a key relationship as part of their lifeblood. There was someone who encouraged that idea-generator. Maybe they took that person to breakfast. Possibly they played basketball with them weekly. It could have taken the form of a Biblestudy.

But it is not hard for me to stipulate that few ideas come in isolation. That is why I have launched a new survey question on the blog. Look on the right side of the page at the top and you will see it.

I am asking you to share how the mentor in your life has helped you.

I have been so blessed by the mentors in my life. As I look around, I think we need a lot more mentoring going on. People are hard pressed to find someone willing to invest that kind of time on either end.

As you answer the question, be thinking about this issue of mentoring. We will be talking about it more in the coming weeks/months.

Show and Tell

One of the critical things about innovation is sharing. It's amazing how many innovations are the result of other ideas. That's how the system works. But so many times the good ideas get bottled up and stuck somewhere . . . maybe even in someone!

So I can't say enough about being a generous mind. When an innovation works, we should be evanglists for the idea. You can share it with friends, online and in conferences. There are millions of ways to share ideas.

One of our facebook group members brought a new survey to my attention. Tony Morgan, pastor of New Spring Church, and Outreach Magazine are looking for innovations in the local church setting. Have you seen any? Would you take some time to share them on this survey?

Click here to go to the survey.

Are you FREE?

Everyone has that sweet spot of creativity. What is it for you? What is that perfect mojo experience where the creative juices are flowing and your ideas just fly onto the paper? Over the past months we did a survey on our blog about this question.

I am most innovative when . . .
I am under pressure: 8%
I have Starbucks coffee: 11%
I am free to be creative: 58%
I know the stakes: 20%
As I look at some of the input, I have to think, "What makes us free to be creative?" What gives us the liberty to think differently and risk it all.
Here are some of those magical environmental elements for you to consider:
People feel free to create when . . .
1. there is acceptance and trust.
2. ideas are valued in and of themselves.
3. there is silence and peace.
4. a goal exists that is larger than any one person.
5. there is an "others" focus rather than a selfish focus.
So are you creating environments like this? How could you begin to create this type of freedom?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Beyond Timing

One of our readers (Samuel) made a great comment and asked a very good question. He commented that sometimes innovation isn't a matter of timing as much as it is cycles. I believe what he was getting at is that sometimes innovations come for a time and then cycle out - maybe to come back again later.

As I have thought about this, I think that we should consider the cycles of innovation as well as the timing for it. It is possible that an innovation is developed, goes through a time of growth and usefullness and then disappears.

Is it bad if an idea has a lifespan? No, I don't think so. Since the world's situation and people's needs change, ideas are bound to die. But the exciting thing is that idea never really dies. In fact, it lies in wait for the next opportunity to be useful.

Mindy and I talk all the time about what it means to be generous with what you know. I think that this concept of cycles is a prime example. If you are generous with your ideas and share them, then they may provide innovation to generations in various cycles long after you are no longer around to instigate them.

So lets think not only of the timing of ideas but also about how those ideas cycle in and out of our lives.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Timing is Everything

I have been thinking a lot about timing in recent days. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 has the famous chapter on timing. It starts in verse 1 by saying, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:"

Those words written so long ago still amaze me. In my own mind, I fight these words because I want the timing and seasons of an activity to be up to me. But when I read this I remember that I do not control the timing of so many things.

As that reality dawns on me and I consider again my role in the world, I am able to put myself in a right relationship with the God who has planned out the ages and is working out His will in our lives.

So what does this have to do with innovation? It is very simple. Timing is everything in innovation. Think about an idea that you have which you would like to bring into the world in a new and exciting way. The timing of when, how, why and where are critical.

For example, with some innovations it is very appropriate to launch them in a hard economic time. Think of an innovation that allows people to save money on gas or keeps their home utilities down. Other innovations would never fly. Imagine trying to launch an innovation in luxury pet carriers in a bad economy!

But there are other issues with timing as well. What if your innovation will take you away from your young family for days, weeks or months? What if your other commitments are keeping you from spending the time on your new idea?

As we look at our ideas and how we might move them forward, we need to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. Timing is everything and the right idea can be pushed forward at the wrong time. But if we are praying about our innovations and bringing them before God, He will show us the right timing.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Summing Up The Mission Next Conference

It has been almost a week since the Mission Next Conference and I have been processing the key lessons and ideas. Let me share some very quick summaries for you to consider and link you to my thoughts from the conference.
  1. The minute we start questioning motives, we loose our ability to create partnerships between the Global South and the Global North.
  2. Little details speak volumes. If we open our eyes to little things that we say and do and how they impact those from another culture, we will have a solid foundation for partnership.
  3. As long as the standards for ministry practice are developed in the Global North, the Global South will struggle to have their issues and priorities at the table.
  4. If we value status above empowering, then we will never allow new leaders to learn or grow through responsibility.
  5. Partnerships are messy but that allows God to get the glory instead of us.

Out of these and many other conversations came a list of possible ways that we can connect the entire world of Great Commission workers. Take a minute to read some of those ideas.

I hope that blogging this conference has been an encouragement to you. I hope that you have been forced to think about things differently and consider new ways of partnering with other cultures.

Underlying all of this is relationship. If we are not out in our world building relationships, working together and praying together, we cannot hope for unity in the Great Commission Effort.

What are you doing to build healthy and strong cross cultural relationships today?